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Finding that special gift for your loved one can be quite taxing when it comes to Valentine’s Day. The shops are full with so many options it’s difficult to know exactly where to start. Your girlfriend, wife or partner is likely not the easiest person to buy for, which makes finding a special Valentine’s present even more of a challenge. You can bet your bottom dollar that she will have spent weeks before mulling over the various choices, and teasing herself over what you will choose. Valentine’s Day gift buying isn’t actually as hard as you might think. You just need to keep in mind some of the little details, and your gift shopping will be a piece of cake.
One great tip is to keep your ears and eyes open for a few weeks before the big day. Chances are your significant other half will be dropping hints left, right and centre. Keep your ears close to the ground and your efforts will be appreciated.
How Did Valentine’s Day Come About?
The Festival of St Valentine’s is celebrated right across the globe, on 14th February every year. While the modern celebration may take different forms, the underlying factor is that it is a day on which love is recognised in all its different forms. Valentine’s greetings are exchanged with parents, friends, siblings and teachers, not just sweethearts. The most common way to express your feelings is with a card, flowers and chocolate.
Has it always been this way? Most definitely not, and the actual origins of the day are a little ambiguous. So let’s look at some of the different variations on the Valentine’s Day story.
The Feast of Lupercalia One school of thought lays the origins of today’s Valentine’s celebration at the door of a pagan fertility festival, that took place in Rome. The feast took place every year at the middle of February, and involved the young men picking the name of a young woman via a lottery system and they would be their mate for the next year. It so happened that many of these couples actually fell in love and subsequently married.
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The Legends of Saint Valentine of Rome
There are several saints that are deemed to have an association with Valentine’s Day, but one of the most popular legends tells of a Roman priest Valentine or Valentinus. He was alive during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was known for involving Rome in a few bloody and unpopular campaigns. This meant that he was constantly recruiting new soldiers, and unsurprisingly many men with families were unwilling to join the army. Claudius, in his wisdom, therefore made marriage unlawful, in order to ensure a ready supply of eager new soldiers. Valentine felt that this law was unfair, so continued to marry couples in secret. When Claudius found out the priest was but behind bars, and finally executed on February 14th, round about 270 AD. After his death the priest was named as a saint.
During the Middle Ages St Valentine became the patron saint for lovers and love, in England and France. Some say that February 14th is linked to romance because it was thought that this was the day that birds began their search for a mate.
In 470 AD, the Feast of Lupercalia was considered to be too un-Christian, and the then Pope Galasius, decided to put an end to the pagan celebration, by declaring 14th February St Valentine’s Day.
The First Valentine’s Day Card
Following his capture in 1415, during the Battle of Agincourt, Charles – Duke of Orlean, wrote his wife a valentine, while imprisoned in the Tower of London. Thought to be the first and oldest existing Valentine card, his wife unfortunately died before receiving it. The manuscript is today housed in a collection at the British Library. During his imprisonment Charles wrote his wife over 60 love poems, thought by many to be the first “valentines”.
By the 16th century and onward into the 18th century, Valentine’s Day cards became increasingly popular, and began to be manufactured on an industrial scale. Improvements in printing technology and cheaper postal charges meant that this form of Valentine’s greeting was more affordable for the average man on the street.
Valentine’s Day – Present Day
Valentine’s Day is now big business for shops and retailers right across the globe. For weeks before the day of the celebration stores are decked out with trinkets, symbols, balloons, hearts and flowers, to entice would be gift hunters to their doors. Such a shame that modern marketing trends for pressurising consumers are putting many couples off celebrating such an important occasion. But on the flip side, commercial intervention has also opened up the day, and the modern trend is to celebrate love in its many different forms. Not just between sweethearts or married couples, but friends, work mates, teachers, parents and grandparents too.
Valentine’s Day Ideas for Her That You Might Enjoy Too
Well guys, whether you’ve found yourself at this website with plenty of time to spare before the big V Day, or it’s just around the corner, you’ll be pleased to know you’ve come to the right place. Your beloved might be feigning a complete lack of interest in the whole idea of something special for Valentine’s, but appearances can be very deceiving. Misreading the signals and doing nothing at all will only lead you into hot water. So let’s give you a hand with your impending celebrations, and give you a few helpful hints and tips to make the next Valentine’s Day a romantic one that she’ll remember. And hopefully you will too.
First tip – try and find something other than flowers and chocolates, because you’ve probably been there, done that and got the t-shirt, many times over. Be a bit more original this year and you’ll earn yourself enough brownie points to keep you in her good books for a few months at least. But it’s not all about her, because you’ll be wanting to have some fun too. Why not try one of the following….
A Dance Class or Two
You might think you’ve got two left feet, but under the careful and sympathetic instruction of a dance instructor, you might surprise yourself and your partner. Some of the easiest dance steps can be very romantic, and there’s nothing wrong with getting up close and personal with the one you love, as long as you don’t step on her toes too often.
A Cooking Class for Two
When you’re looking for unique Valentine’s gifts for her, ideas are a plenty so how about trying something you’re both going to like. Eating is a pleasure for most people and unless your profession is a full time chef, there’s little denying that you could do with some culinary tuition. You can probably find someone locally that can offer tuition for the pair of you, and then take what you’ve learnt home and practise on each other.
A Hotel Room for the Night
Nothing is better at sparking some romance than a night away from it all somewhere new. While you lounge on those cool, white cotton bed sheets, open the window and listen to the sounds of the city, or the nocturnal sounds of the wildlife, and enjoy a glass of champagne or two.
Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day for Her That Don’t Involve Going Out
You don’t always have to go out to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Some of the best celebrations can be had right in your own home. Besides, many of the best restaurants and hotels are booked up months, even years in advance, and their prices for this one day of the year can sometimes skyrocket. Buck the trend this year and spend the evening at home with your loved one. Romance can be created with just a few simple thoughts and gestures. For example:
- Order dinner in, and have it all waiting on the table when she gets home. Recreate the atmosphere of a restaurant with silverware, napkins, tablecloth, romantic lighting and music.
- Spark up the fire. Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one, and lay out some cushions, pillows and blankets, and open a bottle of wine you can share while enjoying the glow of the flames. You could even have a little picnic.
- Run her a bath, and pimp up the bathroom with scented candles, flowers, and fluffy warm towels. Adding a glass of champagne and offering to scrub her back will add to the moment.
- Breakfast in bed may be a bit old hat, but will nevertheless get the day off to a pretty good start. Get up early, before the alarm goes off and surprise her with her favourite breakfast fare. Freshly made coffee, pot of tea, cinnamon muffins, croissants – whatever will tickle her taste buds most. Why not add a single red rose for added effect?
- Try glamping in your own bedroom. A new trend has hit the world of camping, and the perfect place to try it is in your very own home. Create your own tent space by draping some colourful material, and fill the inside with cushions and pillows. Gather together a few tasty treats, and share a bottle of wine. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous why not take it all outside into your garden? All the pleasures of being outside, with the comfortable facilities of your own home.
- Organise your own treasure hunt. With yourself of course as the prize. Start the hunt off at the front door, and leave little clues for her to follow throughout the house. X will mark the spot, for you to be found holding a special gift or sweet gesture.
What’s A Perfect Valentine Gift for Her?
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Alternative Ideas for Valentine’s Day for Her
This upcoming Valentine’s Day why not do something completely different than the usual chocolates and flowers? Take your wife or girlfriend away on holiday. Get away from the normal druggery of your regular routines, and book a trip to one of the many romantic cities, dotted all over the world. By organising a vacation to one of the following cities, you’ll be giving one of the best Valentine’s day gifts for her.
As long as you’re with the right person, pretty much anywhere in the world can be romantic, but there are certain destinations that have a certain magic about them. Beautiful castles and landscapes, quaint cafes, unspoilt beaches and forests, places that time seems to have forgotten. Your choice will really depend on your own personal taste, but we think we’ve found places that have got something for everyone.
- St Augustine, Florida – One of the oldest towns in the US, this spot has old Spanish charm, spectacular views, and a wacky atmosphere.
- Paso Robles, California – Whether you’re into a bit of outdoor recreation, or wine tasting is more your thing, the rolling hills and friendly natives make this a perfect spot for a romantic getaway.
- San Sebastian, Spain – 19th century architecture, top quality dining and a beautiful urban beach make this city a must visit place for all you romantics. Famous celebrities have visited here, including Brad Pitt and Elizabeth Taylor.
- Galway, Ireland – Open fires in traditional Irish pubs, with warm atmospheres and friendly people, make this city in the West of Ireland a good base for exploring the country. Enjoy sunsets over Galway Bay, and drives through rugged countryside, with your lover at your side.
- Lake Como, Italy – Follow in the footsteps of George Clooney, the famous holiday actor, who found love on the banks of Lake Como. Relax and enjoy the company of your beloved, while soaking up the sights and sounds of this most beautiful spot.