By Reed Alexander
What are the worst Valentine’s gifts? “People don’t want practical, functional gifts,” said relationship expert and author Susan Winter, who once received the strange gift of an oil change from a former lover for V-Day. “The idea of love and celebrate love is supposed to be something special, not routine.”
So—show your Valentine some love.
Nearly two in three Americans (both singles and those in relationships) will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, according to a newly-released survey carried out by consumer website Ebates. Of those, nearly half (48%) will go out to dinner, while 28% will celebrate at home.
Whatever you do, it’s important to get the gift right. One in three (34%) consider a night out together to be the ideal gift, followed by chocolates (32%), flowers and a thoughtful card (26%), and ultimately, a gift card (23%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the least-desired gifts were a gym membership (24%), sporting equipment (19%), kitchen appliances (16%), and a stuffed animal (15%).
Sometimes the V-Day gifts are even worse than that, as lovers confessed to Moneyish. Take Tina, 37, of Toronto, who requested that Moneyish withhold her last name. Tina recounted when a “guy who had a crush on me gave me the worst Valentine’s gift: An open box of cupcakes and only two were in there (instead of six). It turns out they were leftover cupcakes from what his sister had received from another guy.”
Carol Gee, an author who lives in Stone Mountain, Ga., said: “I am a romantic. My husband is not. The first Valentine’s Day after we were married he gave me a mixer… I was expecting dinner, lingerie, flowers. Even a simple box of chocolate bonbons.” (Although the mixer fell flat, Gee said she later discovered its propensity for making “great frosty cocktails,” so it wasn’t a total fail.)
And trainer Julie Weidenfeld of Boca Raton, Fl., says she will never live down giving her then-fiancé a special table for about $200 from a local artisan, which she felt would be perfect for the apartment he lived in in 1993 in Miami.
“I was excited because I thought he was going to say, ‘It was so thoughtful…’” Weidenfeld recalled. Instead, “he was like: ‘What the heck is this? This is not a Valentine’s Day present…’ It’s the same thing as if I were to get him a blender for Valentine’s Day,” she reflected, remembering how he felt the gift was totally out of place given the more intimate nature of the holiday.
“He was upset with me for more than a day — he must have rehashed the incident for a good month. He told his whole family [and] friends… I think it became sort of a joke.”
Experts say celebrating Valentine’s Day by giving the right gift is a reflection of how well you know your partner, and what he or she likes.
“People don’t want practical, functional gifts,” said relationship expert and author Susan Winter, who once received the strange gift of an oil change from a former lover for V-Day. “The idea of love and celebrate love is supposed to be something special, not routine.”
Her favorite picks: “I love experiential gifts,” Winter shared. This could be a hike up to a picturesque spot with a picnic, a night at the chef’s table of a decadent restaurant for a foodie, or getting your loved one onto an exclusive golf course if he or she loves the game, for example.
But she didn’t discount the power of the traditional, too. “Even a card, flowers, and chocolates on that day,” says a lot.
And etiquette expert Elaine Swann believes you can use the power of technology to make your day special.
“Use some of the really great apps that are available that can deliver an entire meal to your home,” she suggested. “Uber Eats is one of them.” Or try the app Soothe, which sends a massage therapist right to where you live, and enjoy a couples massage.
And, she added, jewelry always works: “Be very mindful of what type of box you delivery your jewelry in,” she cautioned, though. “If you’re dating someone that is expecting a proposal, make sure you don’t deliver a bracelet in box that looks like it’s going to be a ring.”
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