By Camille Aubin
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When we think of Valentine’s Day, the first images that come to mind are often candy or chocolate in the shape of a heart, pretty flowers, a romantic dinner or even luxurious jewelry. For many, Valentine’s Day, just like Christmas, has lost its meaning by turning into another holiday in which products and gifts have replaced authentic connections and erased any meaningful moment for expressing love.

Having a day dedicated to celebrating love is exceptional. With the world we live in — all of us separated from each other, and this feeling of loneliness that grows in some of us from day to day — loving and being loved should be celebrated even more enthusiastically this year.

Did you know that just a bit more than half (52 per cent) of U.S. adults that plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year will spend a total of $21.8 billion, according to the latest edition of an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics? That’s a lot of money, even for a special day.

Still, the expenses associated with this day will almost certainly be less than last year, given the circumstances. “Because of these altered plans, it is no surprise that spending on Valentine’s Day gifts this year has dropped. Those celebrating plan to spend an average of $164.76 per person, down $32 on average per person, from a record $196.31 per person in 2020 right before the pandemic hit,” reported the NRF. 

Instead of spending a fortune this year, we ought to support and encourage actions and ideas such as Invermere leisure services manager Cortney Pitts’ initiative to create homemade Valentine’s cards specially designed for seniors, so that they too can feel the love on this pleasant day.

Let’s celebrate friendship, celebrate our relationships, celebrate our love and pride in ourselves, and create cherished memories with the precious people in our lives.  Gifts can be full of meaning too, but we certainly don’t have to stress out or break our coconut to ‘satisfy’ (in the wrong way) our better half, our dearest best friend or our beloved mom and dad. Take the time to connect with your cherished ones and express your love and gratitude on Valentine’s Day…and every day. 

Happy Valentine’s day. Love and be loved.