A V-Day Gift Guide That WON’T Bankrupt You

Jasmine: For this year as well as last, Andrew and I have mutually agreed to keep our gift budget for Valentine’s Day below $50 per person. I don’t know about you, but I’m rather sick of hearing about all the exorbitant spending that goes on in the name of “romance”: jacked-up restaurant prices, inflated florist fees (Andrew would know this better than me though, heh) and outrageous demands for big-ticket items i.e. diamonds and iWhatevers. The spending has spiralled so out of control that even discount sites like Groupon are getting in on the V-day act and offering half-price bouquets and dinners!

Here are a few simple and meaningful gifts that you can buy, or better still, make for your significant other this February the 14th:

1. This Is For You by Rob Ryan

This is an ideal gift for a Die-Hard Romantic (DHR as Andrew has coined it), people who don’t like to read lengthy pieces or just anyone who’s even remotely into design and illustration. The story is told entirely through exquisite papercuts and at $15 USD, a really sweet gift and an even sweeter deal.

2. Compile your own poetry anthology

Some of Andrew and my favourites are Carol Ann Duffy’s “Valentine” (he introduced it to me in Lit class), Harold Pinter’s “It Is Here” and Veronica Shoffstall’s “After A While”. And if you’re buying her flowers, why not send along a card that carries this lovely little poem by William Carlos Williams:

THE ACT

There were the roses, in the rain.
Don’t cut them, I pleaded.
They won’t last, she said.
But they’re so beautiful
where they are.
Agh, we were all beautiful once, she said,
and cut them and gave them to me
in my hand.

Don’t just stop at poetry! Weave in lyrics from your favourite songs and even funny conversations that you’ve had. One classic metrosexual quote from Andrew that I’ve been dying to put up (we were discussing how he could blog about his starter collection of four watches):

Andrew: I need to buy another watch. Because four watches do not a post make.

3. A bouquet of vintage brooches

I really, really *cough* adore this idea! Many sellers on Etsy make gorgeous versions of this bouquet but alas, they retail for a couple hundred bucks apiece. Why not get creative and source your own vintage brooches? If you run out of options, fret not- there’s always the hair clip section at Accessorize 🙂

4. Cinema Under The Stars

Set up your own Cinema Under The Stars (CUTS). Download an old black-and-white film and watch it together atop Mount Faber, complete with your favourite movie snacks! You can never go wrong with feel-good favourites such as

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Swing Time, starring the legendary Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
  • French Can Can (for foreign film buffs- this is a charming 1960s film by Jean Renoir)
  • Black Swan (included in this shortlist for its swoon-worthy cinematography and costumes by Rodarte but do be warned that this is a psychological suspense thriller rated M-18!)

5. Supporting your other half’s pastimes/ hobbies

According to pop-psych theories, this kind of “gift” says that you value her and you value what she values or considers to be an important part of herself. You could surprise your other half by signing her up for that photography class that she’s always wanted to go for or buying him functional items that would support his hobby i.e. a tie rack if he’s into ties.

A case to store watches… A sign of things to come??

Andrew is very good at this and will occasionally buy me paper flowers, sequins or other inexpensive items to support my penchant for scrapbooking. One other thing that I really appreciate about Andrew is how he allows our dates to be “hijacked” by a quick browse in some scrapbook store. He may complain (alot) about it, but he has never begrudged me that time to hunt down that perfect ribbon in Spotlight or Daiso. Time is one of the best gifts you can give!

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