Stop buying excessive gifts for Valentine’s Day


Shriya Vanparia

One of the best ways an individual can make a difference in waste output is through becoming more conscious of what we buy. The Sidekick Student Life Editor, Neha Desaraju discusses decreasing spending during holiday seasons.

Neha Desaraju, Student Life Editor

America runs on capitalism.

A visible symptom of capitalism is consumerism, the recent phenomenon in which there is a haste to buy and consume, a byproduct of the disease plaguing our houses, stores, schools and workplaces. 

Unspoken laws of capitalism state the more eyes their product is placed in front of, the more money they make. The companies play right to our worst weaknesses, and we fall right into their trap.

Every holiday is labeled the way marketers want them to be. Valentine’s Day, for example, was only about buying giant teddy bears that accumulate dust and eventually make their way into an already cramped attic when teddy bear-making companies deemed it so. In fact, in 2017, Valentine’s Day itself was worth $18.2 billion. Now, we associate Valentine’s Day with outrageous displays of materialistic love, and we continue to crave it every year. 

It’s not just limited to those in a relationship—according to one survey, the average spending for single people is $51. This is a golden example of consumers collecting things they most certainly do not need—products are bought literally for the sake of being bought.

The producers make money, while consumers lose space, money, time, effort or all of the above. Even worse, this consumerism is detrimental to the environment; it generates astronomical amounts of waste where the money spent could be spent in better places. In fact, 66 million hungry children around the world could be fed for six years with the amount of money spent for Valentine’s Day. (For the record, 3.1 million children die from undernutrition every year.) It also encourages companies to continue building large empires that exploit their workers and the environment, and it is not a coincidence the most materialistic countries contribute the most to climate change.

I don’t discourage people from doing nice things for their significant others on Valentine’s Day, however.  Although it is not an individual contributing to environmental destruction, by avoiding useless spending, you can make Valentine’s Day a fun day without spending too much money.

Follow Neha (@nehades_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.