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Nebraska Furniture Mart | January 19, 2019

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A Few Playful Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Your Better Half

A Few Playful Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Better Half

The year was 1988. Acid jeans and British Knights were in full effect.  Gas was only $1.08 a gallon.  And Taylor Dayne’s hit ‘Tell It To Your Heart” blared out the windows of our family wagon, a 1981 Cherry Chevy Impala complete with homemade curtains in the back.

I was in the 4th grade.  A proud military brat – daughter of a U.S. Marine.  And for whatever reason, my Mom made me rock Princess Leia buns when everyone else was obsessed with crimping and banana clips.

But that year – that was the year I was introduced to Valentine’s Day for the very first time.

Kissed by the California sun, our class hurried back to our desks after playing tetherball and four square at recess.  Usually found dusting off the golden sand trickling in from the Mojave Desert, we all quickly wiped the beads of sweat running across our foreheads awaiting our teacher to start class again.

But today was different.

Instead of her usual stoic look, she surprised us with a different energy.   This time, Mrs. Coleman greeted us with a smile as a big as Calico Basin, walking by each student’s desk, humming softly as she continued to place a single brown paper bag in front of us. Soon after giggles and whispering followed as curiosity filled the classroom wondering why our 4th grade teacher was in such a great mood.

Some of us concluded, Mrs. Coleman was actually part of a secret undercover spy service, operated by our very own parents and these paper bags somehow had random numbers tied to it.  And at any given moment, she was going to pick out numbers and these so called volunteers would undergo an unannounced sneak attack Spelling Bee!

But to our relief, those ideals were soon put to rest as Mrs. Coleman went into detail about our new project for a so-called upcoming day entitled Valentine’s Day.

For most, it was not something new.  However, in my case, I had never heard of such a day.  My parents hardly celebrated any holidays except for Christmas.  Especially because there was 5 of us.  Besides, WHO WAS THIS SO-CALLED MR. VALENTINE?  And what’s with the paper bags?  HE SERIOUSLY MUST HAVE DOGS.  I mean, why else would each student need a brown paper bags.  Clearly, Mrs. Coleman was punishing us for whatever reason and making us pick up after Mr. Valentine’s dogs during recess.

Then, all eyes were on Mrs. Coleman as she carefully pinned a brown paper bag to the classroom bulletin board.  And at all once, you could hear a domino effect of ‘Ooooohs’ instantly echo in total disbelief.  This dull paper bag was suddenly transformed into a Picasso-like montage of beautiful things.  In the middle, there was a mix of deep purple and pink lemonade hearts glued together, adorned with white frilly lace along the sides. And at the very top, her name was written in bold cursive, carefully bejeweled with shiny turquoise buttons similar to the Vanyume Tribe shell beads commonly found along the Mojave River.

Mrs. Coleman explained in detail that it was our turn to take these paper bags and turn them into our own individual Valentine’s Day bags to receive classroom goodies such as cards and candies.  I thought to myself, so we decorate these bags and we all just exchange goodies! My first impression of Valentine’s Day equated to Halloween except there were no costumes and you weren’t begging for candy.  It was sort of given to you if you had this decorated paper bag.

But as time progressed, my idea of Valentine’s Day changed over time due to the stages of my life – from being a child to womanhood and then there’s also the trials and tribulations of being single, dating, marriage, divorce, motherhood, heartache and eventually learning to love myself.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, it’s safe to say everyone has their own version of February 14th. Commonly deemed as a marketing ploy to spend money, most dread Valentine’s Day like it’s the plague.  Then there are those of us who choose to embrace it with open arms and do their best to become creative in their quest to show appreciation and love for their lucky recipient.
According to History Channel’s website, “Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.”  Or maybe you’re new to the game altogether.  Cupid’s hit you hard but you have no clue where to begin.

Whatever the case may be, we all can celebrate Valentine’s Day in our own non-traditional way.

Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles!

For those singles ready to mingle, celebrate yourself by relaxing at home.

Treat yourself to a nice bottle of bubbly.  Or if you’re like myself, Moscato Wine.  And sometimes we may find ourselves not finishing the bottle.  Hence, prepare your night with some bottle stoppers.

Or set up a Pamper night. Break out your nail polish. And apply some mud masks while watching a fun movie.  Let your feet soak in a foot bath with a few drops of essential oil to help relax and rejuvenate your well being.


Pets Need Love Too!

Show some love to your furry loved ones by greeting your pet with a Wobble Wag Giggle.  This As Seen on TV product will entertain your pet for hours and help keep them happy, healthy and fit.  No batteries are required and it makes engaging ‘Play with Me’ sounds.

Or set up shop with your furry children and bring home a pet groomer to maintain a well-groomed appearance without the professional price tag.  It’s great for all dog breeds and this super safe brush will instantly remove knots.


Get Crafty With Your Family.

Make everyone in your home feel loved by little reminders spread out among your home.

Get your kids involved by cutting out hearts together as a family and  Use markers to write on each heart positive affirmations like ‘You’re Smart’, ‘You’re Beautiful’, ‘Thank You For Being Helpful’, etc.  Then tape each heart all over your child’s door as a sweet reminder of Valentine’s Day.


Think Outside The Box!

You cannot go wrong with building a basket of your significant other’s favorite gifts for your loved ones.

My boyfriend will be getting his usual basket of favorite things:  6 pack of Coors Light Banquet, New England Patriots memorabilia, and Hershey’s Cookie Dough Bars.  Of course, his basket changes as time goes by but that’s the fun part – changing things up every year.

Another idea would be grabbing his / her favorite movie and set the mood for an awesome movie night.  Throw a couple of pillows together.  Light some scented candles.  Put together some fun snacks you both love. And just relax.  And if it’s a movie you both love, why not test each other’s knowledge with a fun game of trivia between you both.


Celebrate Everyday!

Last but not least, don’t wait to celebrate yourself or your love for another on Valentine’s Day!   Treat every day as Valentine’s Day and try your best to show appreciation – even in subtle ways.  Write something sentimental on the bathroom mirror. Bring home their favorite candy.  Or simply turn up the volume to your song, immediately take their hand, and dance in the kitchen.

Today, my daughter 9 year-old Maia rocks those same Princess Leia’s buns I once wore when I was her age.  And my youngest, Makaela, is already gearing up for her upcoming 2nd Grade Valentine’s Day party.  We’ll be grabbing a special peanut butter treat for our dog Leaka.  And of course, my boyfriend and I will most likely be couching it, trying to outsmart each other with movie trivia as we toast to another year together.
Whatever the case may be, think of your life as a bank.  Every single second is equivalent to investment into your own bank.  Make sure the time you invest in others is well spent and the time spent with you is positive, appreciated in the best possible way.  The ultimate gift you could give anyone is your time.  Best Wishes on your Valentine’s Day!

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