Valentine’s Day

Dear World

14th February and for so many of us it means we have Valentine’s Day.

So what is all this stuff really about?

Are we aware of our contribution to this multi billion-dollar industry?

What are we seeking on this day from others in the name of ‘Love’?

Where did Valentine’s Day come from and what is behind the excess spending we do?

Are we the ones that feel a duty to act as that is just what is expected on this day?

Do we partake and subscribe to Valentines day as we like the fairytale side of it all?

Do we wait all year to make the move in the so-called ‘Love’ department as this is the day?

Do we use this romance day to try and secure a hot date as this is what it is about?

Do we wish this whole thing never existed and would just go away from the calendar?

Whatever our views and feelings about Valentines Day, read on and consider what is being presented…

 

Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on 14th February and is commonly considered the most romantic holiday of the year. (1)

Recognised across the world, this annual celebration is now heavily commercialised and laden with expectations. 

Couples exchange gifts, flowers and cards on Valentine’s Day

Ancient symbol associated with Valentine’s Day is Cupid, known in Latin as Amor “Love”. Other symbols are the shape of a heart, doves and the colours pink and red.

 

Why is the Heart associated with Love?

The heart was once associated with knowledge as well as feelings.

Egyptians believed that the heart was the source of our memories and emotions. They placed so much value on the organ, that they left it in people’s bodies during mummification while throwing all other organs including the brain away. (2)

Were the Egyptians onto something back then, when they believed that the heart had so much value?

What if our heart is not the organ for emotions and memories?

What if our heart holds the key to our inter-connectedness as a race of beings on this earth?

What if our heart is a gate-way to our inner-most where our essence resides and connects us to far more than we can even imagine?

What if our heart has its own intelligence that is far greater and grander than any intellectual or academic knowing we could ever have?

What if there is so much about the human heart that we have ignored and not questioned or explored that leaves us dis-connected?

What if the openness of our heart is the missing link to take us to what Love really and truly is and without this knowing, we are simply lost?

When did Valentine’s Day become Commercial?

Mid 18th century, Valentine’s Day in England took off with lovers sending sweets and cards adorned with flowers, ribbons and images of cupids and birds.

Eventually huge numbers of printed cards replaced hand-written ones.

1913 – Hallmark Cards began mass producing Valentine’s Day cards. (2)

 

Valentine’s Day

1 BILLION CARDS EXCHANGED EVERY YEAR

25% OF ALL CARDS SENT EACH YEAR ARE VALENTINE’S DAY

50 MILLION ROSES RECEIVED (2)

 

Hello

Has anyone noticed – there seems to be a big thing going on right now about climate change and our Earth’s resources?

So what is going on to produce 1 billion cards for one day and then what happens to them after that day?

What is the real cost of the resources needed to pull off this day and what is the Waste to our planet?

Have we considered the waste involved in the mass production of cards and roses for one day?

What would mother Earth have to say about 50 million roses mass produced for one day, because we as humans can make this happen?

Have we considered the impact on our environment and the amount of excess labour just for one day?

What about the air freight and cargo costs involved to transport flowers to our home country?

Have those that are concerned about our planet’s resources, thought about Valentine’s Day waste?

What is our behaviour on the other 364 days of the year towards our so-called one love?

Do we have a habit of ignoring them, but wait for this one special day to show them our emotional side?

Do we pull out the pomp, glam, wine and dine to let them know about those 3 words ‘I love you’?

Do we really believe that this can all change in the name of Valentine’s Day because we give flowers and suddenly it makes it all right and ok?

Can we be Honest and take a reality check here –
How have we been behaving towards them all year?

Has there been a consistent standard of common decency and respect or has there been plenty of reaction, lack of care or equality thus far?

How honest are we really about our hidden agenda in the name of giving and receiving on this day?

 

USA

In commercial status – Valentine’s Day is only seconds behind Black Friday

Increase in popularity of this Holiday = increase in sales

 

2018

30% online purchases were over $100 per customer

$1.4 billion increase in retail sales of Valentine’s Day from 2017 to 2018

£19.6 billion in total including purchases
made online, in stores, restaurants or on an evening out

Valentine’s Day e-commerce sales booming

29% of Valentine’s Day shoppers making purchases online

22% consumers opting for Valentine’s Day purchases on mobile phones (3)

What do Americans spend their money on for Valentine’s Day?

Evening out – most popular gift in 2018

$5.1 billion total spend on other gifts 

Pet owners increasingly splashing out on gifts and treats for their pets (1)

19.9% customers spending money on pets for Valentine’s Day (3)

2019

51% of Americans planned to celebrate the day

$279.14     age group 35 – 44 biggest spenders

$239.07     age group 25 – 34

$886 million expected Pet spending

40% want a gift of experience such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa

  

Valentine’s Day means different things to different people

Whether it is a day of romance or one of making sure their children have enough cards in their backpacks for each of their classmates it is an important day for those who choose to participate.
Phil Rist – Vice President | Prosper Consumer Analytics (4)

Men spend almost twice as much as women on Valentine’s Day (5)

 

Hello

Why do we use a date in the calendar as a licence to buy gifts and spend spend spend?

WHY are men spending double to what women spend – where did that come from?

What are the pressures from society for men of what they are expected to do and spend?

Do our pets really need romantic gifts and treats on Valentines Day?

Is it possible our pet spending is really about us getting our own needs met?

Do the statistics here give us an indication of the money making machine that this multi billion dollar industry is, that we choose to subscribe to?

How many of us can be honest and say that we feel the pressure to spend spend spend for this so-called special day?

Does the pressure come from the multiple adverts that are on display everywhere, that we cannot ignore, in the lead up to 14 February?

Does it come from our partners, family members and those close to us who demand that we express how we feel about them through gifts and how much we spend?

Do we feel the tension to post something on Social Media about how we are going to spend Valentine’s Day and hide the fact we are alone?

Is there an additional pressure on men to deliver in relationships and show public displays of affection and this is the real reason why men spend more than women on Valentine’s Day?

Is this exposing an inequality in any way, perhaps in our relationships and the differences that we expect from men and women?

Is this simple statistic giving us some insight into the additional pressures that we put on men and have we asked WHY?

 

Top 5 Valentine’s Day Purchases       

52% Candy  $2.4 billion
43%   Greetings Cards    $1.3 billion
37%     Flowers  $2.3 billion
34%   Evening out    $4.3 billion
21%   Jewellery    $5.8 billion        

Least Popular Gifts

Least favourite gifts were also the least romantic

$2.9 billion spending on clothing

$2 billion spending on gift cards

 

Where they Shop  

36% visited department stores

32% visited discount stores

16% visited flower shops

Retailers stocked the shelves with deals in anticipation of value-conscious shoppers (5)

Have we clocked on that the shops are deliberately giving us deals as they know some of us are not going to splash out big bucks?

Have we registered that the demand always comes from us, so we cannot really Blame the shops for their greed or savvy marketing tactics?

We demand and their job is to supply.
This is what we call a no brainer.

 

Mobile Device Use

50% smartphone owners use them to purchase gifts

33% use them to research products, prices and retail information (5)

 

These statistics are just in one country.

Have we considered what is going on in the rest of the world and how much money is being spent?

 

UK

2015 – 2017

169% growth in Valentine’s Day online shopping (3)

 

2019

£855 million expected spend   

Valentine’s Day invigorates the economy as well as raising budget considerations on an individual level. (6)

 

2020

£1 billion predicted worth of Valentine’s Day

Food and drink purchased for a romantic meal at home continues to be the greatest opportunity for retailers to entice spend on this occasion with a large proportion opting to stay in.

Retailers can capitalise on this with meal deals and recipe ideas with a focus on premium ranges. (7)

 

EUROPE   

2018  

400% more flowers than usual ordered on Valentine’s Day

187% jump in conversion rates, days leading up to event (3)

Note – conversion rate is number of visitors to a website who actually purchase

 

GERMANY

Lovers gift each other a pig

Biscuits with a pink layer of icing preferably with image of a pig

Chocolates in the form of a pig as well as cards and other gifts (8)

 

ARGENTINA

“Sweetness Week” – an entire week in July to celebrate Love ❤️

  

BRAZIL

12th June – Dia dos Namorados “Lovers Day” is celebrated with music festivals and performances. (2)

 

GUATEMALA

In Guatemala City, senior citizens don face masks and dress in feathered clothing or traditional Mayan costumes in a love parade called Old Love.

However, Valentine’s Day is not just limited to the older generations or to lovers. In the whole of Latin America, friendship and family are celebrated as much as romantic love by young and old alike. (8)

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Women wear their hearts on their sleeves by pinning the names of their love interests to their shirts. (2)

 

CHINA

Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated on 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar called Qi Xi festival. (8)

Young women prepare offerings of fruit to Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter in the hope of finding their perfect match. (2)

 

JAPAN

It is customary to treat your manager with a Valentine’s gift
You are also expected to give chocolates to your colleagues

14 February – women are expected to give chocolates to men – their work colleagues receive giri choco or “obligation chocolate” while honmei choco or “true feeling chocolate” is reserved for their more romantic interests.

14 March – exactly a month later, men are supposed to give chocolate back to those women who gave them chocolate a month earlier.

 

SOUTH KOREA

Celebrations of Love are marked no less than 8 times throughout the year

14 February – women gift sweet chocolate to men

14 March – White Day
Men return the favour and buy a gift for women

It cannot be chocolate and the unspoken rule is that it has to be 2 or 3 times more expensive.

  

PHILLIPINES

A very important event and thousands of couples choose Valentine’s Day as their wedding day.

In recent years, this tradition is increasing.

Married couples renew their wedding vows with extensive ceremonies (8)

 

What if we all have this inner-knowing within us and we just know that how we are choosing to behave and operate on Valentine’s Day is not it?

What if we all know that these traditions and customs that we are keeping up with, do nothing to truly let others know how we feel about them and does nothing to strengthen or truly support our relationships with our partners, work colleagues or families?

What if we are lacking in the true Expression of Love and appreciation department and this comes from our own lack of self love and care and the fact that we do not deeply appreciate ourselves?

What if we really valued who we are and what qualities we bring to this world and focused and fostered that in every moment of each day?

Would that develop a human being that knows their worth and as a result is able to be open and expressive with others and this would lead to quality relationships that are not fake, but real, honest and truthfull?

Is this what is missing in our world today?

Can we be Honest enough to say that we do feel some kind of tension inside of us as if something is missing every day and that includes Valentine’s Day?

What if this tension that we feel un-settles us and it comes from the void that we feel as we miss the inner-most connection to our being inside us?

What if this inner-most connection actually connects us to the ALL and that means everything in this world and the space around us and beyond?

What if no amount of Chocolates, candy, flowers or gifts in this world can bring us the deep inner-most connection that we all naturally miss?

  

GLOBAL 

A new study of card transactions from over 53 countries around the world has revealed that the ‘love economy’ is growing 5 times as fast as the global economy with Valentine’s Day spend up 17% since 2017.

Romantics across the world are spending more than ever before, with overall transactions in the lead up to Valentine’s Day (11th to 14th February) up by 31% over the past 3 years.

The figures from Mastercard Love Index, which analyses spending habits and trends around Valentine’s Day by analyzing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions across the globe.

The trend of gifting ‘experiences’ is outpacing traditional gifts like flowers and jewellery, with hotel bookings up 22% and flights to romantic getaways up 13%.

Spend on traditional Valentine’s Day card is slowing down, with just 2% growth over past 3 years. Flowers 3% growth since 2017.

57% rise in Online Shopping transactions in the Valentine’s Day period over 3 years

175% increase in shopping offline with contactless transactions

$2.2 billion spent booking flights and trips away – 2019

The data revealed a more organised Valentine’s Day planner, with the majority of transactions taking place earlier than ever before and the number of last minute shoppers falling. (9)

 

ASIA PACIFIC

 2019

Asia Pacific leads the world when it comes to increases in sentimental spending for Valentine’s Day.

37% rise in transactions according to “Mastercard Love Index” ❤️

Sentimental spending represents all spending during this Valentine’s Day period in the following categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Transportation
  • Books
  • Records
  • Jewellery
  • Stationery

The top three Asian markets with the highest increase in sentimental spending are:

  • 88% China
  • 68% Japan
  • 62% Hong Kong

 

5.8 million transactions take place on Valentine’s Day

86% purchase their gifts in person

 

2018

89% increase in overall spend on flowers

Growth in spending on classic gifts, such as flower bouquets and jewellery indicate that these continue to be strong expressions of love and affection in Asia.

68% of all Valentine’s transactions made in restaurants

 

CHINA

142% increase in hotel transactions

 

INDIA

73% increase in hotel transactions

 

PHILLIPINES

164% increase in travel experiences (10)

 

NEXT –

A Bad Marriage Can Seriously Damage Your Health
Say Scientists

A bad marriage with frequent conflicts could have a serious detrimental impact on our health, say psychologists.

Researchers at the universities of Nevada and Michigan monitored 373 heterosexual couples to investigate whether disagreeing about multiple topics – such as children, money, in-laws and leisure activities – had negative health implications.

“We followed married couples over the first 16 years of marriage and compared the subjective health of wives and husbands who reported a greater number of conflict topics to those who reported fewer,” said Rosie Shrout, who presented the preliminary results at the International Association for Relationship Research Conference in Colorado (2018).

The researchers found that marital conflict negatively affected health for both husbands and wives, although there was a greater impact of conflict on men than women. Couples who agreed with each other more, experienced health benefits early on in their relationships, but this protective effect wore off in the later years of marriage.

Conflict in a relationship can lead to damaging responses in the body such as inflammation, changes in appetite and increased release of Stress hormones, all of which can affect numerous aspects of health ranging from Heart function to the immune system, previous research has found.

The results of this recent study might challenge the notion that marriage is always a good thing when it comes to health and well-being.

“Experiencing a great deal of conflict in a relationship is very damaging to health, as are negative health behaviours like smoking and drinking. It’s not the act of walking down the aisle or signing a marriage licence that is beneficial for health – it’s what spouses do for each other throughout the marriage” says Shrout.

The study also looked at the number of marital conflicts and the health impact this had on wives and husbands individually. Whereas for wives the specific number of disagreement topics was unrelated to their health, the decline in husbands’ health was driven by the number of disagreement topics.

“Conflict can be particularly damaging for health if spouses are hostile or defensive during disagreements or if they are arguing about the same topic over and over again without any resolution,” said Shrout.

Veronica Lamarche, a professor of social psychology at the University of Essex who was not involved in this study, warned that these bodily responses to relationship conflict can cause long-term damage.

“There’s quite a bit of research linking relationship conflict to different types of physiological responses, such as increased release of stress hormones, inflammation, changes in appetite regulation and immune functioning,” she said.

It isn’t the case that a single fight in a relationship will irreparably harm your health, but frequent fighting over many years will take a toll – it’s important to communicate on working with each other effectively to help minimise conflict.” (11)

 

Hello Hello

This is an absolute must read section above.

This is a confirmation that how we behave in our relationships actually affects our health.

We can pretend, carry on ‘business as usual’ and have arrangements instead of real true relationships to avoid being exposed, but

AT WHAT COST?

Do we escape one relationship only to find we have jumped into another one and before we know it same same stuff comes up all over again?

OR do we work super hard at the pictures we have in our head that this relationship will work and is going to work, no matter what, even if deep down we know it was not feeling true from day dot?

Does this research study give us a Reality Check as to what is happening in our relationships and the physiological impact?

Is this a wake-up call in letting us know that how we are behaving in relationships is making us Sick?

Can we say that our wining and dining with flowers and gifts on Valentine’s Day may not counter all those conflicts in the year?

Have we ever considered what our body could be communicating to us with inflammation and linked it to our marriage?

Did we even know that research studies tell us that conflicts in our relationships have an impact on our immune system?

Are we aware that our stress hormones are affected with the constant battles we have in our relationships?

Why do some of us get stuck on being nice and polite, so that we do not rock the boat, as we are unwilling to just Say It as It Is?

What is it about our sensitivity that we are not able to go there and tell our partners when we feel hurt and why?

Are we being Fooled because we read and hear it is normal to argue and disagree in a relationship?

What if there is Another Way to Communicate and Express how we truly feel and it starts with being Honest always?

What if we made honesty the first point of call in all of our relationships and not just our marriage?

Could it be possible that with honest communication, regardless of the outcome, we could have a positive affect on our health?

Imagine a Real relationship that was based on a Foundation of Honest Communication. This means we cut the nonsense, there is no holding back, mind games and saying stuff that harms.

Relationships that have common decency, respect and integrity at the very heart of their living way.

How would our body respond if this was the minimum standard we accepted in all our relationships?

No tension, no silly thoughts bombarding us. Feeling settled and not full of anxiety or plotting the next move to attack back because we got hurt.

What would our heart be communicating back to us if we were in a natural state of being in our relationships?

Imagine how our work colleagues would respond and those we meet in our everyday life as we have an open heart, not faking it until we make it and no hidden agenda calculating this and that.

Imagine being open, honest and transparent with another, where we do not feel guarded or in protection, in case we get hurt.

An intimacy with one person where we feel safe, not judged or criticised but simply Equal in every way. Then we begin to feel we can be the same with others and not just those super close to us.

What if this was possible but it means we have to say no to abuse and everything that is not true Love is abuse?

Could it be possible that to live in this way we would need to let go of the pictures in our heads and the ideals and beliefs that we have about what a relationship is? This means no expectations or demands or trying to control the outcome.

What if by valuing shallow gift buying over true intimate communication leads to fake relationships that offer no real depth or expansion?

Is this what we feel worthy of accepting and settle for? 

Is this what we have chosen through our celebrations on Valentine’s Day?

Are we honest enough to question where has it got us?

And finally – what is the purpose of a day in the calendar that has a focus on gift buying and how does this evolve humanity?

 

References

(1) Bedford, E. (2019, November 28). Total Valentine’s Day Sales in the United States from 2009 to 2019 (in billion US dollars). Statista. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/285028/us-valentine-s-day-sales/

(2) Macphail, C., & Daly, H. (2021, January 29). Valentine’s Day 2020: Why Cupid and the Heart Are Associated with Love. The Telegraph. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/relationships/valentines-day-2020-cupid-heart-associated-love/

(3) (n.d). Valentine’s Day Statistics: Get Informed on This Romantic Day [Infographic]. Contact Pigeon Blog. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://blog.contactpigeon.com/valentines-day-statistics/

(4) (2019, January 30). Fewer Consumers Celebrating Valentine’s Day But Those Who Do Are Spending More. National Retail Federation (NRF). Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/fewer-consumers-celebrating-valentines-day-those-who-do-are-spending

(5) Amadeo, K. (2020, January 9). Valentine’s Day Celebrants Spend More in 2019. The Balance. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.thebalance.com/happy-valentine-s-day-retailers-feeling-the-love-3306043

(6) Statista Research Department. (2021, January 21). Expected Retail Spending on Valentine’s Day in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2017 to 2020 (in million GBP). Statista. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/510981/valentines-day-total-spending-great-britain/

(7) (2020, February 12). UK Consumers to Spend Over £1bn on Valentine’s Day in 2020.  GlobalData. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.globaldata.com/uk-consumers-to-spend-over-1bn-on-valentines-day-in-2020/

(8) (n.d). Valentine’s Day 2021 Around the World. Travel Begins at 40. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.travelbeginsat40.com/event/valentines-day-around-the-world/

(9) (2020, February 13). Growth of the Love Economy – Valentine’s Day Spend Up 17% in Three Years. Mastercard. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://newsroom.mastercard.com/eu/press-releases/growth-of-the-love-economy-valentines-day-spend-up-17-in-three-years/  

(10) (2019, February 13). Asians are Romancing Their Valentines Like Never Before: Mastercard Love Index. Mastercard. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/press-releases/asians-are-romancing-their-valentines-like-never-before-mastercard-love-index/

(11) Liverpool, L. (2018, July 16). A Bad Marriage Can Seriously Damage Your Health, Say Scientists. The Guardian. Retrieved January 30, 2021 from
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/16/a-bad-marriage-is-as-unhealthy-as-smoking-or-drinking-say-scientists

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments 2

  1. Personally I feel it’s a load of crap, as why just celebrate on a particular day eg 14th February, this sounds very corny but isn’t Valentine’s Day every day ‍♂️

  2. Thank you for this great blog.

    I am single and have been so for a long time. It has been decades since I received a card or gift on Valentine’s Day.

    For many years I used to feel bad on Valentine’s Day. I would feel sorry for myself on the morning of Valentine’s Day because I hadn’t received a card from anyone and not receiving anything from anyone that day seemed a stark reminder that I was single and (in my mind) undesirable to women.

    On those Valentine’s Days where I felt sorry for myself, I always used to think that the day was terribly unfair. After all, on Valentine’s Day who thought about all the single people in the world without a partner or admirer who did not receive a card or gift on February the 14th?

    Things were different for me this last Valentine’s Day. Not because I received a card or gifts, but because Valentine’s Day didn’t bother me this year. Why? I feel it’s because I have learnt to appreciate myself more in recent years, plus I feel more connected to the real me inside, so I do not look for love from something outside me quite as much as I used to.

    That being said, it’s also the case that Valentine’s Day doesn’t make sense to me now.

    If I was in a relationship, I would want every interaction with my partner to be loving and a celebration of our relationship. I would not want it to be the case that there was one day in the year that my partner and I were more loving towards each other than we were in the other 364.

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