Happy Valentine’s Day!

Okay, okay, I know the holiday is seriously over-commercialized in the US.  But, it’s not in Germany.  The Germans do celebrate Valentine’s Day, just not to the scale that Americans do.

To those of you who think Valentine’s Day is just another Hallmark holiday, I’ll just slip a little reminder in that we have no Hallmark stores in Germany.  Or any Red Hots, conversation hearts, or the like.  But that’s another lament for another

In Germany, Valentine’s Day is an adult holiday.  Children are not expected to make and take 30 valentines to school on the 14th.  Or, for that matter, take home 30 different valentines containing enough candy to sustain a sugar high for a week.

(And all the parents reading this just heaved a great sigh of relief!)

Instead, German men may give red or pink flowers to their sweethearts.  Lucky for the dudes, flowers are much cheaper over here.  In fact, decent roses or tulips can be had from grocery stores like Aldi or Lidl for only a few euro.  Stepping up to a real florist costs but a fraction of what it would in the US.

When I worked at a florist nearly 10 years ago, one dozen, long-stemmed red roses delivered in a vase was just shy of $90.  For flowers.  That die.  Not very romantic.  I don’t even want to imagine what the cost is now.

Chocolates and sweets are also popular gifts.  But, forget Hershey’s.  Over here, it’s better to choose something unique.  Perhaps something Swiss.  Elegance and thoughtfulness are key.

Beyond flowers and chocolate, I will admit I have seen displays in department store windows advertising jewelry and other girlie goods.  But you won’t find any special section of the store dedicated just to Valentine’s Day.

As I mentioned this morning in a conversation with a friend, the lack of materialism and pressure to buy, Buy, BUY in Germany is quite refreshing.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break the bank, and the meaning can still shine through.

So, although no German really says this, Happy Valentinstag!

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