Valentine’s Day: The Hallmark Holiday

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Taylor Burnham

 

Red roses, boxed chocolates, and romantic dinners. All these stereotypical beacons of love are associated with the one holiday that was invented by a corporation to increase sales: Valentine’s Day. As a hopeless romantic, this day dedicated to celebrating significant others has never been a day I admirebut I am intrigued by how Valentine’s Day came to be the dominating force that it is todayHallmark, a store known primarily for their selection of greeting cards, usethis holiday to their advantage by popularizing purchasing cards and gifts for one’s partnerboosting profits. 

 

According to History.com, the exact origin of Valentine’s Day is unclear. There were several legends of Saint Valentine, the namesake of the holiday, all of which highlight his dedication to romance. There is also a theory that Valentine’s day was the replacement for the fertility festival Lupercalia after it was deemed “un-Christian.”  

 

So, Hallmark did not invent the physical Valentine’s day holiday, but they certainly monopolized on the gift giving expectation. Offering cards, chocolates, and stuffed animals, Hallmark is the perfect place to purchase all the clichés, and it is no surprise why this is the case. In 1910, the Hallmark company came to life when Joyce Clide Hall and his brother Rollie Hall started selling postcards, as stated on Hallmark’s website. After a fire had destroyed their inventory in 1915, the brothers decided to start manufacturing greeting cards during a time where store-bought cards were becoming more prominent and postcard sales were dropping. This impending success led to the development of even more products that formed Hallmark into a holiday shopping hub, especially for Valentine’s Day. With over 145 million Valentine’s cards sold each year, Hallmark was smart to jump on this trend and profit from supporting these purchases. 

 

Although Hallmark does not officially admit to creating Valentine’s Day, the holiday brings in a large number of sales for the company. With no definitive origin for the holiday, I attribute Valentine’s Day’s prominence to Hallmark’s manipulation of lovers by convincing them to buy cards and similar products to express their devotion. Valentine’s Day will never feel like an authentic holiday, more like a money-making scheme, but I am sure that will never stop people from celebrating.