Column: Celebrate Valentine's Day with handmade gifts
On Valentine’s Day, we often focus on impressing and showing off to our significant others and friends, whether by looking glamorous or by splurging on gifts for our loved ones. Instead of focusing on the competitive, consumeristic nature of society on Valentine’s Day, we should reflect on love’s best qualities by exchanging handmade gifts.
According to the National Retail Federation, surveyed consumers “said they plan to spend an average $196.31” this Valentine’s Day. This is in part because of the growing trend to purchase gifts for friends, family, coworkers and pets for Valentine's Day. For men, the expected spending is even higher at $291.15, and for those confused on what their loved ones want, $2 billion is expected to be spent on gift cards.
One important thing the Valentine’s Day industry has disregarded is the environment. Sadly, the $2.4 billion spent on candy will contribute to a considerable amount of candy wrapper waste that is hard to recycle. Wrappers, along with the endless greeting cards and plastic wrapped gifts, add up to a lot of additional waste created on the day devoted to love.
Receiving a generic piece of colorful paper might seem like a nice gesture when you get it, but doesn’t it just end forgotten and in the trash by the end of the week? Many mainstream Valentine’s gifts don’t show our love but instead our desire for convenience.
“Gift giving should be something you should do for someone, to show your love and appreciation … I’ve seen people make a huge deal out of this holiday — a far bigger deal than what is really necessary," Margaret Xiao wrote for Odyssey.
The goal of Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be purchasing the best gifts, but instead making sure people see how much we appreciate and love them, and the best way to do that is to handcraft something made just for your special people.
Because you know your loved ones best, you will be able to make them something that reflects the things you know they love. Whether they are still avid Harry Potter fans or want to travel the world, you can make something that is especially for them and show that you have been listening to what they are passionate about.
If you are at a loss for what to do, there are countless tutorials on the internet, including upcycled and sustainable gifts you can create to help you decide on something that fits your skill level and what your significant other would enjoy. You can try something new or go with something you are already skilled at. It can be as simple as writing a letter or as complicated as a crochet project.
Making gifts for people is a great opportunity to express your creativity. Taking the time away from studying and activities to create something for someone you genuinely love shouldn’t be a burden, but a way to celebrate love and the creativity it inspires.
Taking the time to make gifts for the people you love and appreciate trumps buying the generic gifts Valentine’s Day is known for and gives you the chance to show how the people you love have inspired you.