Valentine’s Day is both celebrated and dreaded all over the world — the former, because it is after all a tribute to love; and the latter, because it entails a lot of planning and effort to make the occasion even more special and meaningful.
Men, especially, approach Valentine’s Day with much trepidation. Says Marc, a graphic designer, “My girlfriend has such high expectations for Valentine’s Day and we’ve been together for five years now! So that means her standards go up every year! It’s really a lot of pressure.”
To make things easier for guys all over the world, a few guys and gals were asked to share their thoughts on winning Valentine’s Day gift ideas for women. Here are their suggestions:
Eric is what one might call the non-demonstrative type. He and Jacqueline have been together for more than a decade now, and are blessed with three children. Yet, in all their years together, the couple has never celebrated Valentine’s Day. Eric, a Chinese-American, has his reasons: “Things are more expensive around that time of the year — flowers, chocolates, wine, you name it. Plus, we have to deal with traffic jams and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in restaurants. So, forget it!”
But what Eric didn’t know was that warm-hearted, secretly romantic Jacqueline was yearning to be wooed on this special day. “I didn’t want to tell him, because I wanted the gesture to be his idea,” she confesses. “What’s the point of telling him, right? If it really came from him, then it would be more meaningful and sincere.”
Serendipitously, Eric finally saw the light when he saw his male co-workers hurrying home one Valentine’s Day. “I was thinking of putting on some hours after work to avoid the rush, and then it occurred to me that I’d be all alone, as everyone was going out on V-dates that night,” he shares. “Then I thought of Jacqueline, who would be going home after work to our three kids, cooking dinner, and going through all the motions of being a mom. Suddenly, I had this urge to surprise her with flowers.”
So he did, and Jacqueline almost burst into tears when she saw her husband holding a beautiful bouquet. “I felt so cherished,” she says.
The bottom line: Women don’t need grand gestures and lavish presents in order to feel loved. The cliché “It’s the thought that counts” is a cliché for this very reason. Keep it simple and sincere, and any woman will appreciate the thoughtful gesture.
Men are hardwired to give material gifts, as the decision-making process is easier, so to speak. But these presents can be personalized to convey sincerity and make women feel extra special during Valentine’s Day. Here are some ideas.
Lingerie. To add more fun to this already naughty gift, Lester has this tip: “I bought lingerie that I know my girlfriend, Crystal, will like. And it’s also a set that I like. Then, I asked her to wear it during our date on Valentine’s Day. You can guess the rest,” he grins mischievously.
Jewelry. It’s a given that women love receiving jewelry as gifts. But with so many options to choose from — earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, even brooches —Barbara dishes out this suggestion to help men narrow down the choices and make a seemingly normal gift special: “Have it specially engraved with her initials, or both of your initials, or a date that’s meaningful to you both.”
Weekend getaway. Women often complain that their guys are workaholics. Says Janie, “My boyfriend, Matt, is so into his work that we’ve often argued about it.” But the good thing was that, one particular Valentine’s Day, Matt deliberately took the day and weekend off to go on a romantic rendezvous with Janie. He booked them on a beach trip to the Maldives — a trip that proved to be just what their relationship needed, as they rediscovered that “honeymoon” feeling they both felt in the early stages of their relationship. “If Matt didn’t work so hard, he wouldn’t have been able to afford this trip!” Janie now laughs at the irony. The couple has since made it a tradition to go out of town every Valentine’s Day.
Spa treatment for two. This is one gift that both men and women will enjoy. Plan a “couple spa day” with the works — manicure, pedicure, body scrub, massage, you name it. Give the lady free rein over what specific treatments will be availed and aromatherapy oil/s to be used — the gift is for her after all. Affordable Alternatives
Love letters. In this day and age, handwritten letters and snail mail are practically unheard of. Text messages and emails are the means to convey notes of love. No woman will be able to resist an actual handwritten love letter, spelling mistakes and all (in fact, all those X’s and rubbed-out scratches will only make this labor of love even more endearing). Pair it with a nice — yet affordable — bouquet and any lady will definitely melt.
Offer to cook dinner — and do the dishes. Women love being waited on hand and foot, and they will surely appreciate men doing the chores for a change, even for just a day. Jacqueline remembers feeling so pleased and touched when Eric offered to do her chores and put the kids to bed that same Valentine’s Day when he first bought her flowers. “I’ve always felt that I was the one pulling more weight in the household,” she says. “It felt nice to be treated like a queen for a change.” Another alternative is to take her out for a picnic under the stars — with food that the guy has prepared. Champagne, candles, and flowers are a nice, romantic touch.
Don’t be afraid to take the mushy route. Gifts that come from the heart don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Women, even the least romantic of the lot, will appreciate heartfelt labors of love. Scrapbooks, photo collages, or anything handmade commemorating the relationship is sure to be a hit with ladies everywhere.