Last year, 50% of Americans spent 19.7 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know about you, but that seems a little bit psychotic to me. The average American spent almost $150 on their significant other, and I’m sad to say, Millennials outspent every other age group by a huge margin. The average 25-34 year old spent $234.
I DO NOT have that kind of money. I’m surprised my Millennial colleagues do. Here I am thinking we’re all poor and jobless with no retirement prospects, and we’re out spending hundreds of dollars on a sappy, obligatory holiday.
Ok, ok, I know I’m being pretty harsh. And that’s not the point of this post.
The point it: how can we do this thing in a sensible, easy, yet meaningful way? We have a tendency, as Americans, to take something that is good and simple and turn it into a huge, money gargling monster.
Valentine’s Day has lost its meaning. (Well really, no one is particularly sure of its meaning. Check out its weird history here.) It isn’t about real love or appreciation. It’s a season of excess and obligation. It also leaves a whole lot of people feeling bereft and lonely. Really, what is this holiday?
So before I rant anymore about Valentine’s Day, here are 6 tips to help you celebrate the holiday sensibly and meaningfully.
6 Tips to Help You Celebrate Valentine’s Day Sensibly and Meaningfully
1. Talk Over Expectations
Open communication makes a relationship work, especially over holidays. All kinds of factors go into what we expect from our partners on Valentine’s Day. So talk about it. If you expect a $200 gift but only get a $10 one, you’re likely to get a little pissy. And it won’t be anyone’s fault but your own if you didn’t lay out those expectations beforehand.
Even more sensibly, decide together to focus on meaning rather than money. Create purposeful time together and you’ll appreciate it much more than a gift.
2. Embrace the Ordinary
All that stuff we see on social media and in movies isn’t real. Sure, sometimes something really spectacular and romantic happens, but it just isn’t realistic to expect that of our partners. Give them a break. They aren’t Romanic Comedy Super Humans. They are normal people.
I’m convinced that the normal ordinary parts of life are the most beautiful anyway. Bake something together or go stargazing. It might turn out much more romantic than you think.
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3. Go Homemade
I LOVE homemade cards. I know that someone’s time and care went into them. Cards and other homemade gifts are a great way to say I love you.
4. Celebrate Out of Sincerity
We find the most meaning when we operate out of the sincere places in our hearts. Obligation creates conflict and stress. Remember, you are not obligated to have an outrageous Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to create something cinematic in the name of Romance.
Instead, focus on expressing your love sincerely.
5. Remind Yourself What Love Is and Isn’t
On a holiday all about love, remember what that really means.
- Love is putting another person’s needs before your own.
- Love is a listening ear.
- Love is open communication.
- Love is commitment through the difficult times.
- Love is kindness and thoughtfulness.
- Love isn’t envious or spiteful.
- Love isn’t selfish.
- Love isn’t celebrating a holiday.
6. Celebrate Your Loved Ones Everyday
With every holiday, we remind ourselves of great and moral aspects of society. But we should be practicing these great and moral aspects all the time. Practice loving your partner and your family and your community year around. Then, when times like Valentine’s Day come around, it will less about a huge display of love and more about deepening a continual practice.
Don’t forget to grab my free list of unique and cheap date ideas.