Who was St Valentine? And why did he get to have the most romantic day in the year named after him? Was he particularly charismatic, or chivalrous, or was he just a plain good-looker? Well, we'll probably never know his personal attributes, but we do know that he was a Roman priest who was around during the 3rd century AD. He was known for helping Roman soldiers get married, but unfortunately the Emperor of the time - Claudius II - had banned such a thing (married soldiers? Heaven forbid!) so poor old St Valentine was beheaded for his troubles.
Consequently, 14th February became St Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate not death by loss of one's head, but love. While it could be argued that you shouldn't wait for just one particular day to show your other half that you care about them, it is nice to have an excuse.
Flowers and chocolates are the usual Valentine's Day gifts but they're fraught with hazards! Apart from the fact that neither lasts very long, what if your loved one has a pollen allergy, or is vegan? Fortunately, there is an alternative - stationery! Most of us use some form of stationery every day - a pen springs to mind - so what better way to make your loved one think of you every day than by giving them something they use every day? And which won't droop or get eaten?
There are many ways to say it with stationery, and you could start with e+m. They make beautiful products out of wood: lovely to look at, tactile and built to last. Something to store your pens and pencils in is always handy, and they offer a great range of desk accessories including pen stands and pen trays, and - a personal favourite, mainly because of its name - the Potbelly Pen Pot. They also do pens and pencils, and useful things like pencil extenders and pencil sharpeners. Beautifully-designed and carefully manufactured to show off the grain of the wood, they're stunning in their simplicity.
If your loved one is the organised sort, they may appreciate something from our EDC collection (that's Everyday Carry, by the way). These are the sorts of things that are useful to have on your person: notebooks (perhaps in different sizes or page layouts), a refillable pen or twenty, a pen case or wallet… you get the idea. There are simple, stylish notebooks from the simply stylish Calepino; leather notebook covers and pen cases from Ruitertassen and Paper Republic; useful tool pens from Troika and truly beautiful pens from the likes of LOCLEN and Kaweco.
And while pink is the colour traditionally associated with Valentine's Day, let's face it, it's not to everybody's taste! There's no need to go swamping your loved one with pink stuff (unless they like it, of course) when there are so many other colours out there (and no less romantic either, apart from black, maybe). You could try parcelling up a few of your loved one's favourite things in their favourite colour. It could be a purple pencil case filled with purple pens, purple pencils, a purple pencil sharpener and purple paper clips. Or what about an orange sketchbook from Leuchtturm1917 accompanied by an assortment of different orange colouring pencils from Staedtler?
However you decide to show you care, whether it's with a simple Pilot G2 in green because you know that's their favourite pen, or a brass Fisher Space Pen because they're a techie type, it really is the thought that counts. If it's tailored to your loved one, it's the right gift to give. And while some of you out there may be head-over-heels in love, don't be like poor St Valentine and lose it altogether.
4 February 2019