You better be, because the onslaught of hearts and flowers is just around the corner and Valentine’s Day is an annual celebration of love that refuses to be ignored. A little inspiration for your Valentines gift ideas.
For those of us who need an appointment to feel romantic, our annual date with love is nearly upon us. As the 14th of February rapidly approaches you’re either feeling a mild sense of panic or all gooey inside at the prospect of receiving anonymous love notes, hand delivered flowers and boxes of delicious chocolates. Of course if you’re lucky enough to have a significant other in your life, you should be guaranteed a champagne-fuelled candle-lit dinner with the bonus, if you’re lucky, of a romantic stroll before the real Valentine action starts!
Saccharine sweet Valentine paraphernalia
Well that’s what those Valentine’s Day pushers, I mean marketeers, would have us believe, attempt to do any shopping in the run up to Valentine’s Day and you soon realise there’s ‘no romance, without finance’. Supermarkets, card shops, online retailers et al, have become so slick at the art of selling love, its’ pretty hard not to be seduced by the heavy petting promotion of saccharine sweet Valentine paraphernalia.
Take a more cerebral approach
Perhaps that’s why some people choose to take a cynical distance from the commercial hit of Valentine’s Day, refusing to be pulled into the shop-bought red bubble of love. Others, however, don’t ignore it completely, they just choose to keep a safe distance from anything that has a price attached, preferring to take a more cerebral approach focusing on the tradition and the history that led us to this massive lovefest we call Valentine’s Day.
We all know Valentine’s Day to fall on the 14th of February, but it hasn’t always been this way. There are a number of legends associated with Valentine and the religious and pagan origin.
Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century AD, can be found in an eclectic mix of legends. One of the most famous tales is a Christian legend that recalls the reign of the Roman Emperor, Claudius Caesar II. This monarch, commonly known as Claudius Gothicus liked war and often orchestrated events that would lead to battle.
Engagements and marriages banned
However his Roman subjects did not share his enthusiasm for conflict and many did not want to join the army. For Claudius, the reason was simple: they did not want to leave their wives and friends. With this in mind the emperor banned all engagements and marriages throughout Rome. Despite the emperor’s edict the Roman priest and physician Valentine secretly helped arrange and conduct the weddings of many couples. When Claudius discovered that Valentine, albeit in the name of love, dared disobey him, he had Valentine arrested and sentenced to death.
The final love note
The execution took place on the 14th of February in the year 296. Valentine proved to be a man of God who put love first, a sentiment that stayed with him, till the end. Before his death Valentine wrote a love letter to the love of his life, his beloved woman took receipt of the love note, after he had been executed, thus creating the tradition of Valentine’s wishes and cards.
Another popular legend also places the origin of Valentine’s Day in ancient Rome and casts Valentine as a virtuous, honourable and wise man. The Roman Emperor is said to of heard of his wisdom and invited him to his palace to meet him. Valentine however felt he could not become the emperor’s friend, as it appears he was strictly moderated by strong superstitions, that warned him against any close association with the Emperor. So rather than keep company with his eminence, he chose to stay at the military commander Astoria’s home instead.
Love is blind
The commander had a beautiful blind daughter whom Valentine immediately fell in love with. Astorius longed for his daughter’s eyesight to be restored and asked Valentine to pray for a miracle. When the girl’s sight returned, the whole of Rome was talking about the miraculous healing. Unfortunately the city’s pagan people refused to believe in the miracle and stormed into the commander’s home, pulled Valentine out and dragged him out to the city fields, where he was summarily executed with a sword. After his untimely death Valentine was venerated, becoming St. Valentine, the patron of faithfulness and pure and devoted love.
Global Valentine’s Day celebrations
In the United States of America, the Feast of St. Valentine as it is known, has a long tradition. Early Valentine cards were first produced back in the early 19th century, these creations were beautifully painted by hand on paper specially imported from overseas and were decorated with ornaments, beads, sea shells or dried flowers.
Lover’s pulled out of a hat
In England, a popular legend prevailed that on the 14th of February birds, especially pigeons and swans, chose their partners for life. Whilst in Scotland, each year a festival is organized which features young people writing their desired lover’s name on a piece of paper and placing the paper in a hat. Names are then pulled out of the hat and the selector then dances with the selected person the next evening. Another Scottish tradition suggests the first person you bump into on Valentine’s Day will become your lover. One can’t help feeling that’s a tradition that could be a little awkward. So my advice – watch where you’re going on Valentine’s Day
When did you last profess your love to your partner?
Come on hand on heart, when was the last time you told your partner that you love them? Or gave them a hug or some warm words just to comfort him? When we have a lovely new relationship with someone, whilst the love is still exciting and new, its easy to be thoughtful, romantic and spontaneous, but before we know it we’ve turned the autopilot on in our relationship and just take it for granted that the relationship will last forever. No effort required.
Slow down and focus on love
After all, there are so many more important things to deal with… work deadlines, children, shopping, housework, maybe the gym or hobbies if you’re lucky… who has time to stop for love.
So even it’s for one day, we should slow down for a moment or two to focus on matters of the heart. So embrace the romance in the air and share some love with the one you’re with. After all love makes the world go round, do your bit to keep it spinning.
Want to know what I like most about you?
Here’s an idea that’s sweet and flirtatious and perfect for all of us, even the singletons amongst us. We all have people around us who we care about or secretly fancy. So how about injecting a little saucy banter into your Valentine’s Day. Have you thought about sending a text message boldly declaring ‘You know what I like best about you?’ Don’t even wait for a response, just tell them. What’s certain is you’ll make the lucky recipient feel really chuffed. So seize the opportunity and celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little audacity.
Greeting cards or creative gifts?
So we’re bombarded with choices come Valentine’s Day, so what do you buy the one you love, want to love or just fancy a bit. It’s great to surprise someone with a romantic gesture, but its also lovely to put a little thought into your gift and capture the essence of a relationship through a photo montage, a stunning painting on canvas, edited video clips or perhaps a collection of meaningful songs, a self-penned poem or perhaps a loved-up extract from a favourite poet.
Be romantic and creative
A handwritten expression of love is always beautiful and obviously unique. And a box of chocolates will rarely be rejected. Make it your day, design it with you and your object of affection in mind. Be romantic, creative, challenging, interesting and quirky… huge amounts of money don’t need to be spent, as long as you’re in tune with the person you’re thinking of, you’ll be alright. If you are still lost, maybe you could find some help for your valentines gift ideas in our online gift shop. You can also use your special coupon code. Happy gift hunting.
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