Is Valentine’s Day a shameless holiday designed to profit the gift card, candy and floral industry? Or is it ok to enjoy a day reveling in all things love? Jana, Curt and Ashley share their viewpoints.

“Is one day a year enough?” Jana asks.

While I can be a hopeless romantic, there is something about Valentine’s Day that has never set well with me. Stores fill multiple aisles with themed heart candies, overpriced cards, stuffed animals, and a whole plethora of other costly heart items. TV commercials promote expensive gifts. Fancy dinner reservations in crowded restaurants as everyone else has the same idea. And then the next day, life is normal, bank balance lower, and love day will not be celebrated for another year.

I think every day you should be celebrating the love you have for your significant other. Plan dates weekly. Surprise each other with romantic gestures throughout the year. Wildflowers picked and given on a whim. Love notes scribbled on sticky notes or a foggy mirror. A fuzzy blanket instead of a bear holding an ‘I love you’ heart. Picnic under the stars or eating in bed with a movie. Getting their favorite treat while at gas station.

What was meant to be a day set aside to celebrate love, has been turned into a consumer money-making scheme by companies profiting off of our Valentine’s Day shopping frenzies and obsession with having to give gifts with heart themes. I vote real-life Valentine's celebrations throughout the year instead of one day of impractical spending and obligations.

Curt says, “It is economically better to both give and receive.”

I think we have all at one time or another considered the commercialism of traditional holidays, but none has been more scrutinized than Valentine’s Day. We will leave Christmas for another time.

Some would argue that even though Cupid’s Day in the Sun may have begun with defined intentions, it has become a byproduct of a capitalistic society to help patronize the greeting card, candy, and floral businesses.

There is no doubt, holidays that encourage spending have been widely marketed to increase revenue. But is there really anything wrong with that?

Our economy is based on private ownership of business for the purpose of making a profit. What better way to encourage spending then by tying certain products to certain holidays. Valentine’s Day isn’t alone in this. Consider Christmas. How did the birth of Christ become a holiday in which many folks end up spending more than they have to give gifts to their loved ones that are quickly forgotten? The Easter Bunny and baskets of candy? What is that? Turkeys and the fixings on Thanksgiving? I guess it may have occurred that way.

It is easy to see the connection between the traditions of the holidays and commerce.

On the surface there really is no harm in this. In fact, we need to give credit to those who foresaw an opportunity and successfully marketed the holidays in the way they have. As Valentine’s Day is a reminder to show love to others, let’s be sure to show a little love to our local businesses in the process.

“Give me wine and roses,” Ashley says.

Give me all the wine, chocolate and roses. Don't hesitate to give me a variety of chocolates either—I’ll take them all. Dark chocolates, raspberry-filled ones and oh, the pretty little wrapped kind you have to twist to open. Yes, you guessed it—I love Valentine’s Day and all that goes with it.

I love that holidays in general celebrated in America speak to a range of human emotions— haunting and spooky for Halloween, gratitude for Thanksgiving, reverence and joy for Christmas, and yes… an entire day to soak up every romantic indulgence in the name of L-O-V-E.

It only happens once a year so why not live it up? Cards embellished with crimson red hearts accompanied by a bouquet of soft pink roses and a special bottle of sparkling champagne, hello, what’s not to like?

Ok, perhaps I am speaking more to the female population with those examples, but what I think Valentine’s Day really boils down to is showing in a “not-every-day” way that you care about that special person in your life.

With the variety of activities out there today couples can spend the date tailored to them—a Valentine’s Day fun run, a cocktail-making class, a love-themed comedy show, or just cooking a favorite Thai recipe together at home. With 364 other mostly normal days in the year, appreciate the day dedicated to the one you love. Go ahead, make it special.