Valentine’s Day – On its origins and original gift ideas

Valentine’s Day! The day of love! Or, as my university friends and I cynically dubbed it one year, Singles Awareness Day, as in the day you are most aware that you are single. But where does this day come from? Why do we celebrate it? And most importantly, how do we come up with original gift ideas to show our love and appreciation? Because like it or not, if you’re in a relationship, something is going to have to be bought, so it might as well be something different.

As one of my all-time favourite poets, Carol Ann Duffy, says in her poem Valentine: “Not a red rose, or a satin heart/I give you an onion.” It’s a very *ahem* layered poem. But before you go rushing out to buy an onion, let’s look at why you are buying gifts in the first place.

Valentine's Day, gift ideas, origins of Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day ideas

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The origins of Valentine’s Day

It began as Lupercalia – a pagan fertility festival (where a rite was performed and strips of goat’s hide were dipped in blood and used to smack fields and women: you know, so they could be fertile).

Not quite what you were expecting, huh? Anyway, fast forward into a new age and the day is now known for honouring St. Valentine, though no one is sure which one, and neither of them is linked to romance. Apparently, we have English poet Chaucer to thank for romance being linked to Valentine’s Day, and the Victorians to thank for that romance being linked to gift giving; but hey, it’s all mythical and relative, right?

The point is, it’s the 14th of February and you have to show someone how much you love them by buying them something, and thankfully, not by smacking them with strips of goat hide. So, now that that’s cleared up, what can you do for your loved one?

Valentine’s Day ideas

First: For all my Single Awareness peeps out there, why not treat yo’self? It’s a day about love, it says nothing about it not being able to be self-love! #empowerment #selfcare #spatreatment Totes worth it! Remind yourself of what you love about yourself!

Valentine's Day, gift ideas, origins of Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day ideas

Now, in terms of gift ideas, for those who are in a relationship, surely the regular springs to mind, but as with the onion (it’s a metaphor for a deep, layered relationship, okay?), why not give your special someone something beyond the stereotypical “cute card or kissogram”, and make it something special that shows that you know them.

Is your beloved a book lover? Or adores antiques? Does their heart skip a beat when a classic car goes by?

You know that old adage, “It’s the thought that counts”? Well, that’s true! Your gift should be thought out, not a last-minute, half-wilted rose you paid a small fortune for. What about a carefully selected bouquet of flowers that she actually likes and won’t cost you an arm and a leg? Always wanted to sing? What about singing lessons? Valentine’s Day is not about flowers, chocolates, and fancy dinners, it’s about love (or, at least now it is; RIP goats). Let that show in the gift you choose to give.

Valentine's Day, gift ideas, origins of Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day ideas

Show your beloved that you see them, know them, and that, if this were another time, you’d totally smack them with a strip of goat hide.

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Valentine’s Day – On its origins and original gift ideas
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Valentine’s Day – On its origins and original gift ideas
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Valentine’s Day! The Day of Love! Or to some, Singles Awareness Day. But where does this day come from? Why do we celebrate it? And most importantly, how do we come up with original gift ideas?
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Janka Steenkamp

Janka is a lover of words, photography, coffee, and has been known to fall into a book or two and not come out for days. She is currently exploring the world in search of meaning, and the best cheese and wine pairing.

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