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The UK is terrible at buying Valentine’s presents and how we can fix it

24th January 2020

valentine rejection

Madonna once said, “To be brave is to love someone unconditionally, without expecting anything in return” – tell that to the person who got an Oxo cube as a valentine’s day present.

A survey conducted by GB Posters asked the UK “what’s the worst valentine’s gift you’ve ever been given?” and the results were shocking. A whopping 67% of people surveyed said that their worst valentines’ gift was… nothing. And they say love is dead.

Due to what can only be described as a distinct lack of imagination, the list of truly terrible gifts falls mostly into four key categories: food, flowers, household items and just plain insulting.

Food items include the usual chocolate and sweets but also some more exotic choices, like: a tin of beans; a bag of salad; pickles, a sausage; and some edible pants.

The plant-based gifts on this list appear far from the bouquets you see clutched by hopeful suitors in typical romantic comedies. Instead, surveyed members received, among other things: dead tulips; a Christmas tree; and a bunch of plastic flowers complete with garden gnome.

Nothing says passionate love like household items such as a bread bin, an ironing board, a shed and a bottle of fairy liquid. You could argue that a Homer Simpson car freshener is at least an original choice, if far from romantic.

And then there’s the just the plain insulting list: a diet book; deodorant; an abs machine; and a locket containing a picture of their partner with another man.

valentine's day gift chocolates

How to nail it and choose the right gift

Gemini Ferrier, relationship coach, explains the most common mistakes people make when buying gifts for their partners is buying “something generic” or “out of obligation”. This already puts a negative spin on gift giving, and is unlikely to end well. You should want to buy your partner a gift, and if you don’t, ask yourself why. Gift giving isn’t necessarily for everyone, but you should check with your partner first!

To get a gift your partner will truly love, Gemini suggests asking yourself “how you can make your partner feel special, seen, loved, admired, etc.”. And to do this, “pay close attention to things your partner says in passing about what they want or need”.

This requires a bit of forethought and preparation (as well as being a good listener) but it’s better than last-minute flowers from the off-licence, both in terms of their expectations and how you see yourself as a loving partner.

This isn’t to say any of these gifts need to expensive, as Gemini explains: “If someone gifts you a very inexpensive gift but it has deep significance to you or your relationship, then the price tends to not matter because there’s a clear thoughtfulness and care put into it.”

This isn’t to say any of these gifts need to expensive, as Gemini explains: “If someone gifts you a very inexpensive gift but it has deep significance to you or your relationship, then the price tends to not matter because there’s a clear thoughtfulness and care put into it.”

While it seems a lot of people struggle when gift-giving, it doesn’t need to be as hard as you think. With a little bit of preparation and listening, you could end up with a list of gifts that will put you in the good books for all major gift-giving events of the year.

valentine couple