Men search for the perfect Valentine’s Day flowers (Khalil Senosi/AP)

Valentine’s Day Ideas: Sharing the Love on a Budget

By Meta J. Mereday


Valentine’s Day is the holiday that is safe to “bring on the heat” and “showcase the ice.” It allows couples to look for Valentines Day gifts that either “fire” the thermometer up on romance or “cool” it down with the presents such as diamonds.  

This is the holiday when women are humming, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and chilling out at a romantic location, while men are on a heated hunt for all things red and only have eyes for her.  Only the numbers will tell how the economy has impacted the “Lover’s Holiday,” but it is still a safe bet that roses and candy will still rank high on the list of Valentine’s Day ideas.

The National Retail Federation estimates just over $14 billion in spending for Valentine’s Day, averaging about $103 dollars per consumer, which is a slight increase over 2009 spending due to the economy.   Heading the list of Valentine’s Day ideas are cards, candy, flowers and jewelry, with the men coming through at least twice as much in their spending versus women.   

It is estimated that men spend close to $135 versus women spending closer to $70.  Clearly, this is a holiday for men to celebrate their significant other. So, in light of the current fiscal crunch, what are some Valentine’s Day ideas that women may be looking for from their special someone?

We asked a number of women from around the country to share their Valentine’s Day ideas to give men some suggestions that might be useful.  The ideas ranged from old fashioned and sentimental to modern and whimsical.  “I would like a Pandora’s bracelet, and then every year he could buy me a special charm to add to it,” comments Randye I. Bullock, a Detroit-based freelance public relations consultant and writer. This is the type of Valentine’s Day gift idea in the jewelry category that fits the practical giver and leaves no chance of error, but with a special twist. Maybe a charm piece you design just for her. 

For the more whimsical gift giver who wants a little more leeway to be creative, we have a west coast option.  “I would say that they should keep Valentine’s Day as special as any other day, but add a dash of spontaneity, suspense and surprise,” adds Darlene Renee, a single diva living in San Francisco.

Valentine’s Day ideas along these lines would include the romantic dinner at a unique site, for example a beach setting or a home picnic. Couple this arrangement with a personalized gift that holds special memories.  Our final respondent brings the holiday full circle and provides the ultimate, cost effective, couples experience.

“An ideal Valentine’s Day gift idea that would make me feel oh so special would be coming home to a nicely prepared candlelight dinner with soft music in the background,” shares Tiffany Braxton, a single, New York based talent agent and entrepreneur. “After dinner, we enjoy a beautiful bubble bath and indulge in chocolate covered strawberries and champagne.  We would then give each other a massage and exchange a gift bag with creative items. We end the night by each writing a haiku poem for the other, after reciting; we let love run its course!”   

Valentine’s Day ideas are as limitless as your imagination.  Let your creative juices flow while keeping an eye on your finances. Use the KISS strategy – Keep It Simple & Sensational.

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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