The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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From the Heart: The Origin of Valentine’s Day Cards

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As the days countdown to Valentine’s Day, grandiose images of affection are painted by marketers. The combination of abundant, vibrant flower bouquets that greet you in every store and dainty bows placed on chocolate boxes are the paint and we are the canvas. Below the beautiful picture of love that is presented to us is a deep rooted pursuit for profit. 

 

The most popular gifts-of-choice for that special someone around this time of year are candy, greeting cards, and flowers. The turn towards a commercialized Valentine’s day can be largely attributed to Esther A Howland, a successful 19th century stationary business owner. Her cards popularized the lacey, delicate, and thoughtful Valentine’s cards that we know today. The popularity of her beautiful, lacey, delicate cards shifted the general public away from handwritten cards and towards buying crafted ones. 

 

While Howland capitalized off of loved ones sending messages to one another, the commercialization of Valentine’s Day didn’t stop there. Chocolatiers began placing cupid’s bows on their boxes along with a decoration of hearts while florists arranged rose bouquets, both of which tend to come with sentimental cards as well. All three of these things can now be seen sold at most merchandise stores as soon as the new year has started. 

 

According to the National Retail Federation, 2023 led to around 25.9 billion dollars spent by consumers for Valentine’s Day and consumers continue to increase their purchases during the season of love as years pass. This year, The NRF estimated that consumers will reach in all time high, spending approximately $101.84 per person. Retailers have increased their revenue by expanding their audience beyond couples with their “‘Galentine’s Day’ gift guides.

 

We have been fed the idea that to show our loved ones our affection and appreciation we must buy them flowers and chocolates and cards, but what makes Valentine’s Day out of all days the one to show others just how much we love them? At the end of the day, you should show your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them every single day and you don’t need to buy any of these items to do so. Don’t let the corporate Big Guys get to your head, you can pick a much more meaningful bouquet while taking a stroll down your street.

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