In the U.K., it’s very common to get someone else to write out your Valentine’s cards. They’re supposed to be sent anonymously to the object of your heart’s desire, hence the need to disguise the writing.
Brits in the U.S. are often surprised at how massive Valentine’s Day is here, and at the fact that signed cards are sent to parents, siblings, children, teachers, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. In fact, this is the second biggest card-sending occasion of the year, Christmas being the first. According to the National Retail Federation, 2012 Valentine’s spending reached over $17.6 billion, with people spending an average of $126 each, not surprising really since the price of roses more than doubles at this time. Apparently men spend twice as much as women, although women buy most of the cards. (Since teachers receive the lion’s share of Valentine’s cards, that’s also not surprising.)
If you have small school children, you have your work cut out for you. Children typically give each other small paper hearts and cards, lollipops and other crap candy, so if your child is in a class of more than about fifteen kids, it’s a major project. Martha Stewart, queen of crafters, has web pages and books devoted to Valentine’s crafting and I confess her tissue floral heart won me best in show at school a few years ago. Seriously, it’s so easy. You just cut out a large cardboard heart … Oh, sorry. Where was I?
Obviously florists, chocolatiers and retailers do great business in the weeks leading up to February 14, but did you know there’s a 40% increase in divorce filings at this time too? Indeed. And in the true spirit of only in America, the Webb Law Firm in West Virginia generously runs its very own Valentine’s competition:
“The Webb Law Firm, PLLC, will give away one free divorce on Valentine’s Day to the person who, in the opinion of the Webb Law Firm, writes the most compelling story as to why they believe they deserve a free divorce. The free divorce is limited to an uncontested, no-fault divorce with no or minimal child custody issues.”
Looking further afield, I see Russia’s President Putin has jumped on the Valentine’s commercialism bandwagon this year with his gift to the nation. For sheer cheesiness, I announce him the 2013 Valentine’s Day winner.
What are your V-day plans?