What You Might Not Know About Valentine’s Day

February 12, 2019

valentine's day mohawk valleySurveys by the National Retail Federation (NRF) say that consumers are changing the way they celebrate America’s popular “love-in,” Valentine’s Day. Have you noticed the same trends in the Utica area?

Fewer People Celebrate Valentine’s Day

The percentages of adults age 18-34 celebrating the holiday went from 72% in 2009 to a little more than half in 2018. It was the same for ages 35-54. They went from 65% celebrating down to around half. These are prime ages for romance but many say that the holiday is over commercialized, they didn’t have anyone to celebrate with, or they just weren’t interested.

But We’re Spending More

Okay, so fewer people are celebrating. But the NRF finds that between 2009 and 2019, the average amount consumers planned to spend on Valentine’s Day gifts increased by $60.

So what’s driving this increase? It turns out that instead of buying just for a loved one, people include the whole family in on the fun. Plus co-workers, children’s classmates, and, of course, special treats for pets.

Total spending projected for 2019? $20.7 billion!!! That’s an increase over last year’s $19.6 billion. Men spend more than women, the age group 35-44 spend the most, and, believe it or not, $886 million will be spent on pets.

Not all of this spending is on traditional Valentine’s Day gifts such as flowers, candy, and jewelry. Especially for the younger crowd, experiential gifts have become popular. Concert tickets, a game, or a day at the spa are the gifts of choice for an increasingly non-materialistic millennial generation.

Where Did Valentine’s Day Come From?

Fewer people are celebrating but they sure are spending a lot of money on the holiday. So where did Valentine’s Day come from? We went to history.com to find out more.

Turns out that St. Valentine and his day are a bit of a mystery. The Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine, all martyred but sympathetic, heroic, and romantic figures.

Some believe that the Church decided to commemorate St. Valentine during February to make an ancient pagan celebration called Lupercalia its own.

During this fertility festival all the young women in the city would place their names in a big jar. Then the city’s bachelors would draw names and spend the day with the chosen women. (Were these slips of paper the first Valentine “cards”?) As you can imagine, these pairings often went on for more than the day and many ended up in marriage.

Our Valentine’s Day

It’s thought that Americans began exchanging handmade Valentine notes and cards in the early 1700s. Mass produced Valentine cards in the U. S. were first sold in the 1840s and made by printer and artist Esther A. Howland. She is known as the “Mother of the Valentine” and she made fancy cards with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures called scrap.

Today, the Greeting Card Association estimates 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards sent and given each year. Nice boost for the United States Postal Service!

And if you receive something more than that, say a nice piece of jewelry, know that we can add it to your homeowners insurance. Remember, there are limitations on jewelry for theft in a standard homeowners policy.

We hope you get a nice Valentine from your loved one, friend, or coworker and you celebrate the day in a way that spreads a little love.

Happy Valentine’s Day Mohawk Valley!

Your SZW Team

SZW Insurance is your Utica area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.