Ah, Valentine’s Day – the ancient feast day of two or more saints named Valentinus.
Absolutely nothing is known about the acts of these saints, except that they were martyred and that at one point in history their names were known throughout Christendom. There is a legend that stated St. Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. While in jail he healed the jailor’s daughter, and before he was carried off for execution, he wrote her a note signed “From your Valentine.” This account, however, is purely hagiographical.
Valentine’s Day was an important Christian feast day, but was not connected with romantic love until the time of Chaucer, and it became an important part of the concept of courtly love. It has spread throughout the world, with many different countries celebrating it in different ways. In America, it’s a popular time for gift-giving, with the average person spending $131 in 2013 (Yikes!). I like the Finnish tradition best – there, Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä – Friend’s Day. On this day friendships past and present are celebrated.
My husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. We both don’t feel any connection to the historical roots of the holiday, and we’d rather show our love for each other in different ways, instead of buying more stuff. Also, I hate spending money. However, this year, Feb 14 is an exciting day for us as we’re going to go pick up Eleanor, our new kitten, and bring her home. Now that’s a Valentine’s Day celebration I can get behind!
However, I realise the rest of the world doesn’t share my grinchliness when it comes to Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, here are 10 beautiful, fun, and sort-of-sexy gift ideas for Valentine’s Day:
1. Blind Guardian’s Red Mirror Merlot
In the vein of “famous metal bands releasing branded alcohol,” Blind Guardian have just released a special merlot. This drop was created to celebrate the release of the band’s tenth studio album, which was released today in the US. It was produced in the Spanish growing area of Aragon (where wine has been cultivated for the last 2000 years), the wine contains notes of dragon blood, and unicorn urine. Allegedly. Unfortunately, you have to be in Germany to get your hands on this, but if you have a nice German friend they might be able to send you some over.
2. Candles from Sisters of the Black Moon
If you want to create a romantic atmosphere for your Valentine’s celebration, then try these stunning constellation and astrology candle holders. Each one is made from reclaimed wood sourced from old buildings around Philadelphia. Handcrafted by Peg & Owl for Sisters of the Black Moon. And at between $18-23, a pretty inexpensive V-day gift.
3. Steampunk Sex Toys
Because life just isn’t complete without one. Enter Lady Clankington’s Cabinet of Carnal Curiosities, where you’ll find a selection of ray-gun shaped vibrators and other erotic delights. My pick would have to be this zeppelin-shaped device, called, of course, The Red Zeppelin.
4. Bewitching Scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs
Every respectable goth knows that the only place to go for scents is Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. Every season they release a new collection of delicious, dark scents. From my favourites – the 221B Baker Street series (of course) – to the classic Bewitching Brews (from Absinthe to Yggdrasil) and the new Yule collection, which is simply stunning. All are packaged in old-fashioned apothecary bottles, and you can even buy a range of bath products such as soaps and lotions. And if you can’t choose a scent from the vast collection, consider a gift card.
Once, when I was really upset, CDH went out to buy some milk and came back with a lego Viking Ship for me. I cannot honestly remember what had made me so upset after that – I mean, look at the Vikings! Lego pretty much never stops being fun, so if you want a present that will guarantee a smile from your lover (especially if they’re having a tough time), then check out some of the awesome Lego sets around.
6. Dinosaur Smut
What gets you in the mood for lovin’? Candles, ambient music, sexy lingerie, and velociraptors … That’s right, dinosaur erotica is a thing, and if you head on over to Amazon and peruse the erotica section, you will find all sorts of delights from author Christie Sims, including Taken by the T-Rex, Ravished by the Triceratops, and Mounted by the Gryphon. I love that we live in a world where monster porn is a thing.
7. Drinking Horn from Wulflund
Wulflund is a Czech Republic store with a reputation for being one of the best places in all of Europe to buy re-enactment and replica gear. I have so much stuff from this shop and cannot vouch highly enough for the quality. If your lover loves to drink – (and there aren’t many of us who don’t) – perhaps he/she is in need of a traditional drinking horn, hand carved in a variety of Slavic, Celtic and Viking designs. These aren’t just cheap horns, they are serious works of art.
8. Valentines Cards from Agorables
Beautifully drawn and slightly creepy, Agorables cards will send just the right message to your long-distance love. I particularly love this zombie love card.
9. Funky Socks from The Asockalypse
To a sockaholic, a fresh pair of funky socks is better than flowers or chocolate or exotically-flavoured alcohol (unless it’s a really LARGE bottle …) The Asockalypse has a huge range of funky socks for every taste, and we’re offering a 10% off your entire order with the SOCKLOVE coupon code. Whether your lover is into dinosaurs or sugar skulls, there’s a sock out there for them.
10. American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen
Because nothing says “I love you” like a book of creepy art. Despite a prolific career in film and photography, Mortensen was shunned and fell into obscurity in the 1940s. Feral House have recently published a collection of his images and career, called American Grotesque, alongside a publication of Mortensen’s own A Command to Look, his treatise on psychological laws. If you lover enjoys occult artwork, this is a fascinating book they will enjoy.
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? What traditions do you and your partner use to celebrate your relationship?
The Sunken, my dark fantasy novel, is now available on Amazon.
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