It is estimated that around 150 million Valentine’s cards the world over are sent every year, which makes it the second most popular card sending event after Christmas. Needless to say, whether you celebrate it or not, there’s no denying that it’s a celebration that people are infatuated with.
When it comes to buying a gift, it can sometimes be tough to navigate around the numerous offerings and still manage to pick something that symbolises the special relationship you have with your significant other. We’ve put together a handy guide to Valentine’s Day, complete with gift suggestions from yours truly!
A brief history of Valentine’s Day
There is a lot of cynicism around Valentine’s Day, and one of the most popular complaints is that it has been fabricated by greetings card companies in order to sell more goods, but in actual fact that are many variations on the story of how this day of affection came to be – and it certainly wasn’t always about love and good feelings!
A priest, known as Valentine of Rome, is perhaps the most accepted figurehead of St Valentine’s day. He was supposedly put to death by Emperor Claudius on February 14th AD 289, in retaliation for him illegally give aid to prisoners. For his sins, he was sentenced to spend his years behind bars too, whereby he befriended one of the jailers by healing his captor’s daughter’s vision. The story goes that he wrote a letter to her, signing it “your Valentine”.
Another theory is that Claudius banned young men from getting married, preferring them to become soldiers. Our hero, Valentine of Rome, is rumoured to have married young couples in secret against the Emperors’ wishes. For the pleasure he was put to death on, you guessed it, 14th February.
In addition [to add more confusion to the melting pot of Valentine’s folklore) is that in Ancient Rome, people celebrated a Pagan festival known as Lupercalia, which fell on the 13th, 14th and 15th of February. During this celebration, evil spirits were banished from homes, which was rumoured to increase health, and perhaps most importantly, fertility.
Valentine’s traditions around the world
While Valentine’s Day feels very Roman-centric, since in was first conceived it has spread the world over to become one of the most popular celebrations around. Many countries have their own traditions in how they show their loved ones that they care;
- South Koreans do things a little differently! While European traditions seemingly focus on men treating women to numerous treats, it’s actually the other way round on Valentine’s day - women gift their men with chocolates and candles, and then come 14th March it is the men’s turn, and then often have a larger gift in tow as well.
- In Denmark, rather than the usual red roses, it is more traditional to gift with a Snowdrop. They also send cards, and something known as gaekkebrev, which is a letter containing a joke or a poem and mysteriously signed in dots. If the recipient can guess who it was from, then they also receive an easter egg later on in the year.
- Wedding ceremonies for Filipino couples increase more than tenfold on 14th It is quite common for huge weddings to be thrown, where a variety of couples can either get married for the first time or renew their vows en masse!
Gift ideas for her
If you do choose to celebrate this day with your beloved, knowing where to begin with a gift can be very difficult. With a wealth of teddy bears, roses and greetings cards on offer, it’s easy to see why this day can be a contentious issue for anyone who wants to show their loved one that they care.
We’ve put together a few suggestions for that special woman in your life!
Nothing says romance quite like jewellery! A mainstay gift for valentines’ the world over, a gift of gold or silver is bound to make any woman jump for joy. But contrary to popular opinion, buying jewellery for a loved one does not need to come with a hefty price tag!
These beautiful, heart-shaped earrings by Pilgrim feature a rose gold plated heart delicately set with white marbled stones. All of Pilgrim’s jewellery is handmade and Nickel free - made from zinc or brass, and then plated with silver or gold.
A toiletry bag usually contains products that make a woman feel good about herself- for example like cosmetics and perfumes. If you’re stuck on what to get the woman who seemingly has everything, how about something to put everything in?
This gorgeous washbag, lovingly made by Sophie Allport, is made from a sturdy and stylish oilcloth. The handily sized bag has a soft grey base is smattered with a ditsy pink heart print, and would make a wonderful addition to any woman’s bathroom repertoire.
Gifts to Have in The Home
The saying goes that home is where the heart is… so if your valentine is a real homebody who loves nothing more than whipping up a culinary masterpiece, a gift that they can use around the home shows thought, such as this lovely sweet pea pot mitt made by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Made from 100% cotton, this sweet and useful kitchen accessory is bound to remind your valentine of you whenever they use it!
If your partner likes to have collectables in their home, whether its statues, teddies or sculptures, these can make fantastic Valentine’s Day gifts. This Bronze Lovebirds Sculpture is perfect for adding to your home and putting a smile on your loved one’s face.
So, now that you have a variety of gift ideas, go out and buy your loved one the gift of their dreams ready for Valentine’s Day.