I Think I Finally Understand Valentine’s Day

Calvin Kai
3 min readFeb 7, 2021
Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

The first month of the year is now comfortably in the rearview mirror.

Hopefully by now, you’re finally clear of the mind fog and cobwebs left over from the holiday season and building some good momentum at work or in your business.

And hopefully those silly new year’s resolutions have been finally put to bed — seriously, who in their right mind wants to give up chocolate anyways?

With all that out of the way, we can finally focus on more important matters — like what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day.

I know right?

You might scoff at this day as a mere Hallmark Frankenstein creation, but Valentine’s Day has consistently been one of the top 5 holidays of the year by consumer spending — so it pays to pay attention.

But it is interesting how a day with such a diverse set of ingredients became this behemoth of an event — we don’t even get a day off from work.

I think of the British Trifle Rachel made that one Thanksgiving — a little bit of everything.

A dash of religious conflict.

Sprinkle of mythology.

Pinch of literature.

Add commercialism to taste.

The general consensus on this day (at least anecdotally) is that this holiday was created by the corporate machine in order to squeeze money out of consumers by pulling at their heartstrings — you’re better off saving your money.

That’s a pretty reasonable assessment, especially given some of the recent trends around discretionary spending — particularly when it comes to couples:

Let me read some stats:

  • 47% of people wouldn’t marry someone with bad credit.
  • 44% of people say irresponsible spending is a bigger turnoff than bad breath
  • 47% of people would break up with their significant other if he or she spent irresponsibly.

It makes total sense. When you’re building a life with someone, you want to have a sense of security and not have to worry about making ends meet — being financially responsible is a big part of that. And reckless spending in a relationship is a burden that impacts more than just one person.

But then when you look at some of the numbers around Valentine’s Day:

  • Over 52% of Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year
  • 50% of people would rather fall in love than get the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Estimated consumer spending on Valentine’s Day hit a record-high $27.4 billion in 2020
  • The average per-person spend on Valentines Day hit a record-high $196 in 2020
  • 70% of people in 2020 planned to buy a gift on Valentine’s Day
  • 34% of people expect their partner to spend at least $50 on their gift

Interestingly, one stat from a survey done by Compare Cards shows how people might still be conscious of fiscal responsibility during Valentine’s Day.

According to the survey, on average, most people think their partner should spend on a Valentine’s Day gift is $201.

31% of people say that spending any more would be a ‘turn off.’


Okay so let me try to put this all together.

There seems to be a lot of agreement among the general population.

Financial responsibility is an important trait that many people look for in a partner. More and more people are prioritizing financial security in their relationships and will not tolerate reckless spending.

At the same time, heaps of people like the idea of celebrating romance and showing appreciation to their partner or loved ones. And as long as spending is within reason, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day.

That threshold for ‘spending within reason’ seems to be up to the $200 range.

And that’s plenty for businesses to play with ;)



Calvin Kai

Instant ramen connoisseur | Amateur wordsmith | Aspiring armchair expert. Sharing lessons on the human experience https://www.eversincethatnight.com/