By Tracy Brant at Dateable.com
the overpriced flowers, cliché heart-shaped candy box,
and predictable greeting cards. Show your significant
other that you care enough to put serious thought into
the gift. Nothing says "I love you" like paying attention.
of you just hate Valentine's Day as a commercialized
artificial demand to demonstrate your affection by shopping…
get over it. You don't have to spend a lot of money
or observe the floral ritual, but can you really afford
give the impression that you are the Curmudgeon of Romance?
I think not. This is not the time to be an activist.
If you must, do something special on February 13th to
register your disgust with the system. But do something.
requires you to spend some time thinking about the object
of your affection. What do they like to do? Do they
collect something? Is there something they keep meaning
to do for themselves that you can do for them? An indulgence
or small luxury you can treat them to?
you rush off to eBay to find a gift… there is a No-No
List. For a woman, no matter how much she needs one,
do NOT buy her a vacuum cleaner or a handy car emergency
kit. "I just want to make your life easier, honey!"
Time and place, dude… make her life easier with a new
mulch shovel on Arbor Day, not The Big Romance Day.
Same goes for men's gifts; even if they really want
a riding mower, save it for a birthday. Certainly don't
buy them the tools they need to fix YOUR car. Or a gift
that reflects the job you want them to get, the clothes
you think they should start wearing, or the healthy
habit you think they should have.
should show that you spent time, and thought, not money.
Sure, some people love expensive gifts, but more likely,
it will look like you spent money to hide the fact that
you couldn't think of something good. If you spend a
bundle, do it because you tracked down something rare
and wonderful. Never spend big money if money is a big
issue in your relationship. Spend time, not cash.
what is on the Yes-Yes List?
OF SERVICE. Give a weekend of your time fixing or cleaning
everything that needs it, without making the person
feel be-holdin' for it. Give a gift certificate for
a meal you cook and clean-up after, especially if you
never do that. Even if you can't cook, the effort will
be both amusing and thoughtful. Do dishes for the first
time in your life… find someone who knows how and ask
them. The fact that you did that will be impressive.
Give a weekend of your time waiting on her (or him)
hand and foot. Fetch her purse, open every door, call
her m'lady and focus on what she wants next. Ever painted
someone's toenails? Be her loyal servant for a day or
two (and see what you learn about her.)
OF ORIGINALITY. Did you know that you can hire an artist
for a reasonable sum and get custom art or illustration.
Have a favorite poem illuminated by a calligrapher.
Make something with your own hands… jewelry, art, pottery,
carving, or his portrait in tile mosaic… walk around
an art store for ideas. Or have something with personal
importance framed elaborately… a cocktail napkin you
saved from your first date… the ticket stubs from the
movie where you first whispered, "I love you."
OF COLLECTABILITY. Do they love a particular author,
actor, or movie? Track down a first edition book, a
movie theater lobby poster, or an autographed item.
Buy a sheet of uncut collector cards for sports teams,
comic book heros, or fantasy games. Movie animation
cells, rare recordings, and hard-to-get editions from
other countries… all of these show you did some work
to get them something they will love.
OF ROMANCE. These are particularly special if you are
normally not a sappy, gushing, romantic fool. Have trouble
expressing your feeling in words? Spend time writing
her a poem or an essay about what she means to you.
Give the gift of attention… remove all the things that
normally keep you from relaxing together. That can be
tough for working families. Farm out the kids, put away
the work, ignore the undone housework, and spent time
reminiscing about why you love about each other. Make
a lot of all the things you like about the other person
and read it out loud. Make the list loooong and feed
him/her a candy heart or peeled grape with each item.
"Over the top" is the key. Be a fool for her/him.
OF RELAXATION. Get a fancy hotel room in your own city,
order in room service, and watch movies for a whole
weekend. If your partner has kids, YOU arrange the babysitter
(enlist a relative). Give her a certificate for a spa
weekend or a women's retreat. Give him a afternoon at
a men's spa for his first facial and massage. Get lightly-scented
massage oil and set up a "spa" at home.. perhaps hire
a professional massage therapist to give you his-n-hers
massage or foot reflexology.
the idea? Put away your credit card and start brainstorming…
Valentine's Day is just round the corner.
© Dateable.com LLC 2002