The cost of love: Barbara Boyd breaks down the cost of celebrating Valentine's Day in 1986

Posted at 5:30 AM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 10:12:42-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while the pandemic has changed the way consumers make purchases, spending habits are expected to remain much the same.

The National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend more than $21 billion on gifts this year.

The top four gift categories include candy, flowers, jewelry and greeting cards.

Former WRTV consumer reporter found a similar lineup of Valentine’s Day gifts in a story she filed in February 1981.

In her report, Barbara Boyd reported Mother’s Day was the top holiday for flower-giving, followed by Valentine's Day. Boyd also found that while roses were the most popular flower to give, carnations and iris’ rose in popularity.

A dozen roses cost anywhere from $35 to $60 in 1981.

Boyd reported two out of three Americans were expected to gift candy in 1981. Everything from the classic turtles to the Cadillac of candy, the truffle.

The average price of candy in 1981 was $12-18 per pound.

Boyd also found greeting cards were popular, with prices starting at just $1.25. Consumers could also purchase a computer card for $2.95. The computer card was a kiosk that printed customized greeting cards.

As for unforgettable Valentine’s Day gifts, Boyd visited a store called Frederick’s of Hollywood, where she found an item so hot, the store could barely keep it in stock: musical lingerie.

At just $8 per pair, the underwear could play two tunes: Love Me Tender or Let Me Call You Sweetheart.