|Photo by Jesse Goll on Unsplash|
How many diamond ads have you seen in the last few weeks? How about perfume ads? Flowers? Chocolate? Ads for special couples' deals at restaurants and boutique hotels?
Valentine's Day is the third largest shopping occasion of the year. This amounts to nearly $20 billion in spending for the holiday, including gifts for pets, which account for almost $700 million. Valentine's Day is too huge for marketers to ignore -- it's like Black Friday for florists, chocolatiers, and jewelers.
Valentine's Day is meant to be a time to connect with family and friends in a way that shows love and commitment. Never mind that we should really be trying to show our loved ones that they are loved every day of the year. Our culture has made Valentine's Day the heavy hitter, the one day we dare not fail to impress.
I am not saying we shouldn't give gifts to our loved ones. A thoughtfully chosen gift is one way to show you care about someone. But it's only one possible way to express love. If we subscribe to the theory that there are five Love Languages, then we might consider that a focus on gift-giving causes us to undervalue the other four. In fact, maybe we shop more and amass too much stuff because we're trying (unsuccessfully) to fill that gap.
But actions speak louder than words, and they speak louder than gifts, too.
This Valentine's Day, why don't we spend some time and energy on the other possibilities for showing love?
- Acts of service (doing chores for another, noticing a need and meeting it without being asked, dropping a grudge and making the first move toward resolving a dispute, etc.)
- Words of affirmation (sincere compliments, saying "I love you" and "Thank you," giving encouragement, speaking positively instead of complaining, etc.)
- Quality time (focused and uninterrupted attention, listening without thinking about something else, shared activities, etc.)
- Physical touch (hugs, kisses, hand holding, pats, fist bumps, neck rubs, etc.)
I enjoy receiving a few chocolate hearts, or a beautiful greeting card, or one perfect rose. But I adore having my husband's undivided attention or some help with household chores, some acupressure from my massage therapist son, a long phone call from my daughter, and smiles and hugs from my grandson. Those are gifts for any day, not just a specially designated holiday.
May you love and be loved, today and every day.