Valentine’s Day Plan Of Attack

Calling old man Valentine a “saint” is rather a stretch, don’t you think? He who sneaks up behind us so soon after Christmas, making sugarcoated threats about our wallets and our relationships…or simply reminding us that we have neither? And who does this “cupid” guy think he is—Legolas? Ha! Justin Timberlake might as well try to pass himself off as Bono.

Prepare yourselves, friends! The great pink holiday is already marching, and if you want to celebrate the 14th without having to survive a Hallmark heart attack on the 13th, let these ideas get you thinking (and wishing … and hoping … and praying … and planning …)

[GIFT IDEAS]

Paint something (other than her car, guys). Get a canvas and let loose. Abstract is in! If a blank canvas scares you to tears, go to a paint-your-own-pottery place and stick with simple designs on a bowl or a vase.

Girls, get him a gift certificate to Best Buy, then actually go to the store with him, follow him around for hours and let him explain to you what every product does and how it works.

Burn a compilation CD of your favorite songs, or if you go with another theme, go with something less obvious than love: perhaps songs that all have either “boy” or “girl” in the title, or songs by artists who are from your sweet’s home state.

Send your sweet to the spa for a massage on Saturday morning (Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year).

Assemble a “now’s the time” kit. Has he always talked about writing and illustrating his own comic book? Get him how-to books, artist’s pens and markers, a sketchpad and a list of publishers’ websites. Has she always wanted to learn how to restore furniture? Find an old dresser or rocker at a flea market, get a how-to book and the necessary supplies at the hardware store.

Give to charity, sponsor a child or donate blood in her/his name.

Have something framed: a favorite snapshot of the two of you, or his favorite picture of him and his brother playing in the snow when they were kids. Did she visit Italy last year and fall in love with it? Find an old map of Italy and frame it. What about the cover or title page of his favorite book? How about that eighth grade flag football certificate he’s so proud of?

Make him/her a music video with the help of your friends, a camcorder and a funny-but-meaningful song.

Get a “classy” gift: photography classes, yoga classes, tuba classes…

[TRADITION WITH A TWIST]

Instead of flowers, get her the bulbs of her favorite flowers and gardening tools.

Instead of chocolates, get a chocolate fondue set and enjoy it together.

If you make dinner, have each course represent part of his heritage.

If jewelry is too expensive (or too committal), consider a music box or a jewelry box (all the better if you make it!)

[KISS-OF-DEATH GIFTS] (i.e., avoid these, guys)

Any kind of appliance

Anything airbrushed

Just a card with the explanation “I know you’re not very materialistic, so…”

[GREAT DATE IDEAS]

Take your sweet to an observatory if he/she likes to stargaze.

Enjoy all of your favorite restaurants in one night: have an appetizer here, soup and salad there, the main course here, dessert there…

Read to one another from classics like Romeo and Juliet.

Create a revised version of your least favorite fairy tale with a camcorder.

Build a bonfire in the backyard and make dinner over the fire.

Go sledding or ice skating, or build a snowman.

See Also

Buy a disposable camera, drive around and take ridiculous pictures of one another in silly places.

Take the day off work and spend it visiting places you’ve been meaning to get to, like the art museum or the wildlife reserve. Better yet, arrange the day off for him/her as a surprise (if a cool boss is involved).

Cheer on your local high school at their basketball or hockey game.

Take a train ride on Saturday to somewhere neither of you have been.

Learn how to dance. Go to a ballroom dancing or waltz class.

If you don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day, invite your other dateless friends over for a cheesy Valentine gift exchange (e.g., a putridly pink teddy bear that sings “That’s Amore” when you press his belly).

[KISS-OF-DEATH DATES] (again, guys, these are for you)

Your folks’ house for some of momma’s cookin’

Any restaurant that has an arcade inside

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CHEAP WAYS TO SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’

MORE CHEAP WAYS TO SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’

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