Valentine's Day is a marketer's dream. Whether you celebrate it or not, someone special in your life would love to receive a gift and you don't want to disappoint them.
Spouses, partners, children, friends are all eagerly awaiting the day to see what Valentine's gifts they may receive. It is no longer just a day for those in relationships. In fact the term "Galentine's Day", as coined by comedy series Parks and Recreation, has taken off globally with groups of women celebrating together on or the day before Valentine's Day itself.
In the US alone more than $13 million (R174m) is spent on lovers' gifts and more than 180 million cards are exchanged annually. Interestingly, more women buy cards and more men buy flowers, according to the stats from research institute Statistic Brain.
Close to 2 million roses are produced especially for Valentine's Day each year, contributing to the $403m revenue from domestically cut flowers.
Think you don't need to get a gift for your loved one? More than 50% of women surveyed recently said they would end their relationship if they did not get any Valentine's gift at all. Beware!
At any rate, here are some meaningful gift ideas (besides the usual chocolates and flowers) that show real love without breaking the bank.
SHARE AN EXPERIENCE
If you have enough things in your home and in your life, then why not give the gift of an experience. Making memories together whether fun or romantic can strengthen your relationship and give you stories you can talk about for years to come. Go for a hike, pack a picnic and go somewhere beautiful, take a day trip, try something new you've both been wanting to do (skydiving anyone?) the opportunities are endless.
PICK YOUR OWN
Instead of spending a fortune on flowers at your local supermarket, take your loved one to a beautiful destination to pick your own. No, you can't pick as you please in national parks or from people's gardens. But there are destinations where you can wander through rose bushes, for example, and choose your favourite stems to pick while taking in the scenery You can pick roses at Chart Farm in Wynberg, Cape Town or pick Litchis at The Litchi Orchid in Umhlali or pick organic strawberries at Lakeland's Strawberry Farm in Tyger Valley Just be sure to call ahead and ensure they are in season or bloom. If flowers and fruit picking aren't your thing simply collect sea shells on the beach.
HANDMADE BRACELETS THAT GIVE BACK
Instead of costly gemstones and metals, you can give inexpensive bracelets in support of worthy local causes, including the Amy Foundation, Shine Literacy, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Ikamva Labantu, the Rotary SafeWater Project, Goodbye Malaria and many more.
Relate Bracelets is a 100% not-for-profit social enterprise, which sells handmade beaded bracelets to raise money for charities globally and to create jobs for South Africans.
In the last three years, they have raised more than R26m for charitable causes.
You can choose a cause you'd like to support and buy a stack of 10 bracelets; the perfect Valentine's gift for friends and family too, from R450 a stack from the Relate Bracelets website (https://www.relate.org.za/shop).
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Let someone know they are close to your heart by supporting something that is close to theirs. You can support a cause that they care deeply about, or suggest you do something together to help out a charity or organisation. What better way to show someone you love them than by showing an interest in what they are most passionate about.
This article was first published by Sunday Tribune on 03 February 2017.