Alt-Valentines: A 2022 guide to gifts and greetings

Boy Smells

It has become apparent that we are demanding more from traditional gift and greetings occasions and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Falling on the 14th February every year and known as a celebration of love and affection we examine how the consumer has come to expect more diversity and potential opportunities to experience more and consume less. 

For 2022 an alternative take on the traditional valentines gift and greetings trends lifts the lid on tired clichés and offers up a chance to do something a bit differently for gifts and greetings. Several years ago, the term ‘galentines’ was coined giving birth to a fresh wave of gifting opportunities and an outlet to celebrating friendships and platonic love. Traditionally, it seemed that unless you were in a couple, Valentine’s Day was a party you weren’t invited to. It was in fact Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope that came up with the concept, claiming the 13th February (Valentine’s eve) as the perfect time to celebrate the gals, girlfriend’s and best friends in your life. But what makes for the perfect alt-Valentine’s, a break from the norm and gifting that appeals to the modern consumer looking for something new that will spark the most interesting of conversations. 

There are many ways to show loved ones how much you care beyond the tradition of flowers and chocolates. Here, we look at how gifts and greetings have expanded for a number of reasons into more original ideas that people actually want and will continue to use throughout the year- rather than a flash in the pan heart-shaped gift that holds very little originality. 

“Red roses, it’s over”. 

One company that made a bold stance on their disdain for the go-to red rose was contemporary florist, Bloom & Wild. Going as far as excluding the classic dozen red roses from their assortment on the lead up to February 14th. With the slogan ‘red roses, it’s over’ they continue with a powerful message about avoiding generic and obvious romantic gestures, but instead opting for the unique, the wild and the more original. 

Their bold statement prompted the consumer to dig a bit deeper, buy what you like, what your partner, friend or family would want and dare I say, self-gift yourself a little bit of what you fancy. 

Bloom & Wild

“Dear Cupid, you’re fired” 

The humble candle is an item that has had a renaissance of sorts. Once deemed a generic buy, the candle now represents a variety of benefits and aesthetic qualities. From adding an element of wellness and a cocooning element into our homes to the dual function of adding ‘affordable’ art as a statement decoration. 

Some of the most coveted candles of the moment tap into our quest for the perfect Alt-Valentine gift, from tongue and cheek messaging with personality literally wrapped around it, to gloriously high-end casings that you will want to keep and repurpose, using for years to come. 

Candier by Ryan Porter

Candier by Ryan Porter with slogans such as ‘Dear cupid, you’re fired’ and ‘Drunk in love? Nah just drunk’ take on a refreshing and sarcastic dialogue to love, opening it up to all, excluding only those without a sense of humour. 

With these glorious status symbol scents elevating the consumers gifting possibilities, the classic dozen and box of chocolates will no longer be able to compete for our modern consumer, especially when gifting that special someone, yourself. 

Across the seasons and occasions, gifts and greetings are adopting a less traditional, less restricted and in many cases, more sustainable attitude in all categories across cards, wrap, stationery, and lifestyle goods. Our Future of Celebration report will help you understand what’s driving the consumer mood and how this will influence the future of celebration & occasion trends in 2023. 

Our Valentine’s gift to you! Listen to the perfect Alt-Valentine’s playlist curated by Laura Jolly Yan, Head of Consultancy, TrendBible.