I don’t know many Millennials who observe the holiness of Valentine’s Day or visit church to pray to St. Valentine. I do, however, know plenty of Millennials who worship the sanctity of date night on February 14th. They’re the ones who flock to popular, busy restaurants, buy their lovers stale chocolate from the drugstore, and deliver roses by the dozen as proof of their undying love. After all, Valentine’s Day marks joy and affection amidst a cold, unforgiving winter, so it’s no surprise we cling to the retail holiday despite the fact that it’s largely a gimmick. But as we continue to trudge through a global pandemic, this year is different. Will Millennials still wait in line to support their local, suffering businesses? Will they remember to buy their girlfriend a card? (No, of course not). Will they make the effort to celebrate this year despite the challenges that put a damper on most other celebrations? My assumption is yes— and no.
If Christmas spending was any indicator for what’s to come this Valentine’s Day, we should expect to see increased, prolonged sales for retailers. Christmas shopping introduced an elongated buying season that started in November and extended beyond Christmas itself. It suggests that although people may not be spending the holidays traveling, they are still spending money on the holidays.
However, Valentine’s Day shopping is markedly different than Christmas shopping. Buyers anticipate spending more money on Christmas gifts, and therefore put time into the selection and presentation of the gift (unless, of course, you’re a guy, in which case you run out to the nearest big-box store, pick up something that’s decent enough, and throw a little newspaper around it. Haha, just kidding, you don’t wrap that crap. You’re welcome, honey!). But Valentine’s Day doesn’t receive the same treatment. For Valentine’s Day gifts, we typically buy candy and a card at a drugstore or pick up a bouquet at a local flower shop. Those don’t always require planning ahead or shipping, and to procure those items, most people will have to leave their house during a pandemic. If they’re anything like me, they might not care enough to do that.
Whereas Valentine’s Day used to feel like a good reason to spend quality time with my beloved, this year we’ve spent every waking and resting moment together. So I’ll be spending this Valentine’s Day like I’ve spent every other day for nearly the past year: sitting on my couch in worn out pajamas with crumbs on my chin and my loved ones by my side.
-The Soph in Sophelle, 2/1/21