Other than Christmas and birthdays, one of the most popular gift giving days is Valentine’s Day. However, unlike those other two occasions, gifts on Valentine’s Day tend to be romantic. So while electronics, household items, or clothes are prominent gifts at Christmas, they are less common for Valentine’s Day. Some of the most popular gifts for Valentine’s are flowers, jewelry, chocolates or candies, perfume or cologne, and personalized items.
The other major category of Valentine’s Day gifts is experiential. Experiential gifts offer the chance to build memories through activities. Eating at an expensive or romantic restaurant is one common way to celebrate. Increasingly, people are giving experiential gifts on Valentine’s Day to be enjoyed at a later date. This may be a spa treatment to be enjoyed individually, or it can be a shared cruise or wine tasting.
Besides Valentine’s Day gifts, the other important tradition is cards, or “valentines.” The Greeting Card Association states that approximately 190 million greeting cards are sent for Valentine’s Day each year in the United States. It is the second most popular holiday for sending cards, after Christmas. It is believed that one-quarter of the greeting cards sent throughout the year are sent for Valentine’s Day. A large number of those valentines, perhaps as many as half, are sent to parents or children.
Purchased greeting cards are not the only kinds of valentines, however. In schools, children will very often make their own valentines to give out to classmates and teachers. The past decade has also seen the rise of the electronic card on the Internet, including the electronic valentine. So are these e-cards replacing traditional paper greeting cards? The Greeting Card Association claims that few people are replacing greeting cards with e-cards, and that e-cards are mainly supplemental gifts to new recipients. There were about 15 million e-cards sent for Valentine’s Day in 2010. Overall, it is estimated that when all of the different types of cards (greeting, homemade, electronic) are combined, over one billion valentines are given in the U.S. each year.