Today is Valentine’s Day which is a holiday celebrated by many and hated by others and also one whose origin is hard to determine.

Some historians insist it goes back hundreds of years and one account is that a Roman Emperor believing single men made better soldiers would not allow them to marry.  However in secret St. Valentine would perform marriages. He was caught and executed on February 14th.  Other accounts are very different.

Regardless of its origin Valentine’s Day is a big deal.  Hallmark reports that more than 140 million greeting cards will be exchanged and some 250 million roses are produced with red as you would expect the most popular color.

Another favorite gift is chocolate as both men and yes even women would rather receive chocolate than flowers.  The traditional heart-shaped Valentine’s Day box of chocolates was first introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868 and still accounts for a large percentage of candy sales.

Since the day and love go hand-in-hand it’s no surprise that today will be a big day for asking someone’s hand in marriage.  It is the #1 day for proposals which is good news for diamond retailers and jewelry stores.

What’s become increasingly popular in recent years (especially with millennials) is not the standard Valentine’s Day gift but rather an experience like an outdoor activity, evening out, concert, massage, cooking class, etc.  Throw in dinner and more and it all adds up to an expected $27 billion that will be spent even though 3 in 10 adults say that for a variety of reasons they are not celebrating this day of love.

I really don’t know how the holiday started but I do know this.  There will be guys in drug stores and convenience stores trying to find a card or gift at the last minute today because they forgot.  They may find slim pickings and if they come up empty then they’ll come home to a modern version of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre…and that will not be pretty.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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