I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day which always seems so commercial and forced. When I was living in Japan, I learned about “White Day” which is even more commercial and forced having been invented in 1978 by a Japanese confectionary company. The distinction is very simple — on Valentine’s Day, women give chocolate to the men in their life and the men reciprocate on White Day. White Day falls exactly a month after Valentine’s Day on March 14. The Japanese also have a custom of ‘giri‘ chocolate, or chocolate you are obliged to give a man as an act of courtesy, such as to your male boss. In this case, the valentine gift is not about romantic love but more about showing liking and respect.
I’m good with showing affection and respect, especially if it involves something useful and cool, and, after all, I have shopaholic tendencies. Not that I have any issues with chocolate, mind you. I’ve chosen a handful of non-traditional items I think are cool valentines gifts for the non-sappy amongst you.
What is my heart’s desire? I love the red version of this iconic Egg Chair and Footstool designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958 for the SAS Royal Hotel, the first skyscraper in Copenhagen. Available through Conran Shop, the chair isn’t cheap but it’s a design classic. Go big or go home!
I also like these options for a charming small gift – less impact than an Egg Chair but still shows style and thoughtfulness. I mean who doesn’t like a cup of tea or coffee? You can never have enough, especially if you drink lots throughout the day. The Bamboo Travel Mug is from M&S as are the letter mugs. The polka dot mug is from Laura Ashley and polka dots are very trendy right now.
Or, how about a comfy yet stylish red Valentine cushion to snuggle up on the couch? I kind of like the Scandinavian inspired draught excluder too. Nothing says love more than a warm toes. Both items are from Dwell.
Finally, I couldn’t resist this red dog doorstop, also from Dwell. He looks quizzical which is how I feel about Valentine’s. Why? Really? I don’t get it. All valid responses as far as I am concerned.
What kind of Valentine’s gifts would you like to receive?
- Nothing. I refuse to give in to the crass commercialism of Valentines.
- Roses, chocolate, candlelight, the full romantic works.
- Something stylish, a cool (not necessarily cheap) token of affection.
- Anything, everything. In fact, move me to Japan – I want to string out Valentine’s into two days. One just isn’t enough.
Answers, or anything else you would like to add, in the comments please.