Valentine’s Day can be an incredibly stressful time. With so many spoken and unspoken expectations and demands from companions, the task can be a little exhausting. As if that wasn’t enough, the challenge of standing out from the crowd has to be accomplished as well. Many would like to say that Valentine’s Day is not a competition. However, if your gift is sub-standard and “lackluster,” you can find your companion’s eyes wandering over to other individuals’ gifts, wondering why theirs are better.
Fact One: Candy Is More Common Than You May Know
This treat is definitely one of the commonly purchased gifts during the season. Actually, according to a Valentine’s Day report from the United States Census Bureau, candy is the most bought gift during the love holiday. In 2011, the total value of chocolate and cocoa products approximated to 13.5 billion dollars — staggering numbers. This excludes the amount of non-chocolate and non-cocoa candies.
However, those totals were approximately $8.4 billion. That’s a lot of sweets, and they are gifts that everyone else seemed to get as well. Can you guess what kind? Predominantly, they are Sweetheart candies — 13 million pounds of them, according to an article from the Smithsonian.
“More than eight billion (some 13 million pounds) of the little hearts are sold in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts make up 40 percent of the Valentine candy market, just behind chocolate.”
In case you’re wondering about these candies, they’re the pieces that have sweet, little writings on them.
“Original mottos from the candy’s first appearance in 1902, such as ‘Be Mine,’ ‘Be True’ and ‘Kiss Me,’ remain very popular. Such classic romantic phrases haven’t changed in more than a century, but others have come and gone.
“In some ways, Sweethearts are tiny time capsules of trendy lingo of days gone by: ‘Dig me’ ‘Hep Cat’ and ‘Fax Me’ have all made appearances in the past 20 years, only to bite the sugary dust. Current missives reflect the language of popular culture and Internet jargon: ‘You Rock,’ ‘Text Me,’ ‘Me & U.'”
Aimee Scott, marketing director for the company that makes these candies — Necco — states: “We try to adjust and change, keeping current with the times.”
Obviously, that seems to be true — as can be seen by “Tweet Me.”
Fact Two: Flowers Are Too
Why is it that flowers are presented during Valentine’s Day? One would think your companion has all year long to receive and sniff flowers. It’s a custom that happens without people actually doing research to find out “why,” as are so many other things, right?
According to Dr. Leonard Perry, from the University of Vermont, flower-giving is a recent custom — not necessarily one of the romantic period.
“St. Valentine’s Day, which has its origins in the pagan festival of Lupercalia, is recognized in England, France, Austria, Germany, and the United States. Although the custom of sending romantic cards to suitors began in the early part of the nineteenth century, flowers are a more recent custom, not from any ancient belief or tradition. Originally, just men gave women flowers. In more recent decades, women have given flowers to their true loves on St. Valentine’s Day.”
This is by no means intended to damper your spirits about Valentine’s Day. However, it should be mentioned that, during Valentine’s day, 2011, the flower industry generated approximately $280 million. Yes, that is only for the holiday, itself. So, everyone’s getting flowers as well — roses to be specific.
However, if you must get flowers, possibly branch out and go away from the norm. This applies only if your companion doesn’t prefer roses.
In an article from the University of Nebraska, alternatives are offered.
“There are many different plants that can be made into a Valentine’s Day arrangement to surprise your sweetheart, friend, or mom with.
“For houseplant choices, pick Orchid, Bromeliad, Kalanchoe, Gerber Daisy, Amaryllis, and Cyclamen. These all have beautiful flowers that can be found in many different colors. During the summer these can be placed outside to add to your landscape, but you don’t want to leave them outside during the winter as they will not overwinter.
“Gerber Daisies are a favorite of many as they can be found in a lot of different colors, many of them are very bright and unusual flower colors. I had a Kalanchoe and they are very pretty with clusters of small flowers typically in shades of red or pink. Bromeliads need to be planted in well-drained soil or they will get root rot and die.”
If you don’t mind the extra care, these are just a few ideas.
So, if you want to try something different this year, you possibly won’t have much competition. You could explain to your companion why and show the facts. If you want some different Valentine’s Day ideas, there are other articles you can read as well.
[Feature Image via Getty Images]