Spice it up this Valentine’s Day
For Charlotte Andrews, a special occasion gift-basket designer, Valentine’s Day was a dreaded period. Amidst all the love and joyous feelings afloat, she had the annual impossible task of finding the perfect gift for her husband of 20 years, Reginald.
While other occasions were just as difficult, Valentine’s Day was always more so. She has always felt that the day of love is a more female-centric occasion, with so few men’s gifts easily available during this season.
However, after a few years of taking the easy way out and getting her husband a gift basket or certificate, Andrews found some cute but interesting ideas to rejuvenate
her Valentine’s Day gift-giving task.
“I find that the traditional flowers and chocolates are over-killed year after year, but I still would say that they are the simplest and most traditonal of gifts,”said the 54-year-old.
“But instead of a bunch of cut roses, it would be a good idea to get your loved one a rose bush, so that she can have roses all year round instead of just on the day. It’s environmentally-friendlier and it helps you and your loved one spend time together gardening and nurturing your plant of love.
“It’s also nice to go the non-traditional route of getting your loved one uncommon flowers instead of the standard rose. Some local floral shops do bouquets from local flowering plants and those are nice and more visually appealing than a dozen red roses. Also if you are going to do chocolate, instead of a typical box from the store, visit one of the local chocolate shops where they have really nice homemade chocolate in local flavors like guava, dilly or even soursop. It’s still chocolate, but you get to hand pick which ones you want to give your loved one. It makes this typical gift a little different and more special than usual,”said Andrews.
The gift-giver also said that another great gesture she has found that works well in quelling the humdrum of the same old gifts is getting a pet together for the occasion.
“I know it’s not all that original to get your partner a pet on V-Day, but it still is great because it not only brings you together more to take care of your new responsibility, but it prepares couples headed down the marital road or at least toward children to know a fraction of the depth of responsibility, love and change a child can bring into your life.
“However, although it is cute, there are some things you should be careful of with this kind of gift. You have to be wary of whether your loved one is allergic to pets or has a home compatible to housing one. With dogs you will need to have a closed-in yard whether they are house dogs or not, because at some point they will get outside and you don’t want them to get hurt. A dog house is also needed if it’s an outside dog, and keep in mind that you will need to get the pet immunization shots and spayed or neutered to ensure that your gift doesn’t become a financial burden should the pet get extremely sick or have puppies you can’t take care of.”
The third best gift Andrews has come across throughout the years is simple scrap-booking. She says that this gift is more for couples who have been together for a while and have a lot of memories and momentos from special occasions.
“This is a fun project for men and women,”she said.”It’s just about making an album of your time together. It’s usually more appropriate for anniversaries but it works well for Valentine’s Day too. Get a nice empty scrap book that you like and lots of colored papers and decorations that you think are fitting. Then start pasting and arranging the album with pictures from your first date, holidays together, special moments of achievement or whatever you both cherish in your relationship. Or if you are a technology-inclined person, making a DVD of your special moments is just as nice. It’s not only a relatively inexpensive gift but it is lasting and shows a depth of love, thoughtfulness and care.”
Instead of going to a fancy restaurant for Valentine’s Day like every other couple, the gift-guru said that organizing a private picnic and setting up a private movie or game night is a light-hearted but fun way to spend the day.
“This is one of my favorite ideas. If you aren’t up to the stresses of the traditional home-made dinner idea then this will work well for you. You can go to the beach, a favorite private spot, your backyard even for this. Just visit a local deli to get a some light specialty sandwiches, cakes, fruits and drinks if you don’t have the time to prepare the basket yourself. You have more time to bask in each other this way and not be distracted by other couples. It’s quiet and you can talk the night away until you’re ready to go home and throw in a favorite movie or play a’competitive’game of checkers or backgammon while eating dessert.”
If your budget for Valentine’s Day is on the high end then this next idea should tickle your fancy, according to Andrews.
“Another great idea I have had throughout the years is to take a day trip to a Family Island for the special day. I mean if you have the money, a trip to the U.S. can be nice too, but I prefer the local feel of visiting a Family Island.
“Instead of catching a plane you can catch the fast ferry to somewhere like Eleuthera and spend time enjoying the cool breeze and ocean view. Once there, you can visit local sights and enjoy the charms of the island. And most islands have at least one major hotel or development that you can visit for the day. Also take the time to check out their pool and restaurants so you can enjoy the local cuisine. I have done this a few times and gone to Freeport, Eleuthera, Abaco and Exuma and I just loved it. I am sure that this is a great option for the spontaneous, adventure-loving couple. You may say you can do this in Nassau but it won’t be as much fun with so many other couples with the same idea crowding the same spots.”
So don’t let this Valentine’s Day be another mundane one. Feel free to spice it up and work outside the box this year. There are many more ideas out there and maybe you’ll come up with something fascinating on your own this year that you and your”love bug”will adore, said Andrews.