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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Frugal Valentine’s Day gifts

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – well, for us, super-organized folks anyway!  But generally, Valentine Day is coming up and many people are fretting about giving a gift that A. doesn’t break the bank and B. means the right thing.
Let’s start with B. Buying a gift for a girlfriend or boyfriend is tricky, especially on Valentine’s Day.  If you don’t buy anything or buy something silly, the other will be insulted; if you buy something too serious, the other will either be scared or think you are ready to propose and will be hurt later (unless you want to propose).  I have compiled a list of affordable gifts in two categories: serious, for the couple that has been together for a long time and are planning to be together for many more months (or years) and less serious, for the couple that is starting a relationship or has a casual one.  None of these gifts are expensive, which takes care of A, above, adequately.  Some will need some preparation though, which is why I am posting now and not a week before February 14th.
romantic – make sure you mean it!
more fun – less meaningful
- a piece of costume jewelry purchased secretly at an event you both went to
- a collage of souvenirs from the past xx months together (ticket stubs; café logos; photos)
- a dollar-store mini photo album full of photos of the two of you
- a CD (or memory key) of your favorite songs
- ONE flower (a favorite one? one similar to another from a special event?)
- a quilted cushion of his/her one ruined but favorite T-shirt
- your honey’s favorite dish by his/her mom, cooked by you (you need to obtain the recipe from potential mother-in-law first)
- a duplicate of an old ‘stuffy’ (a.k.a. teddy bear) modelled from an old photograph
- a poem about the other person or the two of you written by you (or a song if you are the musical type)
- an local artist’s portrait of the two of you done from a photo (if you have artistic talent, you could do this)
- a home baked cake (from a mix if you want) shaped like a heart
- a favorite chocolate bar x 5 – wrapped nicely
- a silly picture your honey, framed (cheap frames can be purchased at the dollar store), with your comment on the back.
- your favorite comic book so you can read it together
- your honey’s favorite dessert, homemade
-  a coin of the year he or she was born (check your own coins or a flea market – yes, an indoor one!)
-  tickets for a festival your honey really wants to go to but to which you are lukewarm (attending an event for another one is a great proof of love)
- a scarf, knitted by you, to match his/her winter coat and the university’s colors
- a funny or silly card and a plastic flower – the tackier the better
- a mason jar full of candies – pink Smarties, chocolate covered raisins, anything that is pink, red, or chocolate
Of course, not everyone is part of a couple; and there is nothing wrong with that.  It’s sometimes hard to feel this way when there is a whole bunch of commercial marketing about a holiday that celebrates couples. In my mind, this holiday should be about love and friendship too.  I like to send my mom (who lives alone) a great big card telling her I love her.  My single friends too, get a phone call or a card, and when I was single, we’d get a group of friends together and either go out and party, or watch funny movies together; this way we did not feel out of the hype of anticipation.  This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, which means restaurants will be full so I would opt out for something at home, like a heart-shape cake and fun with all my single friends, or just some close, single, girlfriends.
And whether you are in love or not this Valentine’s Day, enjoy the day, the discounted chocolate on the 15th, and dress in red or pink!  

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