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published: 12 Feb 2024 in Customs

Top 5 Valentine’s Day gifts. And they say you can’t buy love…

Kamila Brzezińska
Kamila Brzezińska

Editor

“All you need is love!” proclaims the 1967 hit song by the Beatles. Yet if you tried to use this verse as an excuse for forgetting a Valentine’s Day gift – the closest you’d come to being a Beetle is being squashed like a bug by your enraged beloved. As we approach the 14th of February, let’s take a look at the most popular Valentine's Day presents, and try to answer the perennial question: who is going to pay for it?
Top 5 Valentine’s Day gifts. And they say you can’t buy love…

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Valentine's Day, known as “Walentynki “ or "Dzień Zakochanych" in Polish, is a celebration cherished by couples all over the world. It's a day filled with love, romance, and, most importantly – thoughtful gestures through which the aforementioned affections are meant to be expressed.

While gift-giving traditions may vary from region to region – and couple to couple – certain gifts have become universal favorites for this occasion.

According to a 2024 survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, for this Valentine’s Day many of us plan on buying:


57% – Candy

If there is something that embodies the gift-giving tendencies during the 14th of February, it’s the title of the 1965 song by the aptly named band Strangeloves, “I Want Candy”.

And candy we love – at least, giving it – as indicated by 57% of the surveyed were planning on buying it for their partners.

In Poland, the go-to sweets for this occasion are traditional chocolates or “bombonierki” in Polish (from the French word “bonbon”, which means candy). Those sweets, often beautifully packaged and containing an assortment of flavors, are delightful to indulge your loved one's sweet tooth while spoiling them rotten.


40% – Greeting cards

Charlie Chaplin, the mustachio film star best known for being silent, allegedly said: “Words are cheap. The biggest thing you can say is 'elephant'.”

Yet, sometimes, it’s not the price tag (or size) that matters – the simple idea might just be the right one.

This is particularly true in the digital age. With communication dominated by instant messaging and social media, handwritten greeting cards and love letters evoke a sense of nostalgia and intimacy. Expressing heartfelt emotions in handwritten notes can add a sentimental touch to Valentine's Day celebrations.

If you’re not particularly eloquent or struggle to find the right words, worry not!

Even a simple “P.S. I love you” should suffice.


39% – Flowers

Much like in many other parts of the world, flowers are an indispensable part of Valentine's Day celebrations in Poland. According to some estimations, each year around 250 million stems of flowers are globally sold for this occasion.

What kind of flowers do we buy for Valentines?

  • 1/3 – roses,
  • 1/3 – tulips,
  • 1/3 – the other kinds of flowers.

It's most common to find a man giving flowers to women, but truth be told, everybody enjoys a good bouquet. So, nothing is stopping the ladies from enflowering the gents – barring some horrid case of pollen allergy, of course.


32% – An evening out

A romantic dinner for two is a classic way to celebrate Valentine's Day. This common trend all over the world is also applicable to Poland. Many couples choose to dine out at restaurants, preferably upscale ones, and enjoy special Valentine's Day menus featuring gourmet cuisine, fine wines, and each other company. Alternatively, some opt for intimate home-cooked meals, complete with candlelight and all that jazz, to create a night to remember.


22% ­– Jewelry

Marylin Monroe, in her 1953 movie 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', sang the below verse:

The French are glad to die for love

They delight in fighting duels

But I prefer a man who lives

And gives expensive jewels.

The Polish women are equally practical as the legendary movie screen blonde. They do not need their beloved to prove their devotion in such a dramatic and perilous way – jewelry will do just fine, thank you very much.

For many, receiving an expensive trinket can hold a significant meaning, serving as a tangible symbol of shared love and commitment. Said noble sentiments may be enshrined in many shapes and things, from necklaces and earrings to bracelets and rings.

“You can’t buy love” – the saying goes. But, well, you certainly can try.


On whose dime? Dames, dudes, or going Dutch

When it comes to buying presents on Valentine's Day, in Poland it's not only the question of what to buy, but rather of who is the one paying.

The recent survey conducted by the Ogólnopolski Panel Badawczy Ariadna (loose translation: Ariadna National Survey Panel) found that Polish people are rather peculiar in this particular area:

GIVING GIFTS:

  • 54% of Poles – believe that in the principle of equivalent exchange, where both men and women should give each other a gift on Valentine's Day,
  • 24% of Poles – think gift-giving is solely a man's duty,

PAYING FOR THE VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER:

  • 75% of men – would decidedly not agree to have a woman pay for a Valentine's Day dinner, for if they did agree, they would feel embarrassed and ashamed.
  • 35% of women – believe that men would agree to have a woman cover the bill – their estimation is off by around 10%.
  • 25% of men – would appreciate it if women would at least offer to foot the bill.

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