How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways…
Remember when February 14th meant copious amounts of chocolate from Mom and Dad? Those carefree days when young love manifested itself in the form of a Disney-themed Valentine’s Day card and two Hershey’s kisses? All those years before you became one of those cynical people who scoffed and ridiculed the holiday. As someone who spent many a lonely single year protesting Valentine’s Day, I have inadvertently started pitching for the other team, which means the pressure is on to make the day memorable.
Contrary to popular belief, Valentine’s Day isn’t a conspiracy between Hallmark, Godiva Chocolate and Satan, to generate revenue and torture all the single souls out there. Theories on the origin of the holiday are mixed. The general consensus is based on a once upon a time where a martyr named Valentine of Rome was arrested for helping soldiers, who were banned from marriage, to shack-up. While he was jailed, he wooed the daughter of the jailer, and signed his final correspondence with the now familiar phrase, “From your Valentine.” Fast-forward a millennium or two, and world-wide spending on Valentine’s Day easily exceeds $15 billion.
The formula is tried and true – romantic dinner by candlelight, a bouquet of red roses, a heart shaped box of chocolates – but if you really want to impress your better half, why not go for something more personal? Enter monogramming.
No longer confined to the classic Egyptian-cotton wedding gift sheet-set, monogramming is definitely experiencing a bit of a revival. This oh-so-classic tradition does however have the tendency to border on ostentatious, so it is important to err on the side of caution in your shopping. Lucky for you ladies and gentlemen, I have prepared a brief overview of what I perceive to be a series of monogrammed gifts that strike a tasteful and personal balance.
A Note on Monogram Etiquette
Monogram etiquette changes from childhood to adulthood to married life; so before you purchase a monogrammed gift, consider who it is you are buying for. A second consideration is the style of the monogram itself. It is conventional for women to go with the first-last-middle initial set up, whereas men more often opt for the first-middle-last. However, it is very much so dependent on the item itself – and of course personal preference!
Monogrammed Gift Ideas for Women on Valentine’s Day
There are many gifts in an expansive price range that I’m sure will put a smile on the face of the lady in your life. For those of you tight for time with money to burn, I don’t know many gals out there that would complain about a little something from our favorite turquoise-box establishment. My recommendation: skip the tired “Return to Tiffany & Co” logo, and opt for something discreet and elegant like the above monogrammed oval locket pendant ($550, Tiffany & Co). Another excellent jewelry choice would be the monogrammed initial pendant pictured far right ($286-$895, Jennifer Zeuner – or on Etsy for less). If you are looking for something more practical, I would definitely suggest visiting Etsy for a personalized iPhone case ($25-$50, Etsy). If the above examples are either too grandiose for your pallet and/or budget, try choosing something that can be easily kept at home. Pottery Barn has many monogrammed options, most notably the above initialed mirror tray ($38-$64, Pottery Barn), and this classic throw pillow cover ($46, Pottery Barn).
Monogrammed Gift Ideas for Men on Valentine’s Day
Perhaps I am biased, but I find it much more difficult to shop for men on occasions like Valentine’s Day, as it is my fervent belief that they prefer the practical. I am, however, convinced these gifts will steer you in the right direction. First off, we have the Richmond catch-all, an excellent and handsome piece of useful décor ($52, Pottery Barn). If you are looking for something a little more useful, you can go for a sleek leather iPad sleeve ($147, Crane & Co.), or a clean-cut initialed laptop case ($72, Pottery Barn). As an even more discreet gift for all the book-lovers out there, I would suggest stamps for books, notes, and just about anything else. Whether you go for simple initials or a more personalized message, stamps like those shown above are a clever and inexpensive gift ($35, Etsy).
For All the Single People Out There
Who needs love anyway? For everyone else out there who is not throwing down money on a significant other, I would suggest buying yourself some nice monogrammed stationary, so you can send your relatives thank you notes for the pity induced chocolate care packages I hope they are sending your way. Crane and Co. makes some beautiful options – and even more beautiful themed cards for Valentine’s Day itself. If it was good enough for Eleanor Roosevelt’s annual holiday card, you can bet its good enough for you to send yourself an anonymous love letter.
Last but not Least
Because all the canine and feline furry friends out there could use some TLC too with these monogrammed pillows…