Published: February 18, 2016
In elementary school, Valentine’s Day was always an exciting day. You would get to school, and set up a bag on your desk, preparing for all the cool and quirky Valentine’s cards you were going to receive. You would always have about 25 Valentine’s, and tons of candy to eat and many cards to look at over and over again.
As time goes on and handing out Valentine’s at school is no longer socially acceptable, Valentine’s Day usually goes one of two ways.
It is either a great day full of love, or an annoying day spent dodging anything pink, red or white. Usually, the second option is the right option for singles.
But with the rise of social media in the last 10 years, Valentine’s Day has become virtually unavoidable, and the definition of what it should look like has become very skewed.
Some question if Valentine’s Day is even a real holiday. Some (including me) prefer to avoid the onslaught of Valentine’s updates that people post on their social media. Some prefer to avoid the red and pink section of any supermarket or drugstore at this time of year because looking at $10 teddy bears is irritating. And thanks to social media, we get bombarded on Twitter and Instagram with pictures of girlfriends receiving extravagant gifts from their boyfriends, with the caption “goals,” and scoff at how unrealistic it is. Because of social media, there is an even clearer definition of how things should look, as staged photographs have become the new norm.
Particularly on Valentine’s Day, staged photos of extravagant gifts, that college-aged people could probably not afford, saturate our feeds.
We see photos of girls holding giant, five-foot-tall teddy bears, or a hundred roses arranged in a nice box from the most expensive flower shop and expensive jewelry, all a paradigm for what Valentine’s Day should look like.
Usually, the content in all those staged photos seen on Tumblr and Instagram are undesirable to me. But when I entered a relationship, all those things were suddenly desirable.
Always one to oppose Valentine’s Day, I thought this year would be different – suddenly, I would be the girl in the cute photos, hugging a giant teddy bear and proudly showing off the roses (that I don’t even like) her boyfriend got her.
The fact that I would finally get to flaunt my relationship and amazing Valentine’s Day on social media was exciting for me. But as Valentine’s Day slowly crept up, I realized I was not going to get those mushy gifts from the photos. I would not get 100 roses or a Tiffany necklace because those things just are not me.
The biggest take-away I got from my first “real” Valentine’s Day is to keep it simple, but more importantly, keep it you.
It is not about being able to boast about gifts online, especially about things that aren’t true to who you are.
Whether you are celebrating “Galentine’s Day” with a couple of girlfriends, or celebrating with a significant other, the way you celebrate Valentine’s Day should be defined by your own personal preferences.
If extravagant gifts or splurges are your go-to, that is perfectly okay. If you want to keep the day more low-key, that is perfectly okay too.
Valentine’s Day can be filled with chocolates and roses, or take-out and Netflix, or both.
There is no right or wrong way to celebrate if you choose to celebrate, but what matters is with whom you choose to celebrate.
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