Valentine Cards: A Short History of St Valentine’s Day Cards and Valentine Stamps

Just before February 14th every year, greeting card shops are thronged with men and women, young and old agonising over what card to send to their special Valentine. They will select, read and perhaps return to the display a number of times before settling on that card that demonstrates the love of their partner. These modern day star-crossed lovers are following a tradition that is centuries old and predates the introduction of today’s Valentine cards.

Victorian Valentine Cards

The sending of Valentine’s Day tokens was popular in 19th century Great Britain where young swains delighted in sending hand written notes or lavishly decorated and painted handmade cards to the object on their affection. But it was an American, Esther Howland who in 1847 established a business to produce Valentine cards. The cards that Howland produced were again handmade and decorated and were closely based on the British Valentine cards of the period. They were decorated with lace and ribbons and had colourful paintings known as scrap and nice clean examples fetching good prices.

Modern Valentine Cards

Modern cards of course are mass-produced and come in all shapes and sizes from giant cards, to cards cut in the shape of a heart. However, the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum in London.

The Greeting Card Association of America estimates that one billion Valentine Day cards will be sent this year, making it the second most popular “card sending” day after Christmas. Sending cards today is relatively cheap costing only a few pennies for the postage stamp but before the introduction of the Penny Post all cards were individually delivered to the recipient and the cost was considerable.

Valentine’s Day Postage Stamps

But the Penny Black considerably reduced the cost of sending letters and cards so increasing the popularity of sending Valentine cards – for no matter the distance covered the cost was just one penny.

Now many postal administrations issue special stamps to celebrate St Valentine’s Day, these stamps can be used to send any letter but a Valentine stamp used to send a Valentine card adds an extra dimension to the greeting. A Valentine stamp really says that the sender has taken the trouble to walk to a post office and request the special stamp so showing a level of consideration for the recipient of his or her affections.

These Valentine stamps often show traditional tokens and images of love; love birds, doves, harts and roses. Indeed for the philatelist amongst the lucky recipient of a Valentine card the stamp may be as gratefully received as the card. It may even prompt starting a collection of Valentine Day stamps, or stamps that show love tokens, from around the world.

From the first reference to St Valentine’s connection love and lovers in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules right down to contemporary love tokens, the Valentine card seems to have a secure future in everyone’s heart.

Unique, Fun and Romantic Gift Ideas for a Woman

Rather than fretting over that perfect romantic gift for a woman, do some advance planning. Make a list of her interests and tastes in jewelry, clothing, recreational activities and books. Then get creative and find a romantic angle to let her know she’s loved.

Romantic Gift Bag for Her

Find a pretty tote in her favorite colors and fill it with her favorite perfume, toiletries and spa supplies. Some ideas include a gel mask to soothe her eyes, manicure kit, nail polish and bath salts. If there’s still room in her bag, tuck in some magazines, candy and gum. Write her a romantic note or poem to sweeten the bag even more.

Romantic Anniversary Gifts

A wife or long-term girlfriend will be all smiles when she’s presented with a coupon for a monthly dinner out at her favorite restaurant, monthly massages or monthly bouquets. This will keep the romance in full bloom throughout the year.

Personalized Romantic Gifts

Say “I love you” with personalized jewelry, such as a locket with both names on the back and a picture of the two of you together inside. She’ll also enjoy a towel, nightshirt or intimate apparel with a printed or embroidered secret phrase. Other personalized items she might enjoy include a wallet, cooking utensils and office or home decoration. If she has a favorite music group or movie star, present her with an autographed picture, CD or DVD.

Unique Romantic Presents

Have fun with unique and creative presents that show her how special she is. A romantic message in a perfume bottle will leave her swooning. A mouse pad with a loving message, a jar filled with love tokens, a heart pendant necklace with her birthstone embedded, flavored lip balm for kissable lips and an engraved box of heart-shaped chocolates will make her very happy.

Romantic Gifts for the Budget Conscious

For those on a budget, look for something that involves more thought and creativity than money. Prepare her a special dinner at home, with her favorite dessert, candlelight, romantic music and some romantic slow dancing. Scatter rose petals on a path to the most romantic place in the house and surprise her with a heartfelt love note.

Romantic Gifts if Money is No Object

For those who don’t have to worry about budget, the sky can be the limit with a hired sky-writer or flying banner expressing the love. Don’t forget to include her name in the message. Other delightful but expensive gifts include a hot air balloon ride, a journey necklace, a cruise or trip to somewhere she’s always wanted to go.

The most important thing to remember when presenting a romantic gift is the romance. As long as she knows she’s loved, everything else is icing.

Decoding Body Language: Subtle Body Signals are Secret Codes Waiting to be Broken

Like the peacock’s advantageous tail, or the male walrus that sportingly competes for multiple partners, humans too must play love’s capricious game of seduction.

First Cue in Body Language

Body language is used by both male and female as a way of conveying to desired mating partners that they are interested. The first major non-verbal mating sign is the glance. Although men are usually the first to initiate the conversation, they usually wait for body language cues from the woman – such as a glance, then a look away – before approaching. The glance from across the room reveals to each person that the other is physically interested.

Once the couple has made eye contact with glances, a smile usually follows. The smile shows that the person is open and friendly, and can be made by both parties. Smiling is a successful way of showing the other person that you are interested.

The action of a man buying a woman a drink is a key indicator that he would like to have a conversation with her. By doing this, the man is asking the woman if she would like to converse. Buying a woman a drink is usually a good way to start a conversation, as long as the woman returns the invitation.

Meanings behind a Touch

The female playing with her hair is a very common body language sign that reveals she is nervous, indicating that she is interested. This sign is successful, as most men know what it means, and therefore have the confidence that she will return his feelings.

When the man touches the woman’s back, he is telling her that he is sexually attracted to her. This is a successful way to display your feelings as most women know what that sign means. And if she is interested, she will further continue the conversation.

Mirroring Body Language

A woman mirroring a man’s body language – when the guy leans in, the girl leans in as well – shows that they are in-sync with one another. By the woman duplicating his actions she is telling him that she shares his feelings.

Both persons involved in this timeless ritual maintain an open and inviting position. They directly face each other with their hands to the side and possibly their palms facing up and towards the other. By doing this, they are exposing or presenting themselves to the other person.

Exerting Dominance

The male makes expansive gestures and rests his arms on seats adjacent to the ones on which they are sitting. This illustrates that the man is trying to exert sexual dominance over the female. This body language gesture can either succeed or fail, depending on how the female feels about being dominated by the male.

The Strongest Message is Not Verbal

When both parties nod their heads while each other is talking, they can make the other person feel that they are truly being listened too. This will create a positive reaction as the other person will feel important and respected.

One of the strongest signs of body language is when two people are hand in hand. This action loudly states that these two people are very much into each other. Holding hands is one of the first affectionate actions potential mating partners partake in.

Body language is innate. Many times, it is done unconsciously and it is the only universal source of communication used by all species on earth. Body language is one of mankind’s most fascinating connections to the animal kingdom.

Top 5 Romantic Gift Ideas: Creative Ideas for a Birthday, Valentine’s Day or Anniversary

Most flowers only last a week. Jewelry is always nice, but is only meant for one person. Make the next birthday, Valentine’s Day or anniversary a special one. A shared romantic experience can create lifelong memories. With some thoughtful planning, these romantic gift ideas are sure to prove love and devotion.

Creative Romantic Gifts

By planning an experience, rather than simply buying a gift, the special occasion will become an unexpected event. These romantic gift ideas are perfect for ensuring a special birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day becomes a unique and memorable experience.

  1. First date night. There is nothing more special then recreating the first date experience. If the exact location and details can not be duplicated, try to copy the most important moments. Quirky details that both will remember with fondness is most romantic.
  2. Gourmet dinner at home. Avoid the crowds and concentrate on just the two of you. Create a scene at home that is different then usual. Use the fine linens and china. Surround the room with candles and soft music. To make it even more special, consider having the dinner catered by a favorite restaurant or chef.
  3. Weekend getaway. A weekend or night away from the kids and daily life routine can be fun, adventurous and romantic. Select a location that has special memories and recreate moments from past years. Also, plan activities that explore the getaway location’s special attractions to build new memories and experiences together.
  4. Musical night out. Sharing a musical experience can be very powerful. Select a musical event that will be enjoyable for both. A night at the opera can be very romantic, but may not be for everyone. Get tickets for a popular concert or check out a local cover band that performs music you like. Ask the band to dedicate a song.
  5. Spa day for two. Enjoy a relaxing and sensual afternoon of spa treatments. Plan a spa treatment for two, such as a couples massage. A relaxed mind and body creates a romantic mood. Cap the day of relaxation off with a romantic dinner for two at a fine restaurant.

Personalized Romantic Gift Ideas

To be truly romantic, a gift must speak to someone from the heart. Build on these ideas to make them as personal as possible. Creative romantic gifts that incorporate memories from the past or personal interests will be the most memorable. Demonstrating a little bit of effort to tailor a gift to the individual is a genuine romantic gift idea.

Use Matchmaking Websites to Daters’ Advantage

It seems as if everyone is looking for someone they can love and fully trust; someone that will sweep them off their feet and make their dreams come true. In the past, it was a matter of running into that person by chance, but with the popularity of free dating agencies and matchmaking websites, that has all changed. Individuals can now seek out their soul mates, but does it work? Below, individuals will get important tips for using free dating agencies.

Create a Profile

When creating a profile on matchmaking websites, it’s important to make it interesting and intriguing to potential browsers. Individuals don’t want to give away their entire life story, but they also want to let others know enough about themselves so that people will find something interesting about them. This is how the process gets started. Someone sees the profile and if they are intrigued, they send a private message or start a conversation.

So, when creating the profile, individuals should disclose a few important things about themselves and their personalities, but otherwise keep it short and sweet. 250 words is about the perfect size for an “about me” blurb.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say Hello

When on a free matchmaking website such as Match, OkCupid, eHarmony, ChatLineFling, etc. don’t be afraid to say hello. Individuals who see a profile that is intriguing should message the owner of that profile. Let the owner know what has spiked interest about his or her profile and make proper introductions. This is a great way to connect and individuals who are afraid to say hello have nothing at all to gain.

Post a Photo

Individuals should post a photo of themselves on their profile. A photo truly is worth a thousand words when it comes to online dating. This will give other individuals a chance to see what the dater looks like – as attraction is an important part of dating. Use a recent photo and not a photo that was taken ten years ago in high school. This is a part of being honest, which individuals will learn more about in a moment. Also, use a photo that does not contain other people and one that is tasteful. This will really help when it comes to connecting with others.

Be Totally Honest

Honesty is the ONLY policy when it comes to online dating agencies. It can be tempting to flip the truth only a little bit but this is not a smart idea at all. What happens when the individuals makes contact and finds that one has lied? Besides, there is someone out there for every individual, and someone who will like those traits whom others consider to be their “faults.” When individuals keep it honest, they will find that the dating process is easier.

By using the information above, individuals can learn the correct ways to use free dating agencies. By finding the “one,” all of the effort put into the dating websites will be worth it in the end!

The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Gift: It’s Presence, Not Presents That Counts When Celebrating February 14

Although the history of Valentine’s Day remains a mystery, with many theories evolving over the centuries, the 14th day of February remains a day of both romance and tradition .

History of Valentine’s Day

One such theory is that during the third century, Emperor Claudius ll outlawed marriage for young men, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men with wives and children. Legend has it that a priest known as Valentine recognised the injustice of this decree and defying the Emperor, he performed marriages for the young lovers in secret. Sadly, when Claudius discovered these actions Valentine was put to death.

Another story claims that Valentine sent the first greeting himself from inside prison to the daughter of a jailer’s daughter. It was revealed that before his death (in around 270 AD) he wrote a letter to her signing it “From your Valentine” an expression that continues today with 188 million Valentine cards sent annually worldwide.

Whatever the truth behind Valentine’s Day, the legends have left a lasting and romantic legacy.

Spend Time With a Loved One

Spending time with each other as apposed to spending dollars can prove to be the most valuable and worthwhile gift a person can give to his or her loved one.

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. So what better opportunity is there than to plan a day that will leave a memory lasting longer than any box of chocolates or a single red rose?

Bombarded by advertising, the best intended Valentine is all too often convinced that in order to show the depth of his love and commitment he must spend considerable amounts of money on a gift for his loved one whether that be diamonds, roses or even the finest chocolates. Sadly in many cases, unable to meet the deadline of a shop’s closing time or even make the decision of what to give, a person can be left feeling inadequate and unable to express his feelings.

Why not choose a more precious gift – presence?

Consider the possibilities.

  • A walk in a park, along a river, a lake or a stroll along a beach.
  • A visit to a local vineyard.
  • A home cooked dinner made special by that time together however simple.
  • Why not go camping? Relax in front of an open fire and listen to the sounds of nature.

The gentle touch of one hand in another can reflect the most meaningful feelings for one another.

Whether an extravagant dinner or a simple pizza in front of the fire, remember, the greatest gift is presence.