Valentine’s Day Alternatives Gain Popularity Among Those Uninterested in Traditional Celebrations
As Valentine’s Day approaches, not everyone is in the mood for the traditional flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinner for two. For those who have recently gone through a breakup or just aren’t interested in the coupledom of it all, alternative ways of celebrating the day are gaining popularity.
Lilly Calman, a 26-year-old who recently went through a painful breakup, found a unique way to channel her emotions this year. Instead of indulging in traditional Valentine’s Day activities, she donated $25 to a fundraiser for the San Antonio zoo that allows people to symbolically name a roach or rodent after an ex and feed it to one of the zoo’s animals. For Ms. Calman, watching the symbolic representation of her ex being eaten by a Komodo dragon was a satisfying outlet for her anger.
The annual campaign, which has raised over $235,000 since its launch in 2020, signals the appeal of alternative Valentine’s Day rituals for those uninterested in traditional celebrations. The holiday’s traditions and spending continue to bring strong feelings, both for and against, with some criticizing it for upholding a narrow-minded model of relationships as heterosexual and monogamous.
However, as the holiday and its spending continue, Valentine’s Day celebrations have broadened to include friends, family, pets, and even oneself. Marketers are finding new avenues to resonate with even the naysayers. The candy brand Sweethearts, for example, launched a “situationships” edition with blurred writing for those in undefined relationships, which quickly sold out.
According to Peter McGraw, a behavioral economist at the University of Colorado Boulder, businesses could be doing more to cater to a large group. He pointed to the spending spree on Alibaba’s Singles Day, on November 11, as evidence of the potential for businesses to communicate effectively with people who don’t fit into the traditional Valentine’s Day mold.
The opinions on the topic are varied, with some arguing that the point of the day is to celebrate and recognize love, and that will never go away, while others view it as a consumerist scam. As the holiday continues to evolve, it’s clear that the desire for alternative ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day is on the rise.