Did you know that after Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the biggest retail holiday? That means a variety of things for you the consumer, but mostly it means the market is saturated with a plethora of heart-shaped, cutesy, not so worth it products. I have a philosophy…one that is not always popular…but here it goes. If you love someone, then saying “I love you” is a full time job, not one accomplished by dime store shrink-wrapped chocolates and plush toys holding bags of candy hearts.
Don’t get me wrong. These things were great when we were 10, but we are adults now so here are a few ways to ensure you have a classy holiday that shows you put a lot of thought into it.
The key to success if knowing your significant other’s tastes and not stepping on a land mine in the process of telling her how much you care. Yes, this article is geared mostly towards the men out there who are trying to get it right this year. However, women, you can take heed of this advice as well because I don’t know a man alive who wants a teddy bear holding a cheap satin heart.
1. Ask yourself “Do I know her tastes well enough to buy a personalized gift?” We are going to help you sort this out, but you are going to have to too.
2. What is your budget? Financial troubles as a result of overspending on Valentine’s Day are not going to help your romantic life.
3. Always be classy. You don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve style.
We have broken the choices down by the major items generally purchased for Valentine’s Day. This by no means is an all-inclusive list, but will put you on the road to victory.
Does she like it? If not, then obviously skip this traditional gift.
Does she have a favorite brand? Or favorite ingredient?
Whatever your answers to those questions, do not buy shrink wrapped, generic chocolate. We are not a big fan of the heart shaped, fake lace and Elvis velvet. You know what I am talking about. Now avoid it! A simple, elegant box with a nice ribbon is much classier.
Does she like flowers? (Remember some people are allergic to certain flowers)
Does she have a favorite? There is not a rule that says you must be red roses. I happen to love yellow roses and it would be a sign to me that my mate understood me if he bought me yellow roses instead of traditional red.
Now talk about a land mine. If you are determined to buy jewelry, consult her friends and family to find out what she likes and wants if you are not absolutely positive. Good jewelry is an expensive proposition to screw up. Avoid heart shaped anything…please, I am begging you. The act of giving her the jewelry is saying “I love you,” there is no need to tattoo it on her forehead so to speak by giving her a heart shaped necklace she feels obliged to wear all of the time.
Dinner or Brunch:
1. Go where you will both be comfortable
2. Make reservations to avoid waiting
3. If you want to try something new, go somewhere that you both have wanted to try.
4. If you are nervous about a new place and you want the perfect evening, check out the place ahead of time.
5. Be yourself. For example, if you are not a wine expert then ask for help from the staff. We women like a guy who will ask.
Or be daring…don’t go out to eat. If you are not a very good cook, order take away from a local establishment (not fast food or pizza) or hire a personal chef, and put your time into setting a beautiful table. She will be very impressed that you made the effort.
Oh yet another land mine. Do you get the feeling this holiday was meant to test the best of relationships? Be careful here. Your fantasies may not be her desires. And please, please, please again be classy not tacky. Cheap lingerie does not say “I love you.” It says “I’m cheap or you are a tramp.” If you aren’t sure about this one at all, then make it a partner activity. Tell her you want to buy her something nice and that you want to do it together.
There is no rule that your Valentine’s Day gift has to be heart shaped, red/pink or traditional. I don’t recommend buying her a blender or cordless drill, but if there is something that she has really been checking out and you can afford it, then show her that you have been paying attention and go for it.
Many places offer weekend specials for Valentine’s Day, but often are booked well in advance. As an alternative, plan a weekend away at a different time and give this to her as a gift over your Valentine’s Day dinner.
OK, we saved this one for last because it is a big one. For some reason, the multitudes feel that proposing on Valentine’s Day is the thing to do. In case you couldn’t tell from this article, I am encouraging you to think out of the box. Valentine’s Day proposals have come to be expected. Why not be different, propose at a random time and really surprise her. However, if you feel that you must succumb to the pressure, do it right. Follow all of our tips above and crank them up a notch. Again, be creative but classy. You want her to remember this special time.
So here you are at the end of the article and about ready to chuck in the towel. Don’t! We know you can do it. Take a deep breath, do not wait until the last minute and if it all seems a bit too overwhelming, call in help. Use your resources and make this a truly special day that is only the beginning of a truly special year of romance.
Indra A Books, author of this and many other lifestyle articles, is the owner and founder of ON THE GO 4 U, Personal Shoppers & Concierge Service in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The company’s creed is to provide its clients with the ultimate life management experience. In addition to its shopping and concierge services, ON THE GO 4 U also publishes a monthly e-zine and conducts workshops on wardrobe, entertaining and decorating. For more information about the author and ON THE GO 4 U, please visit
2005 Indra A Books for ON THE GO 4 U