Valentine's Day Gifts for him or her

Valentine's Day is a day you probably associate with red hearts, roses and exquisite food, but the day itself has had a long and interesting evolution.

The original date and it's patron saint are hidden behind a veil of mystery; though it is clear that there are both pagan Roman and Christian roots to the tradition. There are at least three different saints called Valentine, all of whom were martyred, but there is one story that sounds as though it might have inspired some of our modern traditions.

In the legend Valentine was a young priest, who lived during the third century AD of the Roman Empire. When Claudius II deicded that single men made for better soldiers than those with family, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine was outraged by this injustice and secretly continued to perform marriages for young lovers. When he was discovered he was jailed and eventually killed. Other versions of the story suggested that while Valentine was in jail he sent a letter to the young daughter of his jailor, who often visited him just before his death and signed it – “from your Valentine”.

Obviously we only have mythical versions of the truth here, but it is abundantly clear that in all versions of the story he is a hero sympathetic to romance and a champion of love. This reputation made him one of the most popular saints in England and France.

The actual day of February 14 is often believed to commemorate his death (in about 270 AD) though perhaps it was an attempt to overthrow the pagan celebration of Lupercalia with one that celebrated a Christian saint.

Either way, the two clearly became a little muddled into a celebration of love. The day was a success, people loved a day to celebrate romance the idea of sending cards took hold very quickly. The earliest recorded Valentine that is still in existence is a poem written by the Duke of Orleans in 1415 to his wife.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the western world, though it is most popular in the United Kingdom and the United States. When printed cards became available after the 1900s ready made love notes became a popular token of affection. It offered the ability to remain incognito in case one was afraid of rejection.

This has grown into a billion dollar industry with cards often accompanying gifts, flowers, chocolates and romantic experiences. Valentine’s gifts are, however, usually characterised by a couple of factors. They aren’t large or necessarily expensive, but they do signify love and luxury. They are often red in colour or are wrapped and decorated in red, to signify the heart. And finally, Valentine’s gifts are rarely useful, everyday items. They are items associated with love, relaxation, romance and togetherness – which is probably why the holiday continues to grow in popularity across the world.

My personal view is that Valentine's Day gifts should not be expensive and all I hope for is a beautiful bunch of flowers (heaven help him if he forgets) and a glass of wine. And my advice those of you in a relationship (or maybe teetering on the edge of one) make sure you remember the 14th of February!  If you are thinking of a beautiful candle you can explore here.  A hint though - my best sellers for men are Golden Amber and White Tea.


January 26, 2021 — Judith Bruce