Valentine’s Day gift? Try listening instead of buying

Joyce Pemberton Columnist

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, so for those of you who are in a relationship, let this serve as a courtesy reminder to shuffle yourself over to the nearest store to buy one of those tacky, heart-shaped candy boxes for that special person in your life.

No, wait. Ignore that very bad advice.

Let’s rethink this. There’s got to be better gift options than the obvious and obnoxious, right? After all, that special someone in your life is . . . well . . . special. And worth a little more effort than the typical candy and flowers, although they are lovely.

So, let’s try and think out of the (heart-shaped) box this year, OK?

For ideas on a gift that will hopefully cause that special person to throw themselves into your waiting arms, I went where everyone else goes to get the skinny on any serious subject – Facebook.

And I simply asked, “What would you really like to receive for Valentine’s Day, and what do you think about this holiday?”

It was the middle of the day, but my phone started pinging right away, signifying responses. When I finally had time to take a look, I wasn’t surprised at all that my question had stirred a pot of opinions and ideas.

Not surprisingly, most of the sentiments were from ladies who have little or no desire for material gifts. Rather, what they long for most cannot be bought on a store shelf and does not come in a heart-shaped box.

“Hand me a hot cup of coffee in the craziness of the morning, then tell me to sit down and drink it while it’s still hot. I would love that.”

“Two words - back rub. Are you reading this, honey?”

“The best thing my husband ever gave me for Valentine’s Day was a poem he wrote. Another year he made a card using my kid’s crayons. THAT is the kind of stuff I love.”

“I want time but more than that I want attention. Turn off the TV and the computer. Put your phone away. Ask me what I’m thinking. Let’s just be us.”

“Last year my husband cooked a great meal, which was a total surprise, and even cleaned the kitchen, which was even more appreciated.”

Not everyone is a fan of this day, however;

“I have always hated this day . . . women, myself included, have high expectations that cannot be met, even by Sir Galahad himself!”

And this interesting bit of information –

What most people don’t realize, is that Valentine’s Day comes from early Roman times, on the eve of Lupercalia, which was a festival of fertility.”

Ah. That explains the mushy love stuff associated with Valentine’s Day.

I only had one response from a man, and he pretty much said it would probably be best if he said nothing.

A few of my friends pointed out how difficult this day can be for singles. So, as to not be left out of the celebration, one of my single friends said she has adopted an idea called Galantine’s Day, where you celebrate with your girlfriends on Feb. 13. “It’s like Valentine’s Day, but with your best gal pals,” she said.

I read somewhere that there are an estimated one billion cards exchanged on Valentine’s Day. This reminds me of those little Valentine’s cards we used to exchange when we were in elementary school. Remember? I loved getting those cards from classmates. It was like one big pile of adolescent affirmation.

So, before you rush out and spend your hard-earned cash on a very predictable box of chocolates, do a double take on the suggestions from my friends and consider what your significant other might really need and appreciate from you.

You might just be surprised at the rewards you reap.