When it gets closer to the holidays which are associated with gift giving, you will see grocery stores and shopping malls constantly reminding you that you need to buy a certain product to express your love and connection.
Now it’s January and it’s getting close to Valentines day. Heart chocolates, flowers and teddy bears started to appear at grocery stores and malls. TV advertisements started to remind us that diamonds last forever just like our love. All this external stimuli and social media conditions society that spending money on a product is a must to make your loved one happy.
I support the idea of Valentine’s Day because I see it as a tool to experience a special day, dress up for each other and have a quality dinner and a dinner conversation without interruption. “Everyday is a Valentine’s day for us, I think it’s stupid that there is just one day for that”. Well, do you dress up for your partner every day? Do you sit on the dining table every day, have a nice prep meal and talk to each other without phones or turning the TV on? If the answer is no, you have to make us of this day special to save your relationship.
Research conducted at San Francisco State University shows that people who spent money on experiences rather than products were happier and felt the money was better spent. An article on Forbes magazine says that “The thrill of purchasing things fades quickly but the joy and memories of experiences, from epic adventures to minute encounters, can last a lifetime” which I totally agree with.
Some ideas could be concert tickets where you can enjoy great music together and have an unforgettable experience. You can invest together in a short or long trip and your vacation memories will last together. Gym membership will be a good idea to motivate your loved one for a healthy life. Massage or spa wellness packages are always great ideas to motivate your loved one for self-care, especially if they have been stressed lately. You can also consider workshops and new skills that you can do together with your loved one or encourage them to do. Once they learn it, it will last a life time and will be a gift to remember.
Feeling good is more important than looking good. This means an expensive piece of clothing will make you less happy than an experience which will make you feel good.
-Ipek Aykol, LMFT 97315
*These photos were taken at Papyrus, South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa CA.