Nothing says “I forgot about Valentine’s Day” or “I don’t care” like a box of Whitman’s chocolates, a stuffed animal, and a Hallmark card bought from the closest drug store. If you have indeed left things to the last minute, resist the urge to pick out your Valentine’s Day gift at CVS or Walgreens. You’ll thank me later. Instead, look over this list of gift ideas that you could give your loved one this February 14th. They don’t take much time to purchase or plan, but still make it look like you actually gave it at least some forethought.
For the Technology Lover
Microsoft Zune + Zune Pass
If your loved one doesn’t yet have a portable music player, or is in need of an upgrade, this is a perfect gift. Instead of going for the now somewhat clichéd engraved iPod, I recommend looking to Apple’s rival, Microsoft, and their Zune player. While the Zune initially failed to impress the masses as the Apple iPod has, it’s grown up and matured and become a very quality device as Microsoft has paid more attention to fine-tuning things and making it a better experience. The Zune Marketplace, Microsoft’s equivalent of iTunes, is pretty cool. If you really want to go all out, pair your new Zune purchase with 12-month Zune Pass. This will allow the recipient to have access to pretty much all the music the Zune Marketplace offers on rental basis. While you don’t get to keep all of the music, you do get 10 downloads per month included with the Zune pass, and these are yours to keep. The Zune will run you anywhere from $120 to $300+, depending on the model and storage options you choose. The 12-month Zune Pass will run you $150. Customize your purchase and choose your recipient’s favorite color, or pick out a nice cover or case to go along with it, and if you have time install the Zune software on their computer and start downloading all the sappy love songs you want to pre-load for their immediate listening pleasure.
For the Movie Lover
A subscription to Netflix will allow you to watch an unlimited number of movies and television shows on your TV using a Netflix-enabled device (such as Google TV, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Roku, Apple TV, etc.). You can also watch them on any computer, your phone (with a Netflix app), and other mobile internet devices. If you pay a little extra, you can also get the standard Netflix by mail service and get DVDs and Blu-Ray discs mailed to your home. You can purchase a Netflix subscription online for a minimum of 3 months or more, and have the option of e-mailing your gift subscription or printing out a certificate. I’d recommend printing out the certificate and including it in a nice card. It starts at about $8.99 per month. If your recipient does not have a Netflix enabled device, pairing the Netflix subscription with one would be even nicer. Your cheapest option would be a Roku device, which starts at just $59. Best Buy has you covered.
Scoring dinner reservations at that ultra cool restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t gotten around to checking out might be a bit tricky on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are notoriously packed on February 14th, and even take-out can be a painful ordeal. Instead of promising to take your love out for a nice meal at another less busy time, point your web browser to www.gourmetstation.com. Had you thought about Valentine’s Day in advance you could have ordered an awesome meal and prepared it on the actual holiday, but you did not so your option at this point is to purchase one for the future. You could select the meal yourself, but why not just purchase a certificate and let your partner decide what they’d like to order. They’ll have fun visiting the website and selecting a delectable meal.
I actually got the classic beef wellington Christmas dinner from Gourmet Station a couple years ago and was extremely impressed. The beef wellington was to die for, and the tomato bisque soup was heavenly. The dessert put the meal over the top. They really make amazing food, and all you have to do is set the table and pop the food in the oven to warm it up. You could opt to order a meal from a similar service, but because I’ve tried Gourmet Station in the past, I highly recommend them.
For the Sports Fan
Opening Day Tickets
Baseball season is just around the corner and Spring Training is about to kick off. Delight the sports fan in your life with tickets to opening day. To acquire the tickets, just head out to your team’s local team shop, usually at a mall or near the ballpark. They’ll print them out for you, and all you have to do is pick up a V-Day card to put them in. If you want to give your gift a little extra punch, you could purchase a new t-shirt, hat, or jacket to pair with the tickets.
For the Romantic
The Old Stand-Bys
If your lover is the romantic type, you can pull off the chocolates and flowers. Please though, skip the drug store and at least go to the grocery store where you can likely find something a little higher quality than Whitman’s. Make them swoon even more with a nice poem or a heart-felt message written in your carefully selected card. Later, hit up Redbox to pick out a romantic comedy and order in Chinese and you’ll be set for the evening. Guys, if you’re not yet married or engaged and want to pop the question, doing it in a romantic way could get you out of getting a gift that day entirely. You’ll just have to promise to take her ring shopping.