Valentine’s Day: Love and Consumerism

Valentine’s Day has changed from a day about love to a day of buying goods and services. Our relationships have become a commodity. Don’t fall into the consumerist trap – find other ways to express your love.

Australians spent $23 million on Valentine’s Day last year, buying over-packaged, environmentally-harmful, practically useless mass-produced items.

Love is big business for retailers. Take a look around the shops at this time of year and you’ll see for sale Valentine’s Day cards, gifts, flowers, food and drink. Worldwide, one billion generic Valentine’s Day cards are sold every year.

Photo of a supermarkets Valentine'd Day products for sale
Typical Valentine’s Day scene at the shops

The day of love has become an opportunity for retailers to take our hard earned money with an added annual guilt trip and a sense of obligation. Love has been intricately linked with consumerism and that’s really bad news for the environment, and your finances.


Valentine’s Day hasn’t always been about gross consumerism. In fact, consumerism is a social construct, a purposeful idea created after WW2 to improve the economy. People were encouraged to buy more stuff as it created wealth for the country, however, for consumerism to work we have to continuously buy more. It’s a system that is broken and it’s severely damaging the Earth.

Most of us were born into a consumerist society. It’s one of the strongest influences in modern life and comes with the over-arching idea that in order to be happier, better, more successful – we need more stuff. And that’s not what Valentine’s Day is about.

Consumerism is Not Love

Consumerism is the opposite of love and romance. Rampant consumerism causes biodiversity loss, deforestation, soil erosion, collapsing fisheries, climate change and the unsustainable use of natural resources.

It’s intrusive, always interrupting our lives with advertising, creating wants. It’s manipulative – buy more, yet it leaves people in a constant state of dissatisfaction with what they do have. It does not meet our needs. On Valentine’s Day it’s more important than ever to remember that this is a day about relationships and not stuff.

Love without Gross Consumerism

This year, have a sweet Valentine’s Day without the stuff. Avoid the trap of extravagant dinners and expensive gifts. Make Valentine’s Day about your relationship with your loved one.

Here’s some suggestions for you to consider for Valentine’s Day:

  • Write a poem or love letter
  • Add a love note to your loved one’s lunch
  • Make a card
  • Pick a bunch of flowers from the garden
  • Make a romantic playlist for the special day
  • Give each other a massage – listening to your romantic playlist
  • Cook breakfast in bed – present it with a flower from the garden
  • Bake cupcakes or heart shaped biscuits
  • Create a romantic dinner for two at home
  • Go on a picnic
  • Enjoy a romantic hike in nature together
  • Bike ride together – take a picnic with you
  • Visit an art gallery
  • Check out street art together
  • Go on an urban adventure, explore your surrounds
  • Try something new like Geocaching

For even more loved up ideas head on over to Intimacy Done The Frugal Fun Way.

This year don’t get sucked into your Valentine’s Day being turned into a commodity.

Reduce your environmental footprint to increase the love, after all Valentine’s Day is about relationships and not about stuff.

Still insisting on buying a gift? Ensure you wrap it sustainably: Gift Wrapping Paper Alternatives

Meme: the wife and I exchanged Valentine's cards at the store. Then we put them back on the rack...done.
Another way to celebrate Valentine’s Day without wasting resources

What’s your favourite eco-friendly way to have Valentine’s Day?

Please share the ideas by commenting below.

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