Is Valentine’s day still relevant for millennials?

The recent reactions to a certain fast food chain’s set of online ads brought to fore the feelings of the connected generation when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It was not just about couples finding love (or losing it), the last one featured a mother and son coping with the loss of a loved one.  

This brings about the question of how Millennials feel about the day when #feels is supposed to trend fashionably.  

Almost everyone passed through that stage where they were coerced to handcraft heart cards to give out to classmates and parents, the pressure then was more about making your cards look pretty. 

As one grows up, the challenge becomes having people to actually give cards to. So many local Facebook pages are now dedicated to those who are ‘sawi’ or ‘pinaasa’, and every post finds reactions and comments by a generation who seems to find difficulty dating despite the ease of swiping left or right. To those who were lucky enough to find someone to celebrate Hearts’ Day with, do they even celebrate it at all?

Some say they do, because their Significant Other may feel left out if they don’t spring a surprise or at least hand out the token bouquets and chocolate boxes. It does come with a certain measure of pride to post on social media that you are fulfilling #relationshipgoals, after all. A lot of them do say, though, that their heart isn’t really in it.

Quest for authenticity

One characteristic that marks Millennials is their quest for authenticity. Yes, it may seem hipster-ish, but they really do try to deviate from the mainstream. Valentine’s Day is viewed as a marketing ploy that is a message of consumerism hidden within the sweet candy box, and therefore receives a less –than-enthusiastic, even cynical response.    

They don’t find it romantic, states a study published in the GBrief, a US website dedicated to understanding how the Millennial mindset works. It says, “Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Millennials think Valentine’s Day is overrated, and a surprising 27% even go so far as to say that they avoid going out in public on Valentine’s Day. One third of Millennials don’t even celebrate Valentine’s Day to begin with.”

The expense of Valentine’s Day is another factor that make them dislike it, the study adds. This is true even in the Philippines, where a fancy meal costs around P1,500 per head. No matter how those fastfood ads try to suggest that consumers spend their V-Day dates with them, nothing beats getting dressed up with somewhere to go.

It is the thought that counts, of course, and some Millennial drumbeaters are now suggesting to their followers that they make the occasion more special by making the Valentines themselves. This goes back to their value in the quality of authenticity. 

Online Millennial mag Primer extols the virtue of creating something to show their love, with handcrafted items or even a heartfelt handwritten love letter. Cooking dinner is another given alternative to going out, and we must admit that it is equally as impressive.

Now it goes full circle, as creating handmade cards goes back to the aforementioned arts and crafts activity in the classroom. It goes even deeper than that, because as in the preschool days when those cards are not just for a special someone, Valentine’s has become all-inclusive again. GBrief says that Millennials celebrate the holiday with all of their loved ones, not just their “baes”. Since they feel that Valentine’s Day isn’t all that romantic, they are as likely (7 percent) to buy gifts for siblings and even co-workers, compared to the older generations.  

All things considered, marketers can still breathe a sigh of relief. All those red hearts hanging from the malls’ walls are there to stay, at least for this generation. 

Many Millennials say that they will still celebrate Valentine’s Day, and go to restaurants or buy gifts, with men expecting to spend more than women.

So, to those who have found their “forever”, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day! To those who are single for whatever reason, it is quite all right to be heart-happy and celebrate it with the loves of your life. Love is for everyone, and this tradition has evolved to encompass all, whether the label is “in a relationship”, “unattached”, or “it’s complicated”.

Topics: Valentine’s day , millennials
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