Do We Need Valentine’s Day?

North students address the cynicism surrounding the holiday.

The old saying goes that you can’t buy happiness, but our corporate overlords have certainly done everything in their power to prove it wrong. Many holidays have become commercialized (Although Thanksgiving has largely escaped, probably because it’s the least fun. After Halloween, stores skip right over it in favor of Christmas and some token, poorly-conceived Hanukkah displays.), and Valentine’s Day especially has received subsequent criticism. A common complaint about the holiday is that it’s an excuse for companies to put more of our money into their pockets, and we shouldn’t need a designated day to show our loved ones that we care about them. There’s something to that cynicism, but in spite of it, many students at Bloomington North still consider Valentine’s Day to be special. 

“Valentine’s Day is partially a thing just so that companies can make money,” Tucker Ensmenger, senior, agreed. “But I think it also has emotional significance.” Ensmenger pointed out that many holidays emphasize positive values which don’t always receive much attention in our everyday lives.

Tucker Ensmenger and his girlfriend, Mari Berin, celebrating this past Christmas. Photo credits to Tucker Ensmenger.

“You could say the same for Christmas. Every day, you should have the spirit of giving, but we mostly do it for Christmas.” Even when the holidays have been commercialized, their underlying messages are important in our society, and we would lose a positive experience by dismissing the festivities. 

Isabel Schneider and Melissa Mahaffey, sophomores, built on Ensmenger’s sentiments. “It’s nice to hang out with people you like,” Schneider said. “Even though it started as a corporate hack, it’s developed into something with more meaning,” 

“Relationships can be stressful,” Mahaffey added, “and having a day that you know is going to be dedicated to somebody makes it easier. I’m not saying that Valentine’s Day isn’t necessary, but it’s nice to have a day where you know you’ll get that affection from somebody who you care deeply about.”