Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Open Thread: Your Best Valentine’s Day Gifts

Yesterday, The Frisky re-posted a fun little list I wrote last year called “20 Valentine’s Day Gifts it Would Suck to Receive,” which got me thinking: what about Valentine’s Day gifts it would be awesome to receive? Drew and I don’t typically exchange Valentine’s Day gifts (we’re one of those annoying couples who are like, “Hey, every day is Valentine’s Day!), but yesterday he brought home some beauty products (brown sugar polish from fresh) whom a woman he works with had gotten for free and couldn’t use, and I suddenly realized how fun it is to get a collection of beauty stuff. If I were a guy who really wanted to impress his girlfriend or wife, I’d go to Sephora and just fill up one of their little baskets with all those tubes and bottles of stuff they keep by the check-out line โ€” you know: hand lotions, facial creams, lip balms and glosses, body polishes, stuff like that and put everything in a pretty bag with a heartfelt card attached. Ladies, back me up here. Wouldn’t you love to be gifted a bag full of stuff like that?

What other great gift ideas do you have or what have you given or received in the past that was big hit?

61 comments… add one
  • AnitaBath February 3, 2011, 11:36 am

    I think it would be awesome if you received something like that, Wendy, but I never use all those little bottles of anything. I’d probably just forget about them until I found them in a bathroom drawer somewhere.

    When we first started dating, my boyfriend found out about my love for Burt’s Bees. He spent a lot of time finding all the Burt’s Bees stuff he could and putting together a similar basket though. Too bad he didn’t know that I already owned most of the products you can find in stores, but it was really sweet and I really appreciated it.

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    • Wendy February 3, 2011, 11:55 am

      I love Burts Bees, too โ€” always put in on my wish list around the holidays.

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    • Wolvie_girl February 3, 2011, 1:24 pm

      I’m with you AnitaB. I wouldn’t use all the tine bottles of stuff. I detest clutter, so having a million bottles of stuff around would drive me crazy! I find the one product I like and I get the industrial sized jar/tub/tube ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thankfully, my BF knows this about me, so he would know better than to buy me anything that even slightly reeks of clutter!

      I’ve actaully often wished I could get over my clutter-phobia when it came to beauty products, because I’m sure I’m missing out on great new products by using the same thing over and over, but I don’t think I have the strength to do it ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • Tudor Princess February 3, 2011, 11:54 am

    Despite your not wanting anything from Cuisinart, I would love kitchen stuff. One year (for Christmas, not Valentine’s) I got TWO KitchenAid mixers. One from my SO and one from my parents. Plus, I also got tickets to Wicked that year, too. Best. Christmas. Ever.

    I think something small, but personal, is sufficient. A book you know they’ve wanted to get, a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant, their favorite perfume/cologne. As long as it has some meaning for them, or the both of you, it should be perfect.

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    • Emsz February 3, 2011, 4:58 pm

      I would so love a Cuisinart kitchen mixer. They look so awesome and like they can handle a lot of things ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Steeze February 3, 2011, 11:54 am

    my sister and i have a major sephora addiction. cant even walk by the store or its an instand 100$ gone bye bye.

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  • MissDre February 3, 2011, 11:55 am

    All I’ve ever wanted from a man is a dozen yellow roses. You’d think this would be evident, as I have huge abstract painting of yellow roses in my apartment, it’s my display picture for everything, it’s my email signature, AND I’ve made it known that yellow roses are my favourite flower… yet I’ve never received them ๐Ÿ™ Except from my mom, cuz mom’s are the best!!!

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    • Patti February 5, 2011, 12:09 am

      So did you tell him you’d love to get a dozen yellow roses? Yellow roses aren’t exactly the valentine’s colour…if he looks up yellow roses and their meaning…he’ll get “friendship”. It might not be the flower he’s looking to give his lady. And yes sometimes guys need to be TOLD…not hinted at via paintings in your house (really?). Cause really, if I was your friend, I wouldn’t know that those were your fave either.

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  • Anne (I Go To 11) February 3, 2011, 12:00 pm

    I’m an avid knitter, so my husband could get me anything to support my knitting addiction and I’d be happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • baby.blanka February 3, 2011, 12:01 pm

    Iโ€™ve been on a nerd roll today so I am just going to keep going with that;

    Iโ€™d really like for my BF to take any money he would spend on a gift and just give it to my โ€œschool fundโ€ (which is very small, and in desperate need); I recently applied to a Masterโ€™s program and am going to need like, every penny I can get.

    I have a sneaking suspicion though, that he built me a custom arcade stick instead. If he did, itโ€™s an amazing gift as itโ€™s something I have been talking about doing for a while now; but it is still a lot of money so I am really hoping it is a flowers and candy year for us.

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  • Nuttin February 3, 2011, 12:14 pm

    I hate this “holiday!” I will even go as far to say 90% of all men hate this holiday. And the 10% that do in fact like it, own a Hallmark store, floral shop, jewelry store or restaurant. Women must know that these gifts frantically sought after on V-day are purchased not as a symbol of love but as protection from trouble. We just got though blowing our hard earned cash just over a month ago on a gift I’m willing to bet has already been returned or filed in the closet under the heading “must wear at least once with SO.” My 10 year old son has even become prey to this ridiculous day of love reckoning. Just this morning he was having a meltdown with his mother over what she needs to bring his teacher (Female) and the other 12 girls in his class, since candy hearts with cute sayings don’t suffice any longer. These 10 year old girls need “real chocolate mom, I donโ€™t want them to hassle me.” I just lowered my head and shook it, knowing so well what he will be enduring every 14th of February for the rest of his life.

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    • Emsz February 3, 2011, 4:59 pm

      He needs to bring something to all the girls in his class and his teacher?! Excuse me?
      I thought this holiday was about romantic love. Not about receiving chocolate.

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      • Nuttin February 4, 2011, 4:30 pm

        At 10 chcolate is more important then “romantic love.” Although he does have one girl he wants to send the classic “do you like me or not like me check one” note.

        Of course this has back fired on the poor boy in the past.

        Men / boys + Valentines day = stress, no matter how you look at it!

    • stina31 February 4, 2011, 12:42 pm

      That sounds like a crazy classroom/school where the kids obviously don’t understand that you’re not supposed to hassle people for gifts/don’t know what valentine’s day is supposed to be.

      I think you should save your boy some stress and maybe explain to him what valentine’s day should be about: a chance to express the way he feels to those he cares about. Maybe tell him to make some cute cards instead, if he feels obliged to bring something? Or maybe him wanting to give chocolate comes from his own pressure to impress the girls instead of pressure from the girls himself?

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      • Nuttin February 4, 2011, 4:42 pm

        You said exactly what his mother said to him…very good. And yes I believe the pressure to bring chocolate is perhaps a tad self imposed. He is very poular with the girls and back to my original point, he doesn’t want to get in “TROUBLE” with any of them. Last year his mother made different items (Chocalate) to hand out. Some girls were actually upset with him if they received something THEY deemed less then say another girl.
        I keep telling him “you will never make everyone happy.”

        He still suffers PTSD from V-day.

      • Maracuya February 5, 2011, 1:16 pm

        Pfftt, my younger brother gives out those paper valentines with one chocolate heart each to everybody. When you’re that age, you give the common paper valentines to your class and the super big ‘special’ ones that come in the box to your best friends or your puppy love crush.

        So it is written.

  • eelavocado February 3, 2011, 12:30 pm

    The best V-day gift I received was last year’s. He gave me semi-sweet chocolate chips and fruit — we melted the chocolate and made chocolate-covered everything. (We even broke out some cookies from the pantry.) It was delicious, and really fun to do together!

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    • Kristen February 3, 2011, 1:41 pm

      I really like this idea! How fun!

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    • Wolvie_girl February 3, 2011, 1:41 pm

      Love it! I’m a big beleiver in gifts that you can consume or do toghether, and this included both…Perfect!

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  • vizslalvr February 3, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I would never use a plethora of lip balms, hand lotions, face creams and all of that other stuff. I’m also one of those women who would love pretty much anything from Cuisinart. I run a food blog and keep an active “wish list” of kitchen utensils I would love to have, whereas any hand lotion would sit unused in the linen closet. I recently received a really snazzy mandolin from my fiance as a surprise “just because” gift.

    I think the main thing is knowing your audience – listen to things your significant other mentions wanting, think about their hobbies, pay attention if they’re looking wistfully at something in a catalog or in a store, etc.

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  • Pam February 3, 2011, 12:56 pm

    I haven’t recieved anything from my man for valentines save the kiddy valentines that we get our kids to exchange at school.
    I would LOVE for him to actually give me a massage or cook me a meal or do SOMETHING *FOR* me instead of showing up, sitting down and watching tv all the time. Help out WITHOUT being asked (if he moves in I will EXPECT him to know that when there are dishes in the sink he can wash them without invitation, make supper if I’m late getting home, wash clothes when the hampers are full… you know the things that women are expected to do in every house and home?)… and being PRESENT rather than tuning everyone out for football…
    this year is sucky because I am not allowed sex (due to treatment for abnormal pap) until a week later!

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    • Nuttin February 3, 2011, 1:07 pm

      OK so you do everything around the house, your husband treats you like shit and you’re worried about your abilty to have sex!?

      You’re any mans perfect Valentines Day gift!!

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    • BecBoo84 February 3, 2011, 2:01 pm

      I think you should give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift and break up with the punk!

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    • Patti February 5, 2011, 12:23 am

      Wow…I’m married and my husband still cooks “for me”. And washes dishes…even when I don’t invite him to the party. And he is in charge of his own clothes…he’s a big boy and his mommy taught him how to do his own laundry. I don’t know what football is…my husband is Scottish so he knows real football, and is still “present” if you mean involved in conversation and playing with our son? Not sure. Your year should be full of other things if you can’t have sex…should be a year of your beloved discovering many things about you…but it isn’t so it’s sad. Are you married yet? If not…just don’t…gather up your backbone and find someone who will notice you during a televised sportcast. Trust me…they’re out there.

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  • ReginaSavage February 3, 2011, 1:14 pm

    My dude and I usually do the chocolate fondue thing. Then we watch a porno and get it on! I’m usually the one to buy him chocolate and he gets me some flowers. Nothing crazy but it sure is fun!

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  • Wolvie_girl February 3, 2011, 1:33 pm

    For christmas a couple years ago, my mom gave me a pearl neclace that had belonged to her mother. When my BF saw it, he got the idea to give me peal earrings to match. When he got to the jewlrey store, he realized that the pearls weren’t exactly white, but he couldn’t remember what color they were. This was before we lived together, so he couldn’t just check my jewlery box. He kept asking me why don’t you ever wear your pearl neclace??? I wondered what his obsession was until on valentines day I got a gorgeous pair of gold-tinted pearl earrings that match my neclace perfectly!

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    • MissDre February 3, 2011, 1:38 pm

      I’m jealous! I love pearls. I’ve only received jewelry once, and while I sincerely appreciated the thought, it was SO not my style. I was a little disappointed, because I honestly felt like he didn’t know me at all.

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      • Wolvie_girl February 3, 2011, 1:47 pm

        Well, I wouldn’t be too hard on the guy, my BF has told me that buying jewelry is VERY stressful for guys because they don’t know what we will like. I’m truly lucky b/C my guy has great taste and has never made a wrong turn. (in fact, he even knows what I want before I realize I want it…it’s scary) But just b/c your guy gave you something that wasn’t your style doesn’t mean he doesn’t know you, just maybe he’s a “Style-dunce”

      • Nuttin February 3, 2011, 1:57 pm

        “Style-dunce” AKA – Not a mind reader…poor guy!

      • MissDre February 3, 2011, 2:43 pm

        I’ve only admitted my secret thoughts of disappointment. It’s not like I held it against him… Like I said, I sincerely appreciated the thought, and I proudly wore the necklace he gave me.

        So “poor guy” doesn’t really apply in this case.

        Haven’t you ever received a gift that didn’t exactly float your boat?

      • Nuttin February 4, 2011, 5:01 pm

        Oh it applies. Your summarizing your entire relationship e.g. “he didn’t know me at all” on a purchase. If every man’s ability to “know” their SO
        was based on a purchase. 90% of all men would be characterized as ignorant of their SO taste, feelings, and thus they must not care for you. A slight exaggeration but none the less you get my point.

        And yes I have received gifts that didn’t “float my boat,” but it was always because I wasn’t clear. Not that my wife doesn’t know me. She knows me better then I know me, which is scary.

      • Wolvie_girl February 4, 2011, 5:21 pm

        Lay off dude, she was just admittnig something she felt at the moment, she didn’t declare that her SO didn’t know her at b/c of a lousy gift, just that she was dissapponted and felt that in the moment.

      • MissDre February 4, 2011, 6:27 pm

        Exactly. Thanks for clarifying ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Uyzie February 4, 2011, 7:40 pm

        I second Wolvie_girl– dude, seriously, lay off! I’m all for having a male commenter who consistently ads something insightful here, with the occassional gender-barb here or there– that’s cool. But don’t be a troll who jumps down people’s throats for confessing their feelings in a place that’s supposed to be supportive.

      • Nuttin February 6, 2011, 3:02 pm

        I’m sorry I didn’t realize this was a support group.

    • Wolvie_girl February 4, 2011, 1:37 pm

      Our V-day celebrations aren’t usually so extravagant, most often just a nice dinner out and I get all dolled up, but my bf has this great habit of remembering little details or off-hand comments, and then surprising me months later with someing I totally want but never actually asked for or expected..He’s a keeper!

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  • Robin February 3, 2011, 1:49 pm

    My husband and I got each other the best Christmas present and I’m not sure what we should do for Valentine’s Day. We’ve been married for 20 years with 4 kids and we decided we go to a play once a month for a date night for the entire year. We went to our first play a couple of weeks ago and had the best night ever. I hope we can think of something just as good for V-Day. And this was HIS idea.

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  • Amber February 3, 2011, 1:55 pm

    We’re not really too big in to Valentine’s day, we keep it pretty simple. But, every year we’ve been together my bf has given me a bottle of wine,flowers and a card.

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  • silvii February 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Last year I got a pair of Panasonic headphones (those retro ones) and they doubled as a pair of ear muffs. I like the idea of pick and mix toiletries but he wouldn’t know (and would worry) about what to get me, so I’d have to be there with him.

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  • Kristina February 3, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Okay this is really cheesy and it happened when I was 13, but I loved it at the time. My ‘boyfriend’ wrote me a little poem about me, and cut each line of the poem into separate strips and throughout the day at school, gave me one more line to the poem. I have since come to hate Valentine’s Day, and I really don’t celebrate it.

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  • LaurenJ February 3, 2011, 3:09 pm

    When my husband and I were first dating I told him I did not want the same old red roses and chocolate that everyone gets for Valentine’s Day. He has always been good at getting me flowers ‘just because’ whether it’s a delivery from a florist or just a bouquet from the local market so flowers for Valentine’s Day just was not appealing to me. Wanting to do something totally different we decided to purchase each other those crazy little stuffed animals that sing and dance or say something romantic. This will be our 8th Valentine’s Day together so this year we will add two more to our collection – which currently stands at 14. It’s always fun to spend time looking for just the right ones to give to each other. It’s also been a neat tradition to get out all of the stuffed animals a couple of days before Valentine’s Day and set them out. It’s a great way to reminisce of years past. Something totally goofy but a lot of fun!

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  • abby February 3, 2011, 6:02 pm

    Last year, my boyfriend got me a home-brewing kit for Valentine’s day. BEST PRESENT EVER. I’ve never been a real big valentine’s day fan, and we’re trying to save money this year, so originally I told him not to get me anything. He said he really wanted to, so we agreed on a $20 limit. Small, and thoughtful ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Lucy February 3, 2011, 6:09 pm

    I’m insanely particular about what products I’ll use, so no, there’s pretty much no way a basket of random tubes and bottles would have more than one or maybe two things I could use. The rest would just be wasted. For me Valentine’s day is kind of close to the gift frenzy of Christmas and I’m usually not in the mood to process any more “stuff” yet. Flowers are always nice though. The one non-negotiable is a nice dinner out; I always know he’s done a half-assed job when the reservation is at 6:30 (or 10:00).

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  • thefierycrash February 3, 2011, 6:32 pm

    last year my boyfriend took me on a surprise picnic to the park where we did chocolate fondue and drank wine. we live in arizona so the weather was perfect. he did forget a bottle opener so we had to push the cork down which then exploded the wine all over him. it was pretty funny. anyway, i don’t think you’re technically allowed to drink in public but it was such a wonderful and creative date, i was so proud of him!

    and i got him a case of natty light… ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • fast eddie February 3, 2011, 7:14 pm

    I’ve done fancy and plain, expencive and frugal. One year I’d asked her where she’d like to go and she said “You make the reservation”. Instead of a reservation I left work early to pick up live lobsters, flowers, and cheese cake. By the time she got home there was a fire in fireplace, candles lit, music on low and dinner was ready to be served. Indeed it was a long passionate evening at home.

    This year I guess it’ll be KFC and Jeopardy’s IBM challenge.

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    • MissDre February 4, 2011, 9:15 am

      I think romance died with the younger generation. My ex bf told me that he didn’t believe in giving flowers, and my new bf (while being a really great man and is 100% reliable and there for me when I need him) just doesn’t seem to have a romantic bone in his body!

      Certainly in the grand scheme of things, I’d rather be with a reliable man who treats me right over a douchebag who gives me flowers… but can’t a woman have a good man AND get flowers? LoL ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • thefierycrash February 4, 2011, 6:57 pm

        My boyfriend has limited flower giving occasions to 4 times a year: birthday, anniversary, valentine’s day, and one for if i’m sick/have surgery/he needs to apologize for something. as much as i enjoy them, i think the fact that i seldom get them makes it even more special… or so i tell myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • belongsomewhere February 3, 2011, 7:19 pm

    For our anniversary last year, my boyfriend took me to a make-your-own jewelry store in our neighborhood ( http://www.brooklyncharmshop.com/ ) and we picked out a charm and chain for a necklace together. I wear it every day, so it definitely qualifies as an excellent gift. Bead and charm shops seemed to be cropping up everywhere a few years ago, and that makes both a fun date and a great gift!
    My boyfriend and I haven’t really celebrated Valentine’s Day, but we do plan to this year. I have no idea what I’m getting for him yet…the only thing he’s mentioned wanting recently is one of the Pokemon games that’s coming out in March, and that’s terribly unromantic! In the past we have exchanged include pajama sets (excellent for homebodies like us) for various occasions. For Christmas he bought me a handbag he knew I wanted but wouldn’t have spent the money on and stuffed it with a hazelnut chocolate bar and the entire Simon & Garfunkel discography.

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    • thefierycrash February 4, 2011, 7:05 pm

      THE ENTIRE SIMON & GARNFUNKEL DISCOGRAPHY?! if you guys don’t make it… send him my way! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • Ms.Irish February 3, 2011, 7:22 pm

    Valentines Day is usually low key for us, but one year my husband got inspired and reserved some time for us at an ice skating rink. He made a CD of my favorite music and we skated alone together to beautiful songs and lights.

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    • TheOtherMe2011 February 4, 2011, 3:19 pm

      best idea ever !

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    • thefierycrash February 4, 2011, 7:08 pm

      what? friends listen to endless love in the dark!

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  • Red_Lady February 3, 2011, 10:03 pm

    I think I’d be excited about a basket of beauty product for little bit – probably try everything out once or twice – but then they would all end up in the box under my bathroom sink, along with countless other lotions. lip balms etc. that I’ve received as gifts over the years.

    My best gift that I’ve received was a pirate themed scavenger hunt (I have an obsession w/ Pirates of the Caribbean) compete with “aged” clues with some clever rhymes that led to a small treasure chest which had a gift certificate to a day spa. The spa day was amazing, and the scavenger hunt itself was fun! He definitely put a lot of thought into it ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • TheOtherMe2011 February 4, 2011, 9:20 am

    I would love to have a nice evening where all I have to do is show up.

    It would be great to not have to plan anything … I love to cook but I would really appreciate if for one night, every single detail was already taken care of, the wine, the music the food and a nice bubble bath “a deux” after dinner.

    Is that too much to ask for ?

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  • Skyblossom February 4, 2011, 9:30 am

    Those little bottles of stuff don’t appeal to me at all and I would wonder why my husband got something like that for me.

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  • SGAC February 4, 2011, 10:30 am

    Ever since we started dating, I like to write a card for my husband-Valentine. Since he’s my puppy and I’m his kitty, I tend to look for cards with those motifs. When we got married, we pledged not to spend too much money on Valentine’s Day presents (no more than $20), so I tend to craft my presents for him. This year, I made “love tokens” (sculpy coins painted silver) towards various acts of affection – breakfast in bed, kisses, and things I know he’ll enjoy, eligible to be redeemed at any time.

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  • evanscr05 February 4, 2011, 11:14 am

    Our first Valentine’s Day together, my guy told me to get dressed up, and then he surprised me with dinner at a 4 star French restaurant in georgetown (a swanky subburb of D.C.). We had amazing champagne, fabulous lamb, etc. It was so much fun, we went again the next year. Last year, he got us tickets to see the Black Eyed Peas in concert (and floor seats at that!), which was a complete blast. This year, we’re going on a Caribbean cruise that leaves on the 13th (the 14th is completely at sea, and he got us reservations at a really nice steakhouse on the ship, where you dress up for a couple of hours, for that night). I hate stuffed animals, I don’t like things I can’t use, and I don’t like getting food as gifts (like chocolates, not fancy restaurants :-)), so I love that he plans outtings and experiences for us versus giving me stuff. That french food is long out of my system, but the memories are always there.

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  • stina31 February 4, 2011, 12:48 pm

    My boyfriend and I are not big on valentine’s day. He usually brings me flowers and/or chocolate and/or a car and we just spend time at home together. I don’t care to go out. I’ve never cared much for valentine’s day.

    The best gift he ever gave me was when he made me chocolates. Yes, MADE, and they all had different flavored fillings. They were delicious, I loved them, and we ate them together…but I was even more impressed when his family told me he spent 4-5 hours making them for me!

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  • LK7889 February 4, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I’m pretty much against celebrating Valentine’s Day but because our anniversary is on the 19th and we moved in together on the 6th, we end up having a romantic day in the middle of February that kind of encompasses all. This year I’m really big on getting my student loans paid off so that would be the perfect gift for me – money to pay off my debts. Normally though, I would love to get books. Take me to the book store and I’m like a kid in a candy store. Can go in one without spending $100+! So if I received a bag of cosmetics I would be disappointed that I didn’t get a book or money toward my goal of being debt-free.

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  • MissDre February 4, 2011, 6:33 pm

    This is my first Valentine’s day with my current SO. We’re going out to this new wood-oven pizza spot that offers really crazy stuff on pizzas… like roast duck or wild boar sausage. Could be interesting! We’ve been hibernating a lot this winter, so I look forward to getting out on a date together!

    As for gifts, I am not sure if he’ll get me anything. Flowers would be nice. I know how much he loves cheesecake, so I’m baking him the most decadent New York cheesecake and topping it with cherries ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Patti February 5, 2011, 12:26 am

    My hubby just informed me he bought two of my most fave outfits from Fredricks…YES!

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