|What women really want on Valentine's
|By Teri Cettina
Guess what, guys? It's not a dozen long-stemmed red
roses and a pricey box of chocolates that women get all misty-eyed
over when mid-February rolls around each year. True, retailers love
to push these traditional heart-day gifts, but most women would
be far more impressed by a simpler -- and often less-expensive --
gift that somehow touches her heart.
It really is the thought that counts -- not that you thought
to get something, but that you put some thought into what
you got. You'll make your sweetheart feel special by picking gifts
that connect with her personal passions rather than falling back
on the same old same old, which, in effect, is telling her you didn't
care enough to put any thought into it.
Usually, expensive means very little. "In fact, depending
on where a couple is in their relationship, extravagant gifts like
expensive lingerie or fancy chocolates can seem overwhelming," says
author and etiquette and gift-giving expert Leah
Ingram. "If you've just started dating, a big gift can imply
more depth to the relationship than is really there. It can also
be awkward if the guy splurges on a big Valentine's gift, but the
woman doesn't do the same."
Men in married or long-term relationships can also take heart:
your sweethearts, too, can be wowed by relatively inexpensive but
thoughtful gestures, says author Robyn Spizman, author of "Make
it Memorable" and "The Giftionary."
"Woo her with a single rose, with a note attached
that says, 'You're my one and only.' Or on Valentine's morning,
cut self-stick notes into heart shapes, write something sweet, and
leave them in key places: her bathroom mirror, the refrigerator
or her car door.
"More than expensive gifts, women want their men
to show them that they truly cherish them. By doing a little homework
and paying attention to the things their loved one really cares
about, men can make women feel adored," Spizman says. "It's not
Here are some other creative and modestly priced Valentine's ideas for gift-challenged men:
Show a special feature:
Invite her to your place for a special movie night, complete with
popcorn and hot cocoa. Show that you've been thinking of her by
buying her favorite romantic movie online (again, it's OK to ask
her for movie suggestions without revealing your entire plan). Check
for movie deals at sites like Deep
Discount DVD or compare prices at comparison sites like My
Simon or Froogle.Google.com.
A few favorite feminine V-Day flicks: "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've
Got Mail," "An Affair to Remember" and "Love Actually." If you're
a little on the artsy side and don't mind subtitles, try "Like Water
for Chocolate," from Mexico.
Say it in your own words: Who needs Shakespeare? Many women, including Fawn Fitter of San Francisco, say a heartfelt card is worth its weight in gold. "Not some verse from Hallmark, just something sweet in his own handwriting. That's all it takes," she says.
Eat in: "Dinner he cooks,
instead of going out to some fancy, overpriced restaurant," is something
Meg Charendoff of Elkins Park, Pa., says she would especially cherish
on Valentine's Day. After all, many women hate the crowded restaurant
scene on Feb. 14 as much as men do. Or how about breakfast in bed?
If you've got even a shred of culinary talent, get up early and
prepare her favorite -- pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream,
perhaps, with hot coffee, a carafe of mimosa and two champagne glasses.
Make a public display:
For guys looking for something a little out of the ordinary, Spizman
likes the personalized "pop art" certificate at Gallery
of Love. For $34.95, the site will personalize a comic-book
art-type certificate that your sweetie can hang on her wall as a
reminder of your love. If you're on a budget, you may wish to frame
the certificate yourself -- if you purchase a frame at the site,
your gift will tip over into the $100-plus price range.