Your Valentine might really need those jumper cables or that new vacuum cleaner, but don't expect them to jump excitedly in your arms when they open it up come Valentine's Day.
There are occasions that are perfect for helpful, useful, everyday gifts. Valentine's Day is not one of those occasions.
Yeah, it's a holiday we wouldn't be celebrating today if it weren't for the promotional efforts of jewelers, candy makers, greeting card companies and florists that stop just short of blackmail. But it's still a romantic holiday.
You want to pick out a gift that says "I love you" and "You're the most special person in the whole world to me," not, "Hey, the couch needs vacuuming under."
Put a little thought into your gift and it won't matter how much time or money spent on it, just that you were thinking of ways to show your love instead of your practical side.
No. 2: Shape up gifts
You're on your own if you are dim enough to buy the woman in your life a treadmill or any other piece of exercise equipment.
The same applies to scales, self-help books, workout DVDs, gym memberships and any other gift designed to help her "better" herself.
If there are quicker ways to derail a romantic Valentine's Day effort than planting the seeds of doubt in your better half's mind, well, we're not sure what they could be.
Valentine's Day is an opportunity to make the love of your life feel like she's beyond perfect in your mind. You want to aim for romance, unconditional love and devotion.
But the message you're sending with a fitness, diet or other self-help gift is "If you weren't such a [insert your choice of insult here], you'd be getting flowers and chocolate. Sorry, better luck next year."
Better luck to you too.
No. 1: Absolutely nothing
If your Valentine is watching her weight, candy can be an iffy proposition. Some women just aren't into jewelry and others find flowers that will soon wilt and die either depressing or a waste of money.
But even if your wife or girlfriend falls into one of those categories, you're still better off getting her one of those gifts than showing up empty-handed.
If you haven't gotten it by now, the key to a romantic Valentine's Day is expressing your love. In the end, it doesn't matter what shape that expression takes, as long as it's heartfelt.
If you can't be bothered to remember Valentine's Day with just a homemade card, a corny burned mix CD or even a simple home-cooked meal, you're telling your Valentine she wasn't worth the effort. She might just feel inclined to return the favor, but with a more direct approach.
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