Yesterday was Valentines Day which is one of the biggest days of the year for companies that sell flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, and jewelry. (Mother’s Day actually outranks Valentines Day in many of these categories). But what would happen to these companies if Valentines Day or other holidays weren’t so commercialized? Would they miss their earning estimates? Would they create a new holiday just to make sales forecasts?
The Commercialization of Holidays
I’m not a big fan of the commercialization surrounding most holidays. I believe in the intent of the holidays – you can never go wrong setting aside a day to honor and commemorate people you love, respect, and admire. This goes for days such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more. But just because you honor and respect someone doesn’t mean you should have to spend a lot of money to “show” them you care.
The Commercialization of Valentine’s Day. Saint Valentine’s Day has a longer history than most holidays, going back over 1500 years. What originally began as a religious holiday has, like so many other religious holidays, been converted into a commercial holiday. The original intent of celebrating love and affection has changed into an occasion obligation for giving gifts. Wikipedia has an interesting history of Modern Valentine’s Day. I find it interesting that Valentine’s Day cards have been around for a couple hundred years, but it wasn’t until the 1980′s that the diamond industry started promoting Valentine’s Day as an occasion for giving jewelry as gifts. It took less than 30 years for the idea of giving jewelry to become synonymous with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be expensive. My wife and I celebrate Valentine’s Day very casually. We exchange cards (I buy her one even though she tells me not to!), and we often celebrate by going out to eat – either the day before or the day after. We do this mostly to avoid the crowds. For us, the idea of Valentine’s Day is more important than giving gifts or celebrating a event on someone else’s terms.
Fun fact. Did you know that Valentine’s Day has an October counterpart? Sweetest Day is celebrated in the Great Lakes region of the US in October.
The commercialization of Mother’s Day disappointed the Founder of Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis founded Mother’s Day in 1908. Her goal was to make it a “day of rest” for mothers. Unfortunately, within a few years it morphed into a commercial holiday which discouraged and disappointed her. You can read more about the commercialization of Mother’s Day here, or listen at National Public Radio.
The commercialization of Christmas. This is perhaps the biggest commercial holiday of them all – even people who don’t celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas often celebrate the commercialism of Christmas. I give and receive gifts at Christmas, but I try to focus on the meaning of the season instead of just giving gifts.
It’s hard to ignore the commercialization, but I try
In general, I’m not a fan of the mass commercialization of holidays in the US. This past year, for example I saw Christmas decorations in the stores at the end of September – they were right next to the Halloween decorations. As soon as the Christmas decorations came down, they were replaced by Valentine’s Day cards and displays. And as soon as those come down in a day or two, they will be replaced by Easter displays, followed by Mother’s Day cards, which will be replaced with Father’s Day displays, which will promptly be removed for 4th of July displays. It seems like most stores have a permanent aisle set aside for holiday displays. It’s something I’ve come to expect and for the most part, ignore.
What do you think of the commercialization of holidays?
- While we are on the subject of Valentine’s Day, here is an interesting article: How does getting Married Affect My Taxes?
- 7 Money Traps to Avoid — There are plenty of pitfalls that can result in wasting money instead of getting the most out of it. Make sure you are avoiding the following 7 money traps..
- How Much Work Is Do-It-Yourself Investing?. I’m a do-it-yourself investor, and this articles author is right – the biggest time factor comes with the education side of it, not the actual investing.
- Are you an aspiring blogger? Then check out this article: How I Make Money From Blogging: My Top Income Sources.
- I used to live in a state which didn’t have income taxes. Here is a list of the States Without State Income Taxes.
- This was an enjoyable book, and very informative. Book Review – Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security.
- The tax system is constantly evolving; this may be helpful:Changes on the 1040 IRS Tax Form this Year…How Does It Affect You?.
- This article may be helpful fr Canadian readers: Ontario Children’s Activity Tax Credit – New For 2010 Tax Year.
- Lending money to family and friends can be tricky. Bailing Out Family and In-Laws.
- Do you sell items on Ebay or Craigslist? Then you should read these New 2011 Tax Rules for eBay Sellers: The 1099K.
- I wish I would have started doing more with my money in college. You’re In College? Tips To Get A Financial Head Start.
- I have a home office, but I probably won’t be eligible for most of these Home Office Tax Deductions for 2011.
- Goals and milestones are important for tracking progress. Importance of Financial Checkpoints.
- My little girl is still pretty young, so I’m book marking this for future use. 7 Simple Solutions to Increasing Your Child’s Attention Span.
- Carnival of Financial Planning #172- Stories of Past Lottery Winners, Carnival of Money Stories: My Funny Valentine Edition, Best of Money Carnival #90: Valentine’s Day Edition, Carnival of Personal Finance: Cupid Edition, Festival of Frugality #268 – Cheapskate Jake Edition, Tax Carnival #81: We Heart Taxes.