By Emily Eiermann
Once February rolls around, cliché boxes of chocolates, heart-shaped jewelry and red roses line the aisles at many stores. With a little creativity, however, you can surprise your significant other or friends with something a little more meaningful this Valentine’s Day.
Stuffed animals are a huge hit for women, judging by the overwhelming number of teddy bears that pop up in shops. For those who want a unique twist on stuffed toys, vermontteddybear.com has a Valentine’s Day section. The page offers things such as the “I’ve Fallen For You” bear, complete with bandaged head, crutch and cast; the pirate-themed “Hooked On You” bear; and the “Great Catch” fisherman bear, among others. While prices are a bit steep, it is a cute option for those who appreciate plush toys.
Flowers are great, but after a week, they begin to wilt and have to be thrown away. Valentine’s Day-themed cookie bouquets are a good alternative, like those found on gourmet-cookie-bouquets.com. For a healthier option, ediblearrangements.com offers fruit baskets. These have practical uses and will last longer than the traditional flower bouquets.
For a new take on an old favorite, mrchocolate.com offers special Valentine’s Day options, including bars that spell out “I heart U” and, for those who are single, a “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” box of chocolates that has a prediction under each piece of chocolate. Createmychocolate.com is another site for the more adventurous, offering toppings such as spices and candied flower petals.
Another traditional gift idea for those on a budget is to create something heartfelt for your significant other. Many choose to write love letters, poems and songs to express their emotions. This is a good opportunity to express your thoughts in a sweet, albeit cliché way. For those who aren’t known for their writing ability, romeosmagic.com offers a generator that will help you organize your thoughts into a love poem while keeping it fairly personal.
For a unique twist, handwrite the letter and enclose it in an envelope. Address this to your sweetheart, then place this into another envelope. This one should be addressed as Postmaster, Attn: Valentines and sent to Loveland, CO 80537. The Loveland Chamber of Commerce receives and forwards your letter onto the recipient, postmarking it LOVEland and stamping onto it a four-line poem.
For another cheap option, chocolate candy hearts can be easily created at home with just plastic heart-shaped molds, colored candy melts and a plastic sandwich bag. After placing the candy melts in the bag and heating them in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, all you need to do is pour the melted candy into the molds and stick them in the refrigerator until set. Crafts.kaboose.com offers some decorating tips and other options for these simple treats.
While being in a relationship has its perks, those who are single should not be forgotten. Perpetualkid.com offers some anti-Valentine’s Day gifts, such as a book titled “Breakups & Rejections,” blackmail postcards and for the vindictive, an ex-voodoo knife set. Zazzle.com has an entire section devoted to the cause, featuring T-shirts, cards, bags and other novelties. For the recently heart-broken and bitter, a short e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org can provide you with a custom-made “hate piñata,” which can be personalized to resemble your past lover.
With a little shopping around and some creativity, it’s not difficult to find some unique options for Valentine’s Day this year.