“Today is Valentine’s Day, or as men like to call it, Extortion Day.” Jay Leno
I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that my husband and I don’t really “do” Valentine’s Day. We usually get something for the kids, a small box of chocolates or an inexpensive gift. As a rule, I love any excuse to holiday and buy gifts. Valentine’s Day is just not a holiday I’ve ever been able to get behind or support. Truth be told, it kinda makes me rage.
So why am I writing a blog post about it? Good question. Call me a masochist I suppose (I’ve been binge watching Criminal Minds, and as a result have found myself interjecting profiling terms in every day conversation…I caught myself using narcissistic the other day, and no, I wasn’t talking about my husband 😉 ).
Today’s post is a part of a series from “Blog With Friends”, which is a collaborative effort. Each month, a group of bloggers publish a project based upon a specific theme or idea. The projects are diverse, special and unique to each blogger, every month is different. The theme for February is Romance. You can find the links to the other bloggers and their projects listed at end of this post.
Initially, I wanted to write a book review. Reading is a major hobby of mine, but I had a difficult time finding the “perfect” book and then worried that even if I found it, I wouldn’t have enough time to read it.
I was running out of time.
I’m not particularly crafty. I can’t cook or bake. I can’t even sew on a button. But as I mentioned before, I do like to holiday and buy gifts. An idea was born… Gifts! Gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, specifically non-food related. I can do this!
If you’ve read previous blog posts, then you know that I have lost almost 80 pounds and looking to lose about 70 more pounds. Holidays and times of celebration are difficult for me because they usually center around food. Valentine’s Day is certainly no exception.
Here are some fun Valentine’s Day facts for you (courtesy of stvalentinesday.org):
- More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day each year
- Approximately 8 billion candy hearts will be produced
- On average, men spend $130 each on candy, cards, flowers, dates and jewelry. That is more than double what women spend.
- About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year, 2nd only to Christmas
- Worldwide, over 50 million roses are given each year (most will be imported from South America)
Between Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day, I would venture to guess that most New Year Resolutions are broken or severed, nothing but a mere memory until next December 31st.
Speaking of broke, at this point, we are still recovering from Christmas. The thought of spending an average of $130 per person on gifts for Valentine’s Day just seems ridiculous to me. Personally, I think there are a thousand FREE ways to show someone you love them throughout the year, and will probably mean much more to your significant other than a box of chocolates or a dozen red roses on a big business designed and fabricated holiday.
However, I promised non-food gift ideas, so non-food gift ideas you shall receive. I did not say they would be good ideas though, so reader beware.
According to the History Channel, Valentine’s Day may attribute its beginning roots to the Pagan Festival “Lupercalia”. During this fertility festival, goats would be sacrificed (along with dogs for purification) by the priests. The hides of the goats were made into strips and dipped in blood. These bloody goat hide strips would be taken to the streets and used to gently slap women. The women of this time believed that the touch of the goat hides would make them more fertile in the coming year.
I wouldn’t recommend slapping your significant other with bloody goat hide strips but there are several organizations, like heifer.org where you could gift a goat in the name of your beloved, these donations help feed children, empower women and families or provide goods and services, like medical supplies or education. The gift would have historical significance and practical application, a gift that truly keeps on giving. Not as romantic perhaps as having a star named after you, but the impact such a gift makes on the lives of others is worthy of consideration.
Charles, the Duke of Orleans, wrote a poem to his wife in 1415 while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It’s credited with being the 1st hand written valentine. I think love letters or poems make excellent gifts. I wouldn’t model the poem Charles wrote for his wife, it was a bit dark and melancholy, might not quite set the romantic tone, I mean he was imprisoned at the time. There is no cost to this gift idea. It’s a great way to celebrate all the things you love, respect and admire about your beloved and a gift they will keep forever, passing down to future generations, a time capsule of your relationship. There are some very famous love letters if you need inspiration:
- Napoleon to Josephine
- Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor
- Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning
- Beethoven to his Immortal Beloved
- Winston Churchill to Clementine
- Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas
- Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash
- Abigail Adams to John Adams
- Gerald Ford to Betty Ford
Just to name a few…
It is considered lucky to be woken on Valentine’s Day with a kiss. You could surprise your beloved with a day of pampering. His/her massages and/or pedicures. Fill a bathtub with coconut oil and drops of lavender, light some candles, play some music. Use this day to remind you both that relationships must be intentionally cultivated. Set aside time for quiet togetherness, reading or watching a movie you’ve both wanted to see. Play a game. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are shared. Shared experiences create memories which last a lifetime.
You could make a video valentine for your love, like this one:
Screams romance doesn’t it? Or something… Seriously though, I love those Snapchat filters, they provide hours of entertainment for me. I’m not sure my husband would agree though…
You could explore how other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day. Use their traditions or customs to make your own. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean romantic love, you could include kids, family and/or friends.
My motto this year is “The Family That Works Out Together, Stays Together.” There are St. Valentines themed races in almost every major city, spend the day as a family walking/running a 5k or a 10k if you’re feeling ambitious. Take a walk or hike, explore nature. Ice skating is a fun family activity if nature is still hidden under snow in your neck of the woods. Check out local events in your area, most cities have plenty of weekend ideas and activities for the whole family, friends and couples. Many museums have Valentine’s Day themed art exhibits. Many of these events are offered free of charge to the general public.
My favorite products are the ones you can buy that benefit charities, for example:
- MiiR BPA free water bottles – $1 from every bottle purchased provides one person in need with clean drinking water for one year.
- UNICEF Market sells a variety of gifts, clothing, jewelry and more to benefit children in need.
- Stone & Cloth sells totes, backpacks, iPad cases and journals supporting education for children living in impoverished conditions.
- Shopping For A Change is a global marketplace that benefits the artisans themselves, mostly women from economically disadvantaged regions.
- Peacekeeper Cause-Metics donates all distributable profits to women’s rights and health issues.
- Kiehl’s gives back to local communities and charities that fund HIV/AIDS education and research, well-being of children and environmental stewardship.
There are so many philanthropic companies out there producing and selling a variety of products, home goods and services, I can’t possibly list them all here. With a little research, I’m sure the perfect gift could be found with the added benefit of helping others.
Being thoughtful and romantic doesn’t have to cost money, and I don’t know about you, but it’s usually the gifts my kids and husband made for me that are the most memorable and treasured.
If Valentine’s Day is something you celebrate and gifts are expected, be creative, be thoughtful, be romantic. Decide what those aspects mean to you and your significant other and plan accordingly. Roses, candy and a card might be traditional and customary, but this year try and think outside the box (of chocolates), really think about what your significant other would enjoy. Maybe it’s as simple as a clean house, a quiet day or an extra hour of sleep. Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to show your beloved that you pay attention, that you listen and whatever you decide to do or give should reflect that knowledge and awareness.
DISCLAIMER FOR MEN: Just because she says she wants to work out more, doesn’t mean you go out and buy her a fitbit or gym membership, unless she EXPRESSLY asks for it. Don’t buy her a mop because you noticed the other one is ratty and torn. Don’t buy her kitchenware unless she specifically requested such an item. These examples are NOT the kind of knowledge and awareness I’m talking about. If all else fails, call in reinforcements and ask for help. Or it could be a very dark and melancholy Valentine’s Day indeed.
DISCLAIMER FOR WOMEN: Just kidding, we don’t need disclaimers 😛
I tried to keep my ideas gender neutral, applicable to both men and women. This is probably the worst gift guide ever but hopefully I inspired at least some of you, if not inspired then perhaps you learned something you didn’t know before.
“If you only have one smile in you give it to the people you love.” Maya Angelou
Hug someone you love today ❤
The theme is romance, enjoy my other blogger friends and their individual projects.