Hearts are everywhere.

Commercials are pushing chocolates, wine, fancy dinners, lingerie, and Hallmark cards. Florists are offering specials on roses. Love songs flow from the airways.

The commercialization bothers me a bit. The statistics stagger me.

The National Retail Federation anticipates $19.6 billion in Valentine expenditures this year, up from $18.2 billion last year. Those 25-34 will be the biggest spenders at an average of $202.76.This year’s survey broke expenditure averages down this way:

$88.98 on their significant other/spouse ($12.1 billion)

$25.29 on other family members such as children or parents ($3.5 billion)

$7.26 on children’s classmates/teachers ($991 million)

$7.19 on friends ($982 million)

$5.50 on pets ($751 million)

$4.79 on co-workers ($654 million)

Cards, flowers, jewelry, and fine dinners are all very romantic gestures to express love on this special day. If you have the funds and want to be extravagant, who am I to stop you? Go for it!

BUT, I’d like to suggest gifts don’t have to involve great expense. Nothing’s better than a homemade Valentine card or a home cooked meal served by candlelight.

Need ideas: Check the February editions of magazines or Pinterest. Most are loaded with DIY ideas for valentine cards and gifts.

More important, remember, it’s the day-to-day things that really show true love.

  • A hug
  • A back rub after a tiring day
  • An affirming text that arrives at the perfect moment
  • Holding hands

And, if you’re shy about expressing yourself with words or cards , you can always give a sign for I love you from Signing Savvy.