It's not just an old song, love really does make the world go round.
Love, in all its forms, is pretty crucial for everyone's well-being, not
to mention our continued existence as a species. And so, Valentine's
Day is a centuries old celebration that is here to stay. Still, just
because we all want to remind someone special of our love doesn't
necessarily mean we're made of money. That's why, especially in tough
times, cheap Valentine's Day gifts are more popular than ever and, while
deals, discounts, and closeouts never sound particularly romantic, they
still can help grease the wheels of love.
As holidays go, Valentine's Day is not without controversy. It doesn't
help that, on any given February 14th, a significant percentage of us
might not feel too well inclined towards romance. These are the people
for whom the day gets renamed "Singles Awareness Day. (S.A.D., get it?)
Still, while chronic cynics will never leave us, the following year,
lots of those same people might be amongst the biggest sentimentalists
on the planet, extolling the praises of their new love and buying out
the Valentines Day sections in bulk at their local retailers. Even Saint
Valentine himself is a figure shrouded in some mystery, with more than
one Christian saint bearing the name and very little being known about
any of them. Still, an unconfirmed legend has one of the Valentines as a
third-century cleric defying an order by the Roman Emperor Claudius II,
who had outlawed marriage for young men as a means of bolstering
The modern Valentine's Day may have begun in earnest when French
nobility set up a "high court of love" to settle amorous disputes on
February 14, 1400. Prior to that, Valentine's day may (or may not) have
been referenced in a poem by England's first great poet, Geoffrey
Chaucer, but is most definitely referred to at the start of the 17th
century in a moving passage uttered by the heartbroken Ophelia from
Shakespeare's Hamlet. By the 19th century, Valentines were being mass
produced and the commercialization of the holiday was well under way.
At a certain point, the holiday even began to be detached to some degree
from purely romantic love to platonic forms of love. Today, most
children and some adults send Valentines to their parents. It has even
become a normal part of the American school year, with children in the
early grades in school all-but forced to issue blanket Valentines to
their entire class, from childhood crushes and best friends to worst
enemies, as teachers and administrators struggle to try and prevent hurt
feelings. As students hit puberty and hurt feelings become utterly
inevitable, cash-strapped school uses Valentine's Day dances, candy
grams, and the like as highly effective fund-raising devices. Of course,
with adulthood, the trend continues and retailers of all sorts reap the
Still, especially in times like these when consumers are trying their
hardest to keep costs down while still staying close to their loved
ones, inexpensive Valentines gifts are solid perennials for retailers.
Starting with inexpensive holiday themed jewelry with such ever-popular
motifs as hearts and flowers as well as more utilitarian items like pens
and pencils, young people seeking items for friends, parents, and
sweethearts are consistent strong sellers. Stuffed animals, especially
teddy bears, are another popular choice and not only with children; many
adults have never outgrown a love of plush toys and they make a popular
accompaniment to candy and/or flowers.
Specially designed and scented candles are a somewhat more adult gift
that are often available as wholesale closeouts and bulk deals. There's
no denying that cheap Valentine's Day gifts remain a very profitable
holiday for retailers, but that doesn't mean the cynics are right.
Helping customer to celebrate their love for those closest to them is
easily one of the sweetest things a retailer can do.