When I began conjuring the topic for this month’s blog, I thought to myself, “It’s February: the month of (typically) cold temps, gray days, and of course, Valentine’s Day—that made-up American holiday Hallmark Cards promoted back in the ‘50s that many look forward to, many quietly try to ignore, and still others avoid with anger and resentment.”
Whoa! Now that’s a holiday filled with mixed emotions. Dare I add anything of interest? Better yet, do I have anything to add? Oh, what the heck! Even from a purely professional perspective, Valentine’s Day is a shining examplar of a long-enduring marketing campaign, and that alone makes it worth learning more about.
Once again, I find myself surprised to learn at least one new thing during my monthly blog research. This time I learned a lot more than usual. And, once again, I stand corrected: Valentine’s Day is definitely not what some refer to as a “Hallmark Holiday.”
Hallmark has even gone so far to write a press release that says: “While we're honored that people so closely link the Hallmark name with celebrations and special occasions, we can't take credit for creating holidays. Congressional resolutions, proclamations, religious observances, cultural traditions, and grassroots leadership by ordinary people create these special days. It's really the public who give occasions like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day widespread acceptance as celebration events.”
In fact, this holiday has been building to its current status for centuries.
Along with many other greeting card companies, Hallmark has indeed marketed this month’s big holiday, and these companies certainly benefit in a big way. In the United States alone, the average Valentine’s spending has increased every year, from $108 a person in 2010 to $131 in 2013. Pets even fare pretty well, with more than $700 million spent on celebrating the day with them in the past year alone.
Like most people, I have mixed emotions about this holiday. How I feel depends on where I am in my life. But I must admit: whatever the occasion, I love picking out cards and dropping them in the mail. I love receiving them. I even hope one day to design Valentine’s cards and have them published. To me, it’s such a delight these days to find a card with a personal and handwritten note in my mailbox mixed in with the advertising and bills, whether that card is for a holiday or “just because.” A card shows that someone not only thought of me, but took the time to sit down and write a note, address an envelope and stick a stamp on it before sending it off. I even like to see what stamps people choose. The artwork chosen is often reflective of their own tastes and sometimes even a guess at what the recipient will enjoy. And there’s a lot of art out there! Funny, romantic, insightful, bizarre…. You name it and there’s a card to represent it. Admit it—you love getting cards too!
So whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or you think “Cupid is Stupid," here’s my virtual card for all of you created by yours truly. (Sorry, chocolates still can’t be sent as easily as a meme. Somebody work on that, okay?) I hope you like it because it’s what I love to do! If you'd like me to send you a card through the good ol' US Mail, be sure to send me your address.