NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Valentine’s Day Is for the Birds

— Lovebirds, That Is

The first Valentine’s Day that I can remember was in second grade.  

We were tasked with creating secret admirer valentines for our classmates, and I was excited. My crush, some nobody named Reggie, was in my class. He was the cutest thing on two legs. 

When my turn was up to pick a piece of ripped paper with a name, I had sweat marks on my pits. The name: Reggie. I was elated. 

Our teacher, a behemoth of a woman, who had hooked up cable in our classroom for us to watch Blue’s Clues and not bother our substitute — who instead of being annoyed at the noise level, rather slept on the radiator — was unimpressed. I got the feeling that she knew who I got. 

Instead of laughing or going “aww,” she decided to make an example of me. 

“So, Christine has a little crush, huh? How interesting. In 30 years, you will see how hard it is on these streets. A good man is hard to come by, ain’t he?” 

The assistant teacher, the wicked witch herself, cackled. The rest of the class was split; half of the students guffawed at the joke, and the rest were confused. 

Funnily enough, I have never seen a wedding announcement for my teacher in all these years. And believe me, I’ve checked. 

Reggie got the chocolates that my mother lovingly bought for me. He wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t heartbroken because at least I got to talk to him.  

My teacher wasn’t right about me and my crush. Reggie and I ended up being great friends later in life, but because of growing pains, we aren’t as close anymore. 

But she was correct about one thing — Valentine’s Day is for the birds. According to Capital One Shopping, the national price tag is a whopping $25.9 billion. On average, American consumers budgeted $192.80 for Valentine’s Day 2023, which represented a 9.91% increase from the previous year. Chirp chirp. 

The reason why Valentine’s Day is such an important event in not just the United States but around the world is because of the immense amount of money that can be made before the retail drought — there is St. Patrick’s Day, and maybe early summer beach deals, but for the most part there aren’t that many major global holidays to choose from.  

In Japan, Valentine’s Day store deals are seen as a major way for retailers to compete with a very large market, mostly women, who want to make their friends, special someones, and even coworkers happy with chocolates and other specialty foods. 

In the United Kingdom, writing love letters and poetry to a special person is a nod to the rich literary tradition of the past. There are also some older, more traditional Valentine’s customs in certain parts of the country, like the Welsh tradition of giving “love spoons” — wooden spoons carved with intricate designs symbolizing love and affection, which dates to the 17th century. 

In France, food is an important component of the culture, and many couples go for special meals for the holidays. Although not as common today, France used to have a tradition called “loterie d’amour,” where single men and women would enter houses facing each other and call out across the windows until they paired off. Unmatched women would later gather for a bonfire. 

For those who don’t have anyone special during this time, instead of giving stores your hard-earned money, celebrate Valentine’s Day in an unconventional way. Adding a personal touch to the day can make it more memorable and intimate. 

Here are six ways to do just that. 

  1. DIY Spa Day: Transform your home into a spa for the day. Use essential oils for aromatherapy, prepare homemade face masks, and enjoy relaxing baths together. Set the mood with soft music and scented candles.
  2. Movie Marathon: Curate a list of movies or series that you have been wanting to watch or that hold sentimental value to your relationship. Create a cozy viewing area with blankets, pillows, and dim lighting.
  3. Crafting Artisan Chocolates: Try your hand at making artisan chocolates or sweets. You can customize the flavors and fillings to suit your partner’s tastes, making it a very personal treat.
  4. Pop-up Cards: Elevate your card-making by creating pop-up cards. There are many tutorials available that can guide you through the process of making intricate designs that surprise and delight.
  5. Plant a Love Garden: Dedicate a section of your garden to plants that symbolize love, such as roses, tulips, or violets. Planting them together can be a metaphor for growing your relationship.
  6. Flower Pressing: Use your home-grown flowers to create pressed flower art. You can make bookmarks, frame the pressed flowers, or decorate homemade cards with them. This creates a lasting memento of the flowers you’ve grown together.

Incorporating these unconventional methods into your Valentine’s Day celebration can make the day more special and personalized. It emphasizes the importance of time spent together and the thought put into the celebration, rather than focusing solely on material gifts. 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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Christine Olukere, Staff Writer
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