Wellbeing

4 People Reveal The Worst Valentine’s Gifts They Ever Received

Whether you regard Valentine’s Day as a serious cultural celebration, a frivolous commercial entity or just plain out cheesy, there’s one thing you can count on. Come February 14, across the country, a lot of gifts will be exchanged. In 2017, that meant spending of around AUD $253 million by those married in the last five years alone.

While flowers, chocolates, dinners and wine comprise the more traditional gifts, many choose to give something less conventional and more personal. And sometimes those gifts, well, they’re pretty weird.

We spoke with four influential young Australians about the worst Valentine’s gifts they’ve ever received.

#1 Dylan Alcott OAM

The four-time Grand Slam wheelchair tennis champion, three-time Paralympic gold medallist and triple j broadcaster recalls an unexpected gift from his high school years. While in the culinary realm, it probably wasn’t the sumptuous feast Saint Valentine had in mind.

“I think the worst and weirdest gift I ever got was in 2008. My first girlfriend baked me pink love heart cookies but stuffed them up and they were black and burnt. She still gave them to me anyway. I also ate them to be nice. They were shocking.”

#2 Bella Venutti

No matter what gift you give on Valentine’s Day, the intention is the same across them all – to make the recipient feel super special. And while Venutti, lead singer and guitarist for Melbourne band IV League, certainly received something unique, it truly failed to flatter.

“The strangest Valentine’s Day gesture I’ve ever experienced came in the form of a hand written acrostic poem from a boy that was extremely bohemian and in touch with his feelings, but admittedly not so savvy when it came to channelling those emotions in written form. We were off to a strong (albeit a little clichéd) start, with the beginning:

B – beautiful
E – exciting

But when I arrived at the third letter of my name and saw ‘L – lazy eyes’ I was confused to say the least. Apparently this was his way of communicating that my eyes look dreamy when I stare off into the distance. Swing and a-miss buddy.”

#3 Max Price

As a man in his early 20s, Price, a comedian, TV writer and the creator of Priceless Productions, received an unusual Valentine’s Day gift that both surprised and delighted.

“Valentine’s Day in my relationships seems to be the only event where equality doesn’t really come into play. I’m always in charge of arranging the date night and very rarely do I get gifts.

But I got one of my few gifts, and certainly the strangest, in 2012. I was 22 and it was the third Valentine’s Day I’d shared with the same lovely lady. The pressure was on for a two-way gift exchange on the day. Clearly, her preparation was much like my preparation for my mum’s birthday—forgetting until the morning of followed by something truly underwhelming.

The gift I got was ripped up bits of paper with notes on them written in pen. It was supposed to be vouchers. There was your classic massage voucher, a dinner voucher and some sexual favours that, to be honest, were part of our routine already.

My response was blunt—there was concrete evidence that she wrote out these vouchers just before I woke up. We laughed about it…Oh, and then I cashed in one of the vouchers immediately.”

#4 Alice Rezende

As a long-term artist and graphic designer, you’d think Rezende would cherish a gift that was both handcrafted and personal. But hers proves there can be a fine line between intimate and insane, and sometimes, your own company is the best of all.

“I was in grade four and I received an anonymous, ransom-style letter, with the letters cut out of old newspapers and magazines. In the letter, someone professed their love to me. I suspect it was a kid who used to spray too much cologne when attending birthday parties and who my Mum insisted we always give lifts to. The letter told me to meet them at the sandpit behind our classroom after class. I did, and no one ever showed up. I was kind of relieved.”

There’s no doubt about it, there are some bizarre Valentine’s Day gifts out there, and 2018’s instalment is not likely to change that. But as Elle Bennetts, AFL Women’s player for Greater Western Sydney epitomises, for the most part, receiving a gift demands grace and gratitude.

“I guess it’s a pretty nice feeling receiving something special, even if it’s something small. I don’t tend to expect to receive much as I like to give gifts, so when I do receive something, it’s unexpected and I feel special and loved and grateful.”

Can’t argue with that, right?

If you’re yet to get a Valentine’s Day gift, check out this guide.


Izzy Tolhurst is a copywriter and editor. She writes about music, the arts, employment and international development. She also sings and plays an impressively amateur level of guitar in Melbourne band Go Get Mum. Find her rambling on Twitter @izzytolhurst