Weekly Feature

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Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

February 06, 2009
by findingDulcinea Staff
Get inspiration on the Web to find your crush or significant other a Valentine's Day gift that will mean something special—or, at the very least, sound, smell or taste good!

The Gift of Song

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Mix CDs are a personal and long-lasting gift idea, especially with the Web involved: there are sites that help you make mix CDs, understand the “art” of the mix, and take advantage of catalogued mixes that other users have submitted, so you can borrow others’ mix ingenuity, in case you run out of song ideas.

Read this NPR article by the venerable indie musician Thurston Moore to learn about the “art and artifact” of the mix tape, vs. its skip-heavy counterpart, the mix CD.

The joy of mix tapes, adopted by many mix CD makers, is in the order, theme, and reasoning behind each choice. Each can be clearly indicated to the recipient of the mix: create a CD inlay with lyrics or other interesting information about each song, order the songs in a way that tells a story and even decorate the CD with the assistance of software like CDCoverCreator (for PCs) or ClickBook (for Macs).

Why not write your own love song? You can download a trial of music-making software like GarageBand and use built-in instruments and your computer’s microphone to record a romantic ditty—or a comedic one.

By Candlelight

A Valentine’s Day dinner remains the most popular choice for wooing a loved one, especially if a proposal of marriage is the goal of the evening. Several popular food Web sites cater to this trend with special Valentine’s Day dinner and dessert ideas.

Cooking video Web site iFood.tv has a great cardamom chocolate truffle recipe, and an index that lets you know how healthy each of the site’s recipes are.

Get other dessert ideas by watching more free cooking videos in the “Desserts” category on 5Min.com, the instructional video site compiled by users.

Lonely Hearts with a Purpose

If you know a friend who’s single on Valentine’s Day, make a point of getting him or her a gift that doesn’t say “pity party.” A relaxing, ego-boosting gift like a day at the spa is a great gift idea that isn’t used enough. Try SpaFinder, which organizes by zip code and has hundreds of listings around the country—and also has listings in Japan, the U.K., France and Germany.

Alternatively, get a friend a basket of Valentine’s-themed products from a cosmetic line like Lush, maker of fresh, homemade cosmetics and toiletries, or Sephora.

Got a female friend who’s single on Valentine’s Day? Throw her a pretty, bride-like bouquet for good luck using the floral delivery site FTD.

Ban the Gift Card

Men like being pampered, too, and there’s an army of men’s brands available on Sephora. But also take advantage of the number of customized retail stores opening up around the country right now to buy useful gifts that men—or women—in your life just wouldn’t expect.

Try Etsy, the online store run by creative types around the globe, who make handmade and one-of-a-kind products like shoes, jewelry, handbags, hats and clothing.

To wrap your gifts, look no further than the Container Store, which has a fabulous “Gift Wrap & Boxes” section, featuring reusable boxes, colorful bubble mailers (ideal for mix CDs), ribbons, and much more.

For children, baking and crafts—such as heart-shaped cupcakes and glittery Valentine cards—can be a great way to give and receive gifts on the 14th. See Martha Stewart’s special section on Valentine’s Day for many ideas for givers and receivers of all ages.

Love in the Wintertime

The wintertime can be especially lovely around Valentine's Day, when some of the season's biggest storms kick in. But even if you have to imagine a snowstorm, you might come by some other options: a "snowed-in meal," sans snow, a clear sky for gazing at winter constellations or a local hockey game to get your adrenaline going. Check out Beauty Den's suggestions for winter dates.

Flower Power

For quick deliverables, visit national flower delivery services like ProFlowers or FTD, which offers flowers by Vera Wang.
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