A guide to Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or somewhere in between, Valentines Day can often be something of a double-edged sword. Few really understand it and yet we all feel forced to acknowledge it in some way, even if it’s only via a shop bought card. However, despite the fact that the cynical are keen to highlight that this ‘event’ was essentially created by a greetings card company to make money, it has taken on something of a mythical importance, introducing love, fantasy and flowers at a rather dark time of year. But what is Valentines Day really all about? Here are seven facts about this most romantic of days to help you get a handle on it…

1. Valentines Day isn’t all about the girls. Although women are the biggest recipients of cards on V Day, they are also the biggest senders. According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association women buy around 85% of Valentines Day cards. So come on men, help even that one out!

2. It’s not just about the cards though is it – there’s the flowers, the dinner, the chocolates and (depending on your Valentine) all sorts of other options, from designer shoes to underwear. In 2013, Rakuten’s Play.com estimated that Brits were some of the biggest spenders in Europe, with the average UK spend amounting to £119, whilst the Germans spent ‘only’ £59. Looks like home is where the heart is after all!

3. For some people, getting something on Valentines Day is really important, which is why 75% of single women admitted in a survey by Date.com to having mailed themselves a Valentines Day card. 80% had even sent themselves flowers. The 85% makes more sense now.

4. Most people have mixed feelings about Valentines Day gifts that don’t cost anything at all. On the one hand you have the ‘Valentines Day text’ or e-card, which are basically felt to be worthless if not backed up by something more tangible. On the other hand you have the love poem, the love letter or the love song, which are probably more effective than a million Interflora romance bouquets. “Hav a gr8 day” might not be what your valentine had in mind…

5. Unsurprisingly, roses make up the majority of bouquets on Valentines Day, but why? Well they are the favourite flower of none other than Venus, the Roman goddess of love, so they’re a pretty safe bet as a love token – just don’t buy them from a garage (an ex of mine went one step further by pinching a pot plant from a garage)!

6. Whilst Valentines Day has gained a reputation as being the most successful annual event for greetings card companies it actually comes in second behind Christmas. Perhaps because you wouldn’t send a Valentines card to your Dad?

7. The origins of Valentines Day are not particularly clear but it is thought that it hails from Roman times. One theory is that, in an attempt to shore up his army Roman Emperor Claudius II decreed that young men couldn’t marry, but St Valentine performed marriages in secret (and was then executed for it). The other is that it was traditionally a day when young Roman males stripped and spanked local young women under the dubious excuse of upping their fertility – very romantic!

Whatever your thoughts on Valentines Day, it is just around the corner. So, for the next 48 hours expect your Twitter feed, inbox and Facebook pages to be full of nothing but love, love, love….oh and if you need some social media tips to get you started drop us a line…

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