A variety of interesting Valentine's Day traditions developed over time. For example, hundreds of years ago in England, children dressed up as adults on Valentine's Day and went singing holiday verses from door to door.
In Wales, wooden love spoons, carved with key, keyhole and heart designs, were given as gifts.
The gift of flowers on Valentine's Day probably dates to the early 1700s when Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art called "the language of flowers" to Europe. Throughout the 18th century, floral lexicons were published, allowing secrets to be exchanged with a lily or lilac, and entire conversations to take place in a bouquet of flowers. The more popular the flower, the more traditions and meanings have been associated with it.
The rose, representing love, is probably the only flower with a meaning that is universally understood. The red rose remains the most popular flower bought by men in the United States for their sweethearts. In more recent years, people have sent their sweethearts their favorite flowers, rather than automatically opting for roses. Also making the list of valentine favorites are tulips, lilies, daisies and carnations.
Among early valentine gifts were candies, usually chocolates, in heart-shaped boxes. Companies like Godiva Chocolatiers have made high quality chocolate in artistic designs and elegant wrappings a traditional Valentine's gift.
Today, just about anything goes for a Valentine's Day gift, depending on the recipient's tastes. If you're trying to move away from the traditional flowers and candy, you can always consider giving anything from stuffed animals to the latest gadgets.