Valentine’s Day is coming. Can you smell it? That heady scent of petrol station roses, prosecco-fuelled chocolate burps and partially digested takeaway gas.
And this February 14th (in the UK at least), things could get heavy…really heavy. Why?
Because Cupid’s finally out of lockdown and he’s got a potty full of passion, a shitload of unused arrows and a lot of ground to make up.
Which makes us nervous, for you. Because we all know Love’s a game, right? And every year, around Valentine’s Day, almost everyone gets (is forced) to play.
But who are the real winners and who are the so-called losers on Valentine’s Day? Who’s great at playing the Lover’s Day lottery and who’s not so hot?
And how can you personally break into Cupid’s love bank each year and make your fortune?
Well, snuggle up close. Because we’re going to tell you exactly how to win at Valentine's Day.
More importantly, though, we’re going to show all you lovely luvvers out there how not to lose.
So, let’s get to it!
Love and affection is at stake and there’s not a lot of time.
Valentine’s Day -The rules of the game
Somebody once said, “You can’t buy love, but you can PAY HEAVILY for it.” True. So true!
Finding and nurturing love is like bareback riding a greased walrus across an ocean full of killer whales.
It’s exhilarating, fraught with danger and one slip and you and your big squidgy love could suffer.
And nowhere are your greased walrus riding skills tested more publicly than on St.Valentine’s Day.
For many people, financially and emotionally, February 14th can be an absolute b*****d!
According to projections by Finder.com, up to 91% of Brits could be celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2022. Unsurprisingly, that's well up from previous years.
And, with a predicted average spend of approx £22, total expenditure on Valentine’s Day in the UK this year could reach over £1.37 billion.
That's small potatoes, though. In the US, spending on Valentine's Day in 2022 is predicted to reach nearly $24 billion. [source: wallethub.com]
Sounds financially healthy but, actually, a lot of that money is wasted. Wasted? Really? On what, we hear you say.
On unwanted gifts, that's what.
In fact, the same survey estimated that approx 43 million Americans received an unwanted Valentine’s Day Gift in 2019 alone.
That’s equivalent to 9.5 billion dollars of wasted spending.
Yikes! Not really that healthy in the current economic climate, is it?
And then there’s the emotional stress.
It’s true that many people start relationships or get engaged/married on or around Valentine’s Day.
In fact, according to the Scotsman, over 10,000 people in the UK propose to their partners on Valentine’s Day each year. Awww!
However, many people also change their social media relationship status to single and lots of couples break up around Valentine’s Day too. Boo!
It's true. Online dating increases significantly around Valentine's Day. Disillusioned partners chance their arm. Cracks start appearing in relationships.
In fact, a survey conducted by Yougov America found that 61% of women, who identified as separated or divorced, have been disappointed on Valentine’s Day.
It's a weird fact that gets even weirder when you also find out that 40% of men who identified as separated or divorced admitted to having...
"disappointed a romantic partner by not doing enough on Valentine’s Day".
No pressure then.
Don’t fret, though. You don't have to suffer weeks of worry leading to a day of shitty stress.
And cocking up on Cupid’s watch certainly doesn’t mean the end of your romance or friendship.
You just have to learn the rules of the Valentine’s Day game.
And, if you’ve been celebrating V-Day for as long as we have, you get to know those rules really well.
What’s more, you get to know where they must be followed, where they can be bent and where they can even be broken.
Cue evil laugh!
Yep, it’s true. Valentine’s Day can be gamed.
And here’s how.
Valentine’s Day - Love is a losing game. Or is it?
If anybody objects to or gets upset by the scoring in this game, it’s made up. Just so you know. It’s not real. Fun sponges!
Interesting fact: In a study conducted by the National Retail Federation in the US in 2020, 27% of people surveyed said they will be buying Valentine's Gifts for their PETS.
The ultimate aim of the Valentine’s Day game is to be in credit.
That could be in credit with your partner, your loved ones, your friends, your colleagues, even your pet.
Though we doubt the latter will hold it against you for the rest of your damned life.
Isn't that right, Mrs Rebel?
Anyway, certain Valentine’s Day gifts and prezzies score points and give you credit. Others lose you points and credit. Knowing which is which is super-important.
In the eyes of your recipient, one type of gift could make you a luscious Love God. Another, a total Lover’s Day Loser.
We’re going to reveal the best and the worst Valentine’s gifts and experiences we can think of based on reliable sources of info and…cough..our own experiences…cough.
If it’s your first Valentines or your relationship is new, lucky you. You begin with a blank slate. It’s vital you start well.
Good luck lover, you’ll need it!
If you’re an old hand at the Valentine’s Day game, with a handful or more V-days under your belt, then it’s a little trickier. Poor results in previous years may need making up.
Like a Wordle winning streak, maintaining good results over time is imperative.
If you’re in a long term relationship, 10 years or more, then you’ve either got the Valentine’s Day game thing cracked or your work cut out. You’re either wearing a knowing smile or you’re s******g your pants.
So, let’s take a look at exactly what we think makes you a winner and what could make you a love-lorn loser on Valentine’s Day.
And we’ll start with you so-called losers.
How to Score (badly) on Valentine's Day
There are many many ways to lose “love credit” on Valentine’s Day. Here are our top 6 rock-bottom picks.
Not that we’ve ever made any of these mistakes, of course.
6 Ways to Lose your Lover1) Forgot
Score: Lose 50 points … Forever!
Interesting Fact: One in five men (22%) and women (18%) admit to forgetting entirely to celebrate Valentine’s Day. (Yougov Survey 2019)
Never forget Valentine’s Day - unless it’s something you don't celebrate.
If you do celebrate it, or have done in the past, then Cupid help you if it slips your mind. It will not be forgotten and will be brought up every year to shame you.
Nothing says “I love you” less than being the last thing on someone’s mind.
So, set reminders well in advance and keep an eye out for last postage dates if you intend on buying a Valentine’s gift online.
For the fellas out there, our last postage date is February 10th, just so you know. Why for the fellas?
Well, a survey conducted in 2016 and reported by mirror.co.uk, found that up to 48% of men leave buying their partner’s Valentine’s Day gift until the last minute.
Any reason to think blokes have changed much since then? No! So guys (and forgetful gals), do not leave it too late.
A quick trip out to the local One Stop or petrol station on February 13th is a sure-fire way to get eyebrows, suspicions and temperatures raised.
Speaking of last minute.
2) Tried and failed to book a table at a restaurant...last minute
Score: Lose 10 points
Interesting Fact: In a normal (non-pandemic) year, nearly half of all couples (46%) consider going to a restaurant their ideal way to celebrate Valentine's Day. [Source: GWI.com]
All dolled up and nowhere to go except the McDonald's drive through? Looking like a 3 hr wait for takeaway again? So stressed out you don’t feel like eating at all?
Suddenly getting a last minute appetite for a romantic meal out so near to or on Valentine’s day itself, is asking for a dressing down. And not of the sexy kind.
Plan and book your Valentine’s meal well in advance. Or, even better, prepare and cook your own.
Everybody knows finding and booking a table at a restaurant on Valentine's Day is a nightmare.
Don’t become that scary clueless culinary clown restaurants all laugh about.
3) Bought flowers from petrol station on way home from work
Score: Lose 10 points
Interesting Fact: About 224 million roses are grown and sold for Valentine’s Day for sale in the UK, with around 75 percent bought by men. [Source: Scotsman]
And we’d love to know just how many of them are bought by men at petrol stations.
If you want to go down the flowers route fellas, buy a lovely bouquet from your local independent florist. Support them and their passion and hard work instead.
Petrol stations have had enough of our money over the last…well, forever. And tired-looking flowers that smell faintly of petroleum are hardly romantic.
4) Bought heart-shaped box of mid-price chocolates
Score: Lose 10 points
Interesting Fact: Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year, equating to over 26 million kilograms of chocolate. [Source: Scotsman]
Lose ten points to your score. Add two pounds to your weight.
Every kg of that unhealthy chocolate only causes subconscious stress and anxiety in whoever they’re gifted to.
Plus, in most cases, you’re only going to end up eating them yourself. But you knew that, didn’t you?
Anyway, in studies we looked at, barely a third of people wanted chocolates as a gift on Valentine’s Day.
In our Valentine’s Day game, 1 in 3 is terrible odds. Don't go there.
The only winner is your dentist.
5) Bought a cuddly toy/teddy with a cutesy saying on it
Score: Lose 10 points...and most of your street cred
Interesting Fact: In a survey of US shoppers conducted by Wallethub, a cheesy-stuffed animal was second to last on the list of least-desired Valentine’s Day gifts. Just above a mix-tape.
We agree. You’re a grown ass adult, FFS!
Wooing someone with Winnie the Pooh is asking for the Gods of real love to smite your sickly sugar-coated relationship down to the gruesome ground it was born on.
Plus, whoever you bought it for will feel obliged to keep it. Perhaps on their pillow. Maybe on the bed you both share. Where it will stare at you and your weird naked ass.
6) Bought a CHEAP card and a bottle of wine from the local store
Score: Lose 10 points
Interesting Fact: Over 25 million cards are sent for Valentine’s Day each year in the UK. [Source: Finder.com]
It’s all about you isn’t it? And we bet the money you saved on the card went towards buying a more expensive bottle of booze.
Because cards only get read once then thrown away, right? And who knows what a glass or two of expensive tasting wine might lead to.
Well, let us answer that for you. Guilt and gout.
Trust us, neither are great for romance.
** Luckily for you, our Valentine's Day Greeting Cards are printed in a large A5 size, so you can frame them and use them as a print afterwards. Plus, we don't advocate booze on Valentine's Day. You should be drunk on love! **
So, there you have it. Our bottom six picks. All guaranteed to disappoint and do s#!t on Valentine's Day.
We could have added many more and some of you may think we've not been harsh enough with the scoring. Maybe.
Then again, there'll be those that cry, "Don't be so cruel. It's the thought that counts!". Well, we'll address that in the next section.
So, let's move along quickly because we've got passionate people who need our help.
How to win the Valentine's Day Game
"It's not the thought that counts if that thought is shit!" - Famous Rebel
Interesting Fact: Over 50% of people find inspiration for their Valentine’s Day gifts at the local supermarket [Source: Statista]
People don’t always get what they want on Valentine’s Day. Hell, we can vouch for that.
And that’s because people buy cards and gifts in the name of love and friendship without any real thought for, or input from, the person they’re buying them for.
In many cases, buying a Valentine’s Day gift is not even an afterthought because there’s been no thinking in the first place.
If surveys are anything to go by, Valentine gifting for many follows the same old routine - card, flowers, chocolate. Shortly followed by said card in the recycling, rotting flowers in the bin, chocolates in the toilet later that day.
You know what we mean!
None of it is lasting or permanent. It’s lazy gifting on autopilot. It’s love from the discount aisle.
Big business has to take some of the blame. Mass-produced, sickly sentimental tat is everywhere in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. It’s quick, cheap and convenient and they and you know it.
Unfortunately, so will your Valentine.
However, gaining love credit isn't that hard if you think about it. And there's the key. If you THINK about it.
What our six sad and lonely losers have in common is that they show an obvious lack of effort and thought.
What exactly do we mean? Well, check out these beau beguiling beauties instead.
How to score (well) on Valentine's Day
Experiences to make them feel special. Gifts guaranteed to avoid disappointment. Prezzies primed to score points on Valentine's Day. Everybody's after them.
These are the things to do and buy if you want to become one of Cupid's champions this Valentine's Day.
1) Gift them an experience
Score: + 50 points...Forever
Interesting Fact: 46% of Americans said they would love to receive a gift of experience this year. [Source:Wallethub]
Objects are nice. Memories are nicer. In fact, surveys suggest that, rather than flowers, chocolates and cuddly toys, many people would prefer to receive an experience on Valentine’s Day.
Tickets to the theatre or a comedy show. A meal for two at a fine restaurant. A romantic weekend away. Maybe a marriage proposal.
Doing something together in a loving way is memorable.
Which is why we designed our new and exclusive Love Tokens. Check them out. They’re certainly an experience. There are meals (of a sort). Comedy shows (potentially). And you might even get your weak end away (oooer missus!).
Just remember, experiences and memories don’t have to cost much. Some of the best cost little to nothing.
But, if you have booked that weekend away for two in Paris, then all we have to say is…can we come?
We’ll fit in your luggage.
We’re only little.
** If you're after some other ideas to make your Valentine's Day memorable, here's a list of 37 compiled by Womansday.com **
2) Plan, prepare and cook a romantic meal for two
Score: + 20 points (and if it's memorable +50 points forever too)
Interesting Fact: According to the BBC Good Food Guide, the most popular recipe for a romantic night in on Valentine's Day is Steak with Peppercorn sauce.
A proper meal? With starters, main and dessert? Over candle-light? And wait! You plan on getting saucy with the cream and candle-wax too?
Wow! It'd be like being ravished by a romantic Gordon Ramsay - without the Gordon Ramsay.
It has to be a proper meal, though. Not a microwaveable dinner or a Valentine's Day meal deal from M&S.
Yes, it might be tasty, but they've done all the work. Not you.
3) Make them a Valentine's Card and include a special handwritten message/poem
Score: +10 points
Interesting Fact: Not all roses are red. And Violets aren’t blue. Hey, lazy Valentine’s rhyming dickhead, there’s a fact-check for you!
An easy ten points! And that’s just for hand-writing anything these days.
Add a heartfelt emotional personal message or poem to the mix and it all leads to a lovely lyrical love-in.
You may think making and writing your own card is naff. Surely those glossy ones from Moonpig are more likely to impress your beau? And, besides, they'll only laugh at your soppy stick drawings.
Well, they might laugh. But what it will show is that your love or friendship is unique, not generic. Words spoken from the heart trump words written by Hallmark.
And deep down your Dear Reader will know it.
Just don't write "To my other half. I love you with all of my shart!".
Put the effort in. Dig deep.
4) Searched for and bought them a unique, hand-crafted gift
Score: +10 points
Interesting Fact: Traditional Valentine's Day gift-hunting channels such as supermarkets are losing ground to social media channels. Google, Facebook and Instagram are increasingly becoming valuable sources of inspiration for unique gift ideas. [Source:Statista.com]
They're not mass-produced. They're not identical to any other. They're not made by loveless robots in a factory in China.
They’re gifts that are individual, unique and original. They’re one-offs. They can’t be replicated.
Passion and effort has gone into their making. They're made to be kept and valued.
Just like your relationships. Just like your love.
So, celebrate it.
** And, while you're here, we're designing, making and sourcing new original gifts all the time. Why not sign up to our newsletter and join our social media channels to get first dibs on anything new. **
And that's really all there is to it. Show effort. Show you know your Valentine. Show you appreciate them.
It sounds simple, but so many people get it wrong on Valentine's Day.
So, how did you score?
If you’re in a love debt at Valentines, don’t fret. You now know there are things you can do to turn it around.
If both you and your Valentine are in love debt to each other, then your relationship doesn’t need our advice. It needs something though, ffs.
Because you two ain’t trying!
If you’re in love credit, then get you you Gifting God. Keep up the good work.
Don’t rest on your laurels, though. It only takes one slip, one moment of complacency to undo all of the good gifting work you’ve done.
Remember, Cupid's watching!
Yep, it's entirely possible to have scored well some years and lost the plot on others. It's hard work knowing what another person wants or likes best.
Just keep at it.
Work creatively around our top tips and you'll be golden.
Before we go, though, let's talk about those who aren't interested in playing the Valentine's Day game at all.
Let's talk about the romantic rebels. The happy alones. The singletons. They deserve a mention too.
Let's talk about...
Interesting Fact: 24% of Brits did not celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2021 [Source:Finder.com]
If recent surveys are anything to go by, just under half of you find Valentine's Day too commercialised and overly sentimental.
You don’t intend on buying gifts or cards but, interestingly, you do intend on doing something a little special on the day anyway - which seems a little ironic to us, but anyway.
There's no doubt that Valentine's Day is highly commercialized. There's a lot of money in love. And there's a lot of interest in relationships.
And, with it comes a lot of social pressure to conform. Pressure that's not necessarily good for your mental health.
Give V-Day the Vs
We should never assume that couples are happy or that singles aren’t. Valentine’s Day can be a nightmare for many people.
Idealised, unrealistic portrayals of perfect relationships are something that no one can live up to.
And feeling, or being told, that what you currently have isn’t good enough and could be better is none of Cupid’s effing business. Or ours.
But we can’t blame Cupid. Not really. He just has a stiffy for spreading love and inciting passion, regardless of the consequences.
But, why should you have to do or buy something on Valentine’s Day?
Why can't you show your love and appreciation for someone quietly every day of the year?
Why are you forced to drag it out into the open for everyone to oggle at?
We’re going to be a little rebellious here.
You don’t have to buy anything for Valentine’s Day.
Not online. Not at the supermarket. Not from Clinton Cards. Not from us.
You don’t even have to celebrate it if you don’t want to. Whatever you choose to do is cool.
BUT, whatever you do, don’t leave love or affection unsaid. Don’t take friendships for granted. And don’t regret never having shown or said how much you appreciate someone.
Not on Valentine’s Day.
We luvs u!
Love and affection relies on social connections. It shouldn't take a global pandemic to remind us of that.
And named calendar days exist to show your appreciation for and affiliation to a cause. With Valentine’s Day, that cause is love, affection and friendship.
When life is hectic and demands on your time are many, it’s nice to have a reminder sometimes to slow down and appreciate something.
And we like love, affection and friendship. That's what Valentine's Day means to us.
Plus, we need to sell s#!t.
So, if you're up for celebrating it, get buying. If you're not, then a Crappy Valentine's Day to you.
Either way, have a great normal / Valentine's Day.
The Famous Rebels
P.S. Why not tell us about some of your best/worst/most memorable Valentine's Days in the comments below. We won't laugh. Promise!