Trends & Inspiration

Valentine’s Day Gifting Nightmares

Valentine’s Day Gifting Nightmares

At some point in our lives, we will probably come across an occasion where we’ve had to bite our tongue and keep quiet about a present we have received. Likewise, there have also likely been moments when we haven’t been too proud of ourselves when it comes to the gifts we’ve given. Sometimes, intentions have been good, and others? Not so much.

With Valentine’s Day coming up on February 14th, it’s likely that the date has been on your mind at some point if you’re coupled up. This isn’t going to be an ordinary gift guide. Folks, we’ve surveyed 1215 lovers out there on the worst valentine’s day gifts – that they’ve either received or given, so you know what to keep clear from. We’ve also quizzed our respondents on what makes a good and bad Valentine’s present. 

Having received a colourful range of responses, we thought we’d share our findings with you. Some of them may genuinely shock you, make you feel better about yourself, our worse yet – make you feel like “yep, I am guilty of one of these mishaps.” 

Worst Valentine’s Gifts People Have Ever Received

bad valentine's day gifts

Everyone has their own individual ways of thinking, when it comes to gift-giving, which makes it both an art and a science. Some, however, may take it to new levels of straight-up weirdness. One of the questions we asked was, “The worst Valentine’s present I received was…?” and honestly, kudos to those who gave some honest answers. Have a read of just a small selection of responses we received:

  • A stuffed bear stolen from a card shop
  • A Christmas bauble
  • A two-person sweater that is joined at the hip
  • A blow up doll
  • A 99p personalised keyring with no photo in it
  • A mould of his penis
  • A packet of bacon, sausages & carton of eggs to make him breakfast
  • Toilet brush in shape of a dolphin 
  • Toy hamster that had nunchuks that sings kung fu fighting 
  • Car hoover (don’t own a car)
  • Shabby maids outfit that was apparently sexy 
  • Nothing spent money weed 
  • Twin set, same as mother in law
  • Pandora charms, he found back of his car seat 
  • A packet of Malteasers that was out of date

So, what do the responses say about the kinds of presents that would be considered as being awful? The most common theme we gathered was that the gifts in question (or questionable gifts, however you want to put it) lacked thoughtfulness or a personal element unique to that person’s relationship. 

Gifting someone a car hoover when they don’t own a car, let alone have a valid driving license, for example, is a sure-fire way of letting your partner know that you don’t know them at all. Someone may have taken the old “you’re my partner in crime” a little too seriously by stealing a stuffed bear from a card shop, but we’ll let you decide on whether that’s romantic or repulsive. 

Ensure that your Valentine’s Day isn’t one from hell by thinking about your partner’s likes and dislikes. Is there anything they’ve recently spoken about that they’ve thought about buying? How about something sentimental, like something personalised with their initials? Chances are, your partner isn’t looking for grand gestures – they just want the present to reflect the uniqueness of your relationship!

We also asked not one, but two rather heavy questions: whether you have ever ended a relationship over a Valentine’s Day present, along with whether you have ever ended a relationship in order to avoid buying a present.

With the overwhelming majority responding no to both questions, there were still a few out there that have been brave enough to call it a day. It’s a tricky time of year for some to navigate, so being open and honest with your partner about your collective expectations should hopefully keep your relationship afloat.

Gifting Budgets

How do you know whether to splurge or spend on your partner when it comes to this special day for lovebirds? And would you feel comfortable if your partner spent a certain amount on a gift for you? Check out what our respondents had to say on this below:


valentine's day budget

Nearly half of all our respondents said that they would spend between £10 and £25 on a gift (47%). 20% opted for a budget in the range of £25 and £50, 13% kept it to £10 and under, and those that spent more than £50 on their partner made up 20% of the responses.

In reality, there is no right or wrong amount to spend on your beau. Your ability to splash out on them depends on so many different factors, including how much disposable income they have, and even their partner’s preferences for gifts. Again, we think it’s safe to say that thoughtfulness is really the most powerful antidote to any successful gift come Valentine’s Day. A smile on your other half’s face is something money can’t buy! Think twice about mouldy Malteasers, though.

What’s The Secret to a Great Valentine’s Day Gift?

Is it sugar, spice, and everything nice? The question we’re all thinking, and the answer we’re all dying to know is about to be revealed, courtesy of the data we’ve gathered.

Those that participated in our survey were asked what makes a bad present. Here are their thoughts:

What would make a bad Valentine’s present?
Cheap 13%
Tacky 30%
Shows they don’t know me  83%
No thought 70%
Overtly sexual 13%
Sexist 27%
Boring 13%
Impractical 13%


Respondents had the option to choose multiple options. The option with the highest response was a gift that “shows that they don’t know” me (83%), followed closely by “no thought” (70%). Again, intentionality and thoughtfulness is a key driver of wow-ing your better half. Among the responses were also a disdain for tacky presents (30%), and the kinds of gifts that give off sexist vibes (27%). 

Time to look into the positives – what did our survey reveal in terms of great Valentine’s day presents? Take a look at what we found:


What would make a great Valentine’s present?
Thoughtful 100%
Expensive 0
Known Brand 3%
Quality 23%
Personal 73%
Funny 43%
Naughty 13%


All of the participants chose “thoughtful” (100%) as being a key ingredient to making a great prezzie, with 73% also choosing that they want it to be “personal” to them. This directly mirrors the responses we received regarding people’s worst presents, where many were left feeling like they lacked a personal touch. A personal element, therefore, goes a long, long way in making your loved ones happy when it comes to gift-giving. 

We all love a laugh, with 43% also saying they think “funny” presents are the bee’s knees. Surprisingly, not a single person in our survey said that they think an “expensive” gift is what makes it great, suggesting that even those that like living life in the lavish lane aren’t too fussed about whether or not someone has spent a mortgage payment on a gift.

Final Thoughts: Be Thoughtful!

There’s no doubt that being in a relationship can bring a lot of positives, like having someone to share gossip with, steal chips from, go on adventures to the fridge with, and so much more. At the same time, they can be a minefield, too. Buying presents can be really tricky and a high-pressure task which means some may fall short of expectations, creating tension and hostility. 

But, this needn’t be the case. When in doubt, keep it personal and thoughtful. Think about their favourite films, food, the place you first met, their favourite colour, something they can wear that will remind them of you – basically anything that shows them that it wasn’t a last-minute job!

So, to all you lovers out there, fret not. IWOOT have got your back – from chocolates and waffle makers to satisfy your lover with a sweet tooth, to experience days to pamper your partner, there’s a Valentine’s gift ideas for all persuasions. Shop our full range now!


We surveyed 1215 Lookfantastic and IWOOT customers using a Google Form that was distributed and asked eight questions regarding the worst presents they received, what makes a good and bad present, gifting budgets, whether they had ended a relationship over a gift received and whether they’d ended one to avoid giving one in the first place. The majority of our respondents were also female. All responses were anonymous, however, those that participated were able to enter into a prize draw to win £50 in IWOOT vouchers by leaving their email details.

Maham Azam

Maham Azam

Writer and expert

With her love for live music, Maham is usually on the hunt for her next gig to go to and is a fan of hip hop, soul, and funk. As an International Relations graduate, she can also be found travelling, but mostly eating her way around different cuisines.