Picking the perfect gift for your Valentine should (theoretically) be easy: whether you go for a small token to show your affection or decide to plan a grand gesture, all it should take is some time and forethought. However, in a recent survey of UK men and women conducted by top online fashion retailer Littlewoods.com, 1 in 3 men admitted to buying their partners a “questionable last minute gift” for at least one Valentine’s Day.
Of course, Valentine’s isn’t the only day dedicated to love, and most of the women questioned actually said that anniversaries are more important. As February looms, however, it’s hard to ignore Valentine’s Day, and whilst most of us don't expect extravagant gifts as standard, well over half of those surveyed said they felt Valentine’s Day is important to them. And yet, 1 in 3 women report that they have received Valentine’s gifts that were obviously last minute – perhaps demonstrating that shoddy presents are not only disappointing, but pretty difficult to get away with.
In contrast, only 1 in 5 men felt they had been on the receiving end of a dodgy Valentine’s Day present from their partner. The discrepancy may lie in a difference between the way men and women view the holiday. “Not wanting to be controlled by a schedule or by their partner’s expectations, many men, especially husbands, either do something token on Valentine’s Day (a last minute card or candy) or they are conscientious objectors to the whole thing,” explains Bill Doherty in Psychology Today. “Eventually I realised that the cost of minimising Valentine’s Day—the disappointment and the missed opportunity to connect—is greater than the benefits of maintaining my freedom to be spontaneously romantic on my own timetable.”
Avoid disappointment by striking up an understanding with your partner. It may sound slightly unromantic, but it can help to compare notes on budget beforehand, setting a sensible limit so that neither party feels short-changed. Of those asked in the survey, a significant 4 in 10 women said they spent less than £15 on their partner’s Valentine’s gift, whereas over half of the boys said they tended to spend more than £30 on Valentine's gifts for her.
By agreeing to spend a set amount, expectations are more clearly defined, sidestepping the nightmare scenario of one person splashing out while the other scrimps - or worse, buys nothing at all!
This post is brought to you by Littlewoods