According to the National Retail Federation the average American spent $116.21 on traditional Valentine's Day merchandise this year - bringing total Valentine's Day spending in the US to $15.7 Billion. Goodness, the well mannered mother might be thinking, $15.7 Billion dollars on conversation hearts, flowers, cards, doilies and glue sticks. How is this possible? Don't forget the jewelry, clothes, and expensive dinners. And yet, how can all of this add up to such an enormous amount? We are well aware that in some households this holiday has long been considered nothing but a "phony-greeting-card-industry-holiday." In such cases you might find spouses rummaging around the house looking for pink and red construction paper the night before and hoping no one was going to do anything 'crazy' involving actual gifts or Winstons flowers. But obviously in many, many other houses this is big business. The modern mother wonders, is this yet another example of how out of control consumerism has become in America? Are we, as nation, incapable of ignoring the signals retailers begin sending the day after the last holiday? When Christmas pops up the day after Halloween and Valentine's Day kicks in December 26th is it any wonder Americans have a hard time resisting the urge to consume? No doubt there is also a correlation between consumer holiday spending and the fact that one can now purchase Marshmallow Peeps for every major holiday. While it would hardly be mannerly to suggest how the modern mother spends her time or money, it is interesting to consider what might happen if the modern mother were (en mass) to 'just say no' to whatever festive cheer the retailers throw her way next.