So, maybe this year you want to give a valentine that will seal the deal. Or heal a rift. Or simply say, “I love you!” If this isn’t your first time at the valentine rodeo, you already know there are many, many things a valentine can say—and that a lot of fraught hand-wringing can go into finding just the right one to send just the right message. Then again, for some people there is no hand-wringing (or thinking) at all. If that’s your style then you’re on your own, sweetie! If that’s not your style, we’ve got some great ideas for you.
Avoid the Heartache and Ponder These
Here we come to save the (Valentine’s) day! This week’s Friday Five brings an array of heartfelt options sure to get you calibrated and connected for a sweetheart of a celebration.
1. First, get a little perspective. If you’re one of those … er … precedent-loving types, you’re interested in what others have done.* This year, H&RBlock has an infographic that guides you through the valentine maze with some hard facts about what men like, what women like, how much to spend and where lovers who spend the most live. It is bound to get you in the mood for some thought-provoking valentine-ing. (If you know what we mean.)
2. Go for broke. Literally. If this is to be the valentine that broke the bank at Monte Carlo, then we’re either talking gemstones or world travel. A person can go way wrong with a gem: Is it a diamond? If so, what does it mean? If it isn’t a diamond, why not? (Again, you know what we mean.) But the world is full of romantic places set to whisper in someone’s ear, “I want to be alone with you.” Travel + Leisure just released its list of 2012 Romantic Winter Getaways. So quick, go pour yourself a cup, close the door and settle in to cruise through these 20 luscious sites—and then start packing. Glass igloos. Moroccan villages. Mexico. The Cloud Forest. Whitewater rafting. Can’t find what you want there? We’ll share our current favorite fantasy: The Como Shambhala Hotel & Resort near Uma Ubud, Bali. Sigh. (Just in case anyone wants to know.)
3. It’s the thought that counts. All that exotic travel too rich for your checkbook? Well, never mind. The Internet is abuzz with ideas that cost nothing, or next to it, to impress with the thought required rather than the investment. Obviously you know how to Google “frugal valentine,” but here are three spots to get you started. First, the Daily Buzz’s 10 Frugal Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas focuses on the thoughtful-but-cheap. (Don’t miss the interspersed links, where you’ll get great advice like How to Get the Best Price for Roses.) Next, the Today Show’s Money page features 10 Tips for a Fun—But Frugal—Valentine’s Day. Finally, you’ll find Inspired Valentine’s Day Gifts on a Budget—with his and hers tips—on the Frugal Dad blog.
4. There’s always chocolate. The simplest, most-likely-to-succeed valentine is always made of chocolate. Really, how can you go wrong with a substance “proven” to replace sex for women? So hustle over to your nearest confectioner, or surf to Chocolate.com where you can order absolutely anything to do with chocolate. (Except, of course, Robert Rankin’s book, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, which might possibly suit your love better if he has no sweet tooth.) If your sweetheart is chocolate averse, you can still blow her away with the world’s largest gummy bear, or surprise him with a genius subscription to Zingerman’s Bacon Club. (Sorry, the deli’s “Praise the Lard” porky gift boxes are sold out for Valentine’s.) Want to make it yourself? Select a non-chocolate option from this knee-weakening collection of Valentine’s desserts from RealSimple.
5. Don’t lose your sense of humor. You may have a situation where you just aren’t sure a serious valentine is the order of the day. Have we been dating long enough? Would I be moving too fast if I showed up with roses? Would he think a serious gift was just too weird? If that’s the case, Network World’s Eight Unsexy Valentine’s iPhone Apps is the list for you. Because, really, if you can’t have a good laugh together … maybe this isn’t the one!
*Speaking of precedent, we’re still crazy for the options offered in our 2011 Valentine guide. (More chocolate!)