By Brittany Stahl, MS student, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and Michael S. Gutter, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida
Reviewed by Martie Gillen, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida
This post is part of our Valentine’s Day 2014 series: a week of posts in honor of St. Valentine’s Day!
Just when we finish with holiday shopping, everywhere we look there are advertisements for expensive Valentine’s gifts for our loved ones.
Even though we all claim “It’s the thought that the counts,” it would appear that on Valentine’s Day, thought is measured by the amount spent. In 2013, Americans paid around $18.5 billion dollars for Valentine’s Day gifts and expenses, such as dining out, flowers, getaways, jewelry, candy, clothing, and cards. The average amount spent per person was $130 (National Retail Foundation, 2013). These numbers are expected to increase this Valentine’s Day.
But what if you don’t have or just shouldn’t be spending that kind of money on gifts?
Before Hallmark began printing Valentine’s cards in 1913, a handmade card was the “go-to” gift for Valentine’s Day. Why not give creativity and thoughtfulness a try? Consider a heartfelt homemade card or even trying your hand at poetry. In addition, a unique gift made with thought and care will often cost much less money than a dozen roses, and likely last longer than the cut flowers. And a specially made dinner consisting of your loved one’s favorite foods can be far more enjoyable than the long line and crowded seating at a restaurant.
So, how does the idiom “It’s the thought that counts” truly fit here? Is there a place for this idea amid the mass spending on Valentine’s Day? With the rise of creative gifting ideas on great websites like Pinterest, I would argue that creativity and resourcefulness are gaining a larger role in gift giving. Gifts that have a use and that will last longer than a dinner out suggest greater thought and are more economical.
A holiday centered on celebrating relationships and love shouldn’t leave you broke. Remember: what most of us want is uninterrupted time together where the focus can be on the couple. This Valentine’s Day, spend time without spending a lot of money.
National Retail Foundation. (2013). Cautious consumers keep cupid at bay this year, according to NRF. Retrieved from http://www.nrf.com/modules.phpname=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1517