Are you trying to figure out the perfect gift to get your sweetie for Valentine's Day?
I am a Professional Matchmaker and here's what I know...
On Valentine's Day, the most important thing to do when you are picking out a gift is to make sure it is personal and thoughtful. You need to pay attention to details and think about what your beau would really like. Do not try to replicate the gift you have given in the past to someone else just because it was a "great idea." You need to think about whether this gift is a great idea for this significant other right now. And even though most men think of it as more of a Hallmark holiday, if you are in a relationship, you need to participate like everyone else does, or you are going to end up in the doghouse for a long time! This means stepping up and doing something nice so that your gal can brag to all of her friends about what a great guy you are and what a great Valentine's Day she had!
Don't think that you have to spend a lot of money on Valentine's Day to make it special. Valentine's Day is definitely all about "the thought that counts." You can very easily make her a mix CD with all of her favorite girly music tunes, cook her or serve her a dinner of some of the foods she loves with it playing in the background, then feed her some delectable chocolates like Edward Marc chocolates while giving her a massage in the bath. This evening will cost you very little but she will remember if for a lifetime.
If you want to get her a gift that she will enjoy, but you will enjoy as well, you can get her a couple's massage. A couple's massage is a nice gift because it's something she will like and something that the two of you can do together. Pick a place like the Wall Street Bath where couples get their own room with a Jacuzzi so that the whole experience is tres romantique.
Women love jewelry, but I know the thought of picking out jewelry makes some men break out in hives. Well, here's a little tip, most of the time, just the effort of buying jewelry for a woman will make her so happy that she won't even care if it's not exactly what she would have chosen on her own. And, you don't have to buy her something off the charts expensive as long as it's thoughtful.
If you do want to try to get her the perfect piece of jewelry, all you have to do is think about your gal's style and what you have seen her wear in the past and pick something out that resembles what she already has. For example, if she wears a lot of bracelets, then buy her a bracelet, but think about the style of bracelet she tends to sport. If she wears bold statement bracelets, go ahead and get her a chunky modern bracelet like one from Judith Haas Jewelry and she'll love it. Or if your girl loves necklaces, go with a necklace, but think about what types of necklaces you have seen her wear in the past. If she wears things that are more romantic, go with a romantic and daintier multi-strand necklace from a jeweler like Mickey Lynn or if she is more of an accessorizing woman who likes to choose pieces that compliment her outfits, choose a Chanel-esque necklace from a company like Karine Sultan. Then, if she is a ring chick, go ahead and pick out a great ring for her, but make sure it looks nothing like an engagement ring (unless that is your intention) because this can stir up a big conversation that you probably don't want to be having on Valentine's Day! You will be safe if you go with a large and very unique statement ring like the ones from Terry Ross.
If jewelry isn't your thing, women also love handbags. I wouldn't go with a designer bag because those are handbags that women carry every day so she would probably want to choose that herself. Instead, I would recommend that you go with a more unique handbag that she might use on special occasions; a handbag that will make her think of you the whole evening as she is carrying it. I love the bags from Bougainvillea; they are jeweled, elegant and fun all at the same time.
If you are dating a woman who prides herself on being understated and elegant, cashmere is a great way to go. Cashmere is timeless, classy and versatile. I love the cashmere from Rani Arabella especially the scrumptious throws and the broad array of sweaters. Pick a color that you know she loves and that will add an extra special touch to your choice.
If you are dating a wine lover, why not add some originality to the great bottle of wine you are playing to buy? You can get that bottle, drink it together and toast your relationship but you can also add to it a piece of art that focuses on wine. I love the pop art triptych called "Bottle of White" from Elementem -- it's something that will make your beau think of you every time a new bottle of wine is opened.
Creativity counts a lot on Valentine's Day as well. If you have the time to do this, a great creative gift is for you to make your honey a "love coupon book." In it, you can put a variety of coupons like "one chick flick pick," "one breakfast in bed," "one body massage," "one guy's night out," "one beer and wings night" etc. This is creative, inexpensive and can be very personal to your relationship.
If your gal is an exercise buff or if she has been talking about trying a new kind of exercise like Pilates, a nice gift is a Pilates package at a studio like Center for Movement. At a studio like this you can get her a Pilates package, a gyrotonics package or a combination of the two. However, a word of advice on this gift, make sure she is the one who has been jonzing to start taking Pilates, rather than you just jonzing for her to have a Pilates body; you definitely don't want to cause that kind of fight on Valentine's Day!
And if you aren't in a special relationship this Valentine's Day, you should go ahead and get yourself a gift anyway. Why not, you deserve it! A great idea is to bring in a professional cleaning service into your home and let them clean and organize for you, soup to nuts. You can call a service like Great Green Cleaning and they will do it all. There is nothing better than having a clean and organized home to give you a new lease on life and make you feel revitalized to go out there and find a sweetheart of your very own.
Samantha Daniels is a well known professional matchmaker, President of Samantha's Table Matchmaking and the author of "Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern Day Matchmaker" (Simon & Schuster). You can read more from Samantha on her personal blog, Matchmaker in the Know. Follow Samantha Daniels on Twitter @Matchmakersd.