Gifts from the heart

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am

It's great when the Lunar New Year falls before February 14 - all those red packets mean you have some extra money to spend on Valentine's Day. But traditional gifts aren't always the best, so it's worth putting some thought into what you give your loved one.


Flowers and chocolates may seem overly commercial, but many girls consider them to be the absolute basics on Valentine's Day.

'It's a status symbol - you don't want people looking down on you when you walk down the street empty-handed and other girls have a bouquet in their hands,' says Vivian Chang Yan-wai, 22.

'When I was at secondary school, I thought it was sweet when a boyfriend told me the single rose he'd bought me represented my being his 'one and only'.

'But the older you get, the more you realise that was just an excuse not to spend more on you.'

But Ms Chang adds it's not the cost that counts, but how much thought is put into a gift. She says while fresh flowers are traditional, it's more impressive to receive paper or chocolate flowers handmade by the boyfriends.

Handmade crafts can be particularly exciting, even when compared to pricey brand-named items. Joanne Wong Cho-yan, 19, once received a scarf her boyfriend had knitted, and it meant far more to her than a designer one.

'I knew he was up to something when I saw him hiding stuff in his bag all the time, but I pretended not to see anything and acted surprised when I got the gift,' she says.

Both girls believe a romantic dinner is essential. But given the high cost and low quality of so many Valentine's sets, they'd rather eat something more imaginative - and cheaper - the day before or after.


Some guys also like getting a special gift from their Valentine.

Ho Chu-kei, 20, a huge Formula 1 fan, says he hopes for a practical gift from his girlfriend - like paintbrushes for his F1 models.

'It's nice to get a knitted scarf from her, but one is enough - I don't need one every year,' he said

'I want something I can use.'

But Andy Yan Ming-kai, 19, objects to the idea of even celebrating Valentine's Day.

'It's become too commercial - buying flowers that will die in two days is a waste of money,' he says. 'And dining out on Valentine's Day is expensive and the food isn't good. These things are just gimmicks to get you to spend.'

Mr Yan says he prefers to spend money on a more meaningful day, like an anniversary or birthday.

'Girls expect flowers on February 14, just because it's Valentine's Day. I think it's just a day to buy expensive flowers and eat pricey dinners,' he says.