Valentine’s Day Transitions into Platonic Celebration

Students express lack of interest in the holiday’s traditions

Anna Tao, Staff Writer

During my frequent perusals of YouTube, I recently have been receiving an advertisement from Hershey’s kiss chocolate on multiple occasions accidentally, which challenges my deeply rooted romantic standards of Valentine’s day. Unsurprisingly, the ad involves a human cupid handing out Hershey kisses. In the first shot of the ad, the cupid holds the kisses up to the camera, claiming that “I’m making this Valentine’s day for everyone.” The cupid first approaches a picturesque couple sitting together and offers a chocolate while saying “yeah, you of course,” expressing that the couple would obviously receive chocolates on the holiday traditionally built for them. However, the cupid then approaches a bus full of people, and further hands out the chocolate bites out to each person there, regardless of any standards except their existence within that bus. After watching this, I was confused, questioning why one of the largest chocolate brands so rapidly changed the concept of the eligibility to celebrate the holiday that so many companies presented on Valentine’s day. Previously, content had been fed to me– to all of us– solely couples could the holiday. Now, the candy is being marketed for everyone. But why this sudden switch? 

In just the years of 2022 and 2023 alone, spending on friends and family increased per individual from $38.36 in 2022 to $52.65 in 2023, showing an increase in profits of a substantial $14.29. Major increases of profits can be made. Hershey’s marketing, although seemingly kind and caring, is a strategic ploy to attract those willing to spend more on friends and family to the Hershey’s brand. The holiday alone can garner tens of billions of profit for companies. In 2022 alone, consumers were expected to spend around $25.9 billion dollars on the holiday alone, according to the National Retail Federation. Comparatively, consumers for the holiday of Halloween in 2022 were projected to spend around $10.6 billion dollars (NRF 2022), leading to a profit margin increase for Valentine’s day of $15.3 billion dollars. NRF even claims, “Even among those who don’t plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, 28% will still mark the occasion in some way, seeking non-Valentine’s gifts, treating themselves to something special or planning a get-together or evening out with single friends and family members” (NRF 2023).

People are simply gravitating to pursuing non-romantic purchasing because the day of romantic love is just the opposite for many, and with that discomfort comes less willingness to celebrate a romantic holiday. With the constant flaunting of relationships on Valentine’s day, the date can prove to be frustrating for not only singles, since it can serve as a persistent reminder of what they don’t have, but also even those within a romantic relationship. Couples can find discomfort due to an added pressure to manufacture a memorable day for their partner– all while simultaneously feeding into the targetted nature of the holiday for consumers to buy into. Traditions such as buying gifts for a significant other adds a layer of expectations to the holiday, of which many partners don’t even find enjoyable to recieve. “I can’t eat candy, if they’re going to buy me a stuffed animal I’m never going to use it, so what’s the point?” askes Geneva Schneider ‘25 as she expresses her distaste for the holiday, claiming that the traditional gifts received are arbitrary; unable to be used. She additionally points out the issue with Valentine’s day gifts lacking a personal connection towards them, claiming she would rather receive clothes but “that’s not Valentine’s day.” Schneider reveals a truth for many– the holiday is just not personal. Kate Austrian ‘25 adds to Schneider’s sentiment, explaining that a celebration with a significant other on Valentine’s day is unnecessary, and further stating that “your anniversary or their [significant other’s] birthday or something” can prove to be a way to celebrate the same loving romantic themes within Valentine’s day on a more personalized level. Students at Blake confirm the growing dissatisfaction within the holiday, moving closer towards a generalized appreciation for friends and family within the general population. A non-romantic approach to Valentine’s day appears to be growingly popular, as it would not provide a romantic relationship with a generalized gift and exclude those without a romantic relationship.