Cynics say that Valentine’s Day is a fallacy invented by the greeting cards industry to increase our overdraft, just in case the Christmas credit card bill is starting to subside. Arguably the worst thing about Valentine’s Day is hitting the shops, usually at the last minute, to join everyone else in a manic search for a tasteful gift. If the thought of Oxford Street on 13 February makes you feel ill then sort out your Valentine’s Day gifts by shopping online this year.
Brief History of Valentine’s Day
What is so special about 14 February? Theories on the subject abound, but this one is just too romantic to ignore. Although the Catholic Church currently recognises three different saints named Valentine who were martyred on 14 February, the most likely contender is a Roman priest from the third century, Bishop Valentine. At this time, Emperor Claudius feared that young men who were married were less likely to join his legions of soldiers than single men, so he banned marriage. However, the Catholic Bishop Valentine believed that marriage was a holy institution desired by God, so he secretly continued to marry young couples. Claudius discovered that Valentine was disobeying his orders, so he was thrown in jail. There, he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, and legend has it that he sent her a note, shortly before his death, signed “From Your Valentine”.
Even if you’re not proposing come February 14th, a Valentines card is still a great way to mark the occasion. A great way to make your card meaningful, without breaking the bank, is to create a card yourself, and there are loads of great websites to help you.
If you want a real-life, physical card, it’s easy to find a website where, for just a few quid, you can choose from a selection of cards from recognized brands such as Me to You, and then personalize them as much as you like by changing the words and colors on the card. You can even upload your own photographs. Then have the printed card sent either to you, or better still, have it sent anonymously direct to your recipient.
There are even sites which are completely free. Many have an enormous range of cards for Valentine’s Day and you’re bound to find something suitable to be emailed to your sweetheart.
Inexpensive and Creative Valentine’s Gifts
- Make a book of vouchers for your partner, including a voucher to spend a day with his mates or with her girly friends, a voucher to get out of an argument for free, a voucher for a massage after a long day, or anything else you can think of.
- Take the time to create a playlist for their iPod, so on a miserable journey to work they can be cheered up by a whole hour of meaningful songs that will remind them of special times.
- Dig out all your old photos, and create a collage of all of the best photos of the two of you.
Say it with Flowers
If your other half has traditional taste, a bouquet of flowers makes a romantic, old-fashioned Valentine’s Day gift. Probably the best known name in the floral world is Interflora, which encompasses a huge network of florists nationwide. You can order online, or call your local florist to discuss what you would like. There is a growing trend for women to buy flowers for men on Valentine’s Day. Interflora has a great selection of designer arrangements, which might just hit the spot.