If you’re in the DC/MD/Virginia area, tune in Wednesday February 11 from 6-9 a.m. (demonstrations at 7:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m.) for my interview with FOX News’ Holly Morris. We’ll be live in Maryland to show you lots of quick and easy gift ideas for your sweetheart. I’ll post the segment later this week in case you miss it.
Holidays and an economy that is anything but blooming may seem stressful, but Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to give gifts from the heart that don’t break the bank. All of the talk about an economic stimulus makes me realize…Valentine’s Day is time for a stimulus of the heart!
If you go the jewelry, flowers, restaurant route, you can spend $50 or even hundreds of dollars without blinking. Plus, I’ve always thought that Valentine’s and New Year’s Eve restaurant options were overpriced, with limited menu choices, and harried waiters who don’t even have the time to give good service.
So, love doesn’t need to have a price tag – there are lots of way to say “I love you” for less than $15.
Here are some quick art ideas:
1. Make-your-own cards – Grab construction paper, markers, stickers, and you can make the message more personal; add a poem or picture. If you’re not up for homemade, there are great new technologies in cards including cute songs or a way to record your own personal message. Animoto.com – customize video love letters from your own photos and music and e-mail someone a slide show with lots of online extras including photos, songs, personal notes, etc. – Click here for a great Valentine’s Day example. Note – A 30-second video is free and a full-length one costs $3.
2. Paint-your-own-pottery – A coffee mug, ring holder, heart shaped plate all make great personal gifts. Think pink (and purple and red, of course) in your paint colors this week.
3. Arts and crafts stores – Check out Valentine’s Day-themed do-it-yourself crafts at places like Michael’s, A.C. Moore, Target – have a host of homemade projects even the littlest hands can do – including garden stones, mugs, picture frames.
4. Love your laminator! Even if you don’t have one at home, a laminator turns an art project into a waterproof keepsake. You can use photos or any flat material to make placemats, bookmarks, or coasters. (If you don’t own a laminator, many office supply stores will laminate for a small fee).
5. Memories are free…and priceless – Pull some old photos and make a photo book, or a memory box. Remember why you fell in love!
And some easy home entertainment tips:
6. Dim the lights, it’s movie time – Rent romantic movies – either something romantic in general or specific to when you met your spouse. Light some candles or build a fire, and make some romantic snacks like cheese or chocolate fondue.
7. Turn down the heat – Everyone’s looking to save money – turn down your heat, and snuggle up under a few blankets! In fact, you can also give a fleece blanket for a gift – simply buy a piece of fleece from the fabric store and knot the ends.
Here are some Valentine’s Day-themed treats for your tummy:
8. Pink and red dinner – There’s nothing like a homemade meal – complete with candles, soft music, and…go with the holiday’s theme – have lots of pink and red foods!
9. Bake your way into your Valentine’s heart – Heart-shaped cookies, cakes are a winner. You can also cheat and buy plain heart-shaped cookies at many grocery stores and decorate them at home so it’s semi-homemade!
And finally, some more gift ideas:
10. Shop smart – If the idea of homemade makes you itch, shop smart. Unfortunately, lots of boutiques are going out of business – shop sales – they’re everywhere. Visit the local dollar store – they’ve got lots of candles, picture frames, coffee mugs…all for $1!
11. Redeem your love through coupons – Design coupons for a free backrub, a bubble bath, a day without chores for your kids. I found a website where you can customize and print coupons for free – RomanceStuck.com.
12. Go online! There are lots of great online resources for homemade treats, crafts, and even, yes, sending a cocktail! Here are some of my favorites:
– Many websites (including The MomTiniLounge) offer free subscriptions to their blog posts – find one your sweetheart would enjoy, and sign him or her up! It’s free, personalized, and direct!
– Kaboose has great family-friendly links to crafts, recipes, etc. Click here to get directly to their Valentine’s Day ideas.
– GiveReal lets you send a glass of Champagne, a Chocolate or Pomegranate Martini, or a round of Sex and the City Cosmos redeemable at over 500,000 restaurants and bars in the United States.
• Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice Body Scrub – Fill a mason jar with the following recipe to make a sweet smelling scrub: 2 parts brown sugar, 1 part light olive oil, 1 tsp organic vanilla abstract and ½ tsp of essential oil in lavender or orange. Mix ingredients in a bowl until the sugar is well saturated and then pour into a jar. Place a cute piece of fabric on the top, tie with a ribbon, and it’s a delicious body scrub that’s good enough to eat!
• Make your own Mask gift-set: In a basket or colorful pail, add 1 avocado, 3 raw carrots, 1 egg and a jar of honey. Right before giving the gift add a small carton of chilled heavy crème. Include the following directions in the container: Make a moisturizing mask that is sure to soothe your skin and get it glowingly ready for your big event! First, cook the carrots so they are soft enough to mash, add avocado and mash until the texture is smooth. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and add to carrots and avocado mixture. Finally add ½ cup heavy crème and 3 tablespoons of honey. Mix everything together until creamy. Slather over your face and neck. Leave on for 10-15 minutes.
Do you have any last-minute, easy gift ideas? Add your comments to this post!
Have a great Valentine’s Day!