Once a celebration, now an obligation: Valentine’s Day was better as a kid

As adults, we often reminisce on our childhood and remember the fond memories we made in school during Valentine’s Day. Somewhere along the way, the holiday traditions we used to adore became a burden as we realized the commercialization and false sense of duty to oblige these traditions. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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Little elementary school me is sitting at the table with my knees propped up underneath myself to peer at all of the Valentine’s Day gifts I got. My brightly decorated Valentine’s Day mailbox with little hearts glued onto it is propped open and was of great use in class when we got to give our classmates gifts.

Sitting in front of me is a large variety of mini princess cards with a lollipop attached, conversation hearts, sticker packets and anything else that could cause a sugar rush.

Now that I am an adult, I look back at my time as a child in elementary school and wish Valentine’s Day still brought that same joy.

I enjoyed the messages I would receive on those tacky cards. Even if it was simply “Happy Valentine’s Day” or a cheesy saying like “You are fabulous,” I felt the love and kindness from my classmates.

Whether you have a significant other or not, no Valentine’s Day can match the nostalgic feeling you received as a kid. A huge part of this might be because if you don’t have a significant other, then you don’t feel that extra love; unless you’re lucky enough to receive a card from your mom.

We went from giving cards to a whole classroom of people, even the classmates we didn’t like, to only spreading love and kindness if you’re dating someone. On top of that, it has become a day for businesses to make money.

Companies’ commercialization of this holiday has taken away the sentimental importance of gift-giving. In 2024, it is predicted that U.S. consumers will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers alone. While this is great for the economy and flower shops, it highlights the commercialization of Valentine’s Day.

The day after Valentine’s Day, the prices of all of the chocolates go on sale and show how they hiked the price up for one day. If you’re a big candy fan, I would recommend waiting to buy it the day afterward to save yourself some money.

Giving your partner flowers or chocolates has become more of a necessity than a thoughtful reason to celebrate their importance. When we were kids, we didn’t give gifts based on price but out of the genuine kindness of our hearts.

We should appreciate those we love and care about every day, not just one day of the year.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day as a single adult is low-key depressing. You get to watch everyone acknowledge their loved ones by posting smoochy pictures and expensive gifts, making it all just so much more lonely.

Regardless if you’re in a relationship or not, this Valentine’s Day we need to bring back the nostalgic feeling that we got when we were in elementary school. Instead of just buying a present to give one, buy your loved ones something that you know they will appreciate. And if you’re single, go buy yourself your favorite treat to celebrate the love you should give yourself.