Valentine’s day is nearly upon us, and if you have someone special in your life then you’re probably thinking about buying them a card and a token of your appreciation. For most couples, Valentine’s day is a celebration of love, and one which must be marked with gifts and a romantic day or evening together. If you’re stuck for ideas, this handy gift guide can help you to find the perfect present for your loved one or loved-one-to-be, to suit a range of budgets. Read on to find out more.
History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s day celebrates a Christian saint named Valentine who lived in Roman times. Not much is known about St.Valentine, and it is thought that there may have been up to three St.Valentine’s upon which the celebration is based. As the facts are hazy, Valentine’s day is not recognised by all arms of Christianity, and it is not a national holiday in any country. However, people all around the world – religious or not – recognise February 14th as being a celebration of love.
Although it is difficult for scholars to separate truth from story-telling, and to pick out which folk tale belongs to which St. Valentine, one particular legend has become popular. The Roman Emperor Claudius II ruled between the years 268-270. During his short time in charge, he made it illegal for young men to marry, as this made it easier for him to recruit more men to his army. It is said that St. Valentine performed weddings in secret, and when he was caught he was executed.
Celebrating St.Valentine’s day ramped up in popularity around the Victorian times, when the giving of cards became more popular. In 1835, 60,000 Valentine cards were sent by post in the UK, and by 1840 this number had risen to 400,000.
Gift Buying Etiquette
These days, couples (or singles who want to confess their interest in another) tend to go a little further than sending a simple card through the post, although some still prefer this minimal approach. Buying a gift or token for a loved one is generally expected these days, although exactly what type of gift can vary depending on taste and the message you want to send.
If you’re single and you want to grab the attention of someone you like, a small gift is usually best. Going all out with something very expensive may appear forward if you are not yet romantically involved, although this may depend on the type of friendship you currently have. It is traditional to send anonymous Valentine’s cards ‘from a secret admirer’, although of course if you’d like the recipient to know how you feel then it’s best to sign your own name.
If you’re in a relationship, then Valentine’s day can be tricky to get right if you don’t know your partner’s thoughts on it. As it is not an officially recognised holiday, traditions can vary widely even from town to town, and what is perfectly acceptable to you may seem far too little or far too much to your other half. While it may not appear the most romantic thing to do, discussing Valentine’s day in advance with your loved-one can help. It may be that you’d be happy to just exchange cards and enjoy a romantic meal at home, but your partner is expecting a surprise weekend away or expensive gift, for instance. Communication is the key and it should prevent any misunderstandings or embarrassments on the day.
Present ideas for him:
If you’re after a small, more casual gift for the man in your life (or potential boyfriend-to-be) then you’re likely to find a wide range of Valentine-themed items for sale on the high street. While men can be difficult to buy for, with many preferring to steer clear of the traditional flowers and cuddly-toys, wine and chocolate can be very sucessful, not to mention accessible choices. If you’re happy for your small present to go down a more light-hearted route, then these heart-print socks from John Lewis may be just the thing at just £8.
If you’d like to spend a little more on your special someone, something personalised can be a good way to show them that you care. Try to choose something that they will enjoy based on the things they enjoy doing or their favourite pasttimes. For instance, someone who has an office job or who enjoys writing may like a personalised engraved pen, or perhaps the man in your life would prefer something like this sound wave art print (£30), which can be personalised to depict their favourite song.
If you’re working with a larger budget, then you may want to consider going for an experience or holiday which the both of you can share. This can be over Valentine’s day itself or booked for another time. You don’t have to go abroad to enjoy a cosy and romantic couple of days together, and if your partner is outdoorsy then glamping could be the ideal option. There are plenty of options all over the UK, such as this beautiful yurt complete with log burner and luxury furnishings in Sussex, from £119 per night for 2 people.
Present ideas for her:
If you’d like to give a small token of your love or admiration to the woman in your life on Valentine’s, you may want to go for the traditional single red rose or box of chocolates. Of course, you may want to do something a little different which has a personalised touch, like this engraved wine glass complete with love heart from Getting Personal at £9.99.
At Valentine’s you often can’t go far wrong with flowers and a well-thought-out card. However, generic Valentine’s gifts can be a little cliché, so why not put a spin on tradition and get her something which will last longer than a bunch of roses? This succulent garden planted in a book makes a great alternative to flowers – one which is beautiful all year round. Avaiable from Marks & Spencers for £35 with free delivery on a day of your choosing.
For those with a larger budget, a spa break or couples massage may be a good choice, as it’s something that you can enjoy together in a romantic setting. A meal out at a posh restaurant is always nice too. It is traditional to give jewellery to the woman you love at Valentine’s, and if your budget allows, buying a necklace, earrings or a bracelet in a style which suits their taste would likely be a very successful gift.
Special gifts from H&T
If you’d like to buy jewellery or a watch for that special someone in your life, whether they’re male or female, H&T has a huge range of items for sale, both in store and online. Often, the items which come our way are unique and sometimes period pieces. You can find your local H&T store using our store finder, or alternatively you can find a range of unique items in our eBay shop.
When you choose to buy a watch or a piece of jewellery from H&T, you can rest assured that it has been tested and appraised by our team of experts. All precious metals and diamonds are clearly identified and priced – allowing you to find the perfect gift for your loved one.