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Impress Your Valentine's Day Crush (Without Embarrassing Yourself)

There's pretty much no better time to show your crush that you like them than on Valentine's Day. But what's the best way to do that without embarrassing yourself?
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You've been eyeing him or her for a while. You shared a drink at happy hour, you saved them a seat at your friend's recent birthday dinner and there's no denying that you've got a crush. The crush is possibly the most exhilarating stage of liking someone. What's not to love about the chase, the butterflies, and the hope? There's pretty much no better time to show your crush that you like them than on Valentine's Day. But what's the best way to do that without embarrassing yourself? Especially since often the people you develop crushes on are the ones you see all the time either at work or in your social circle, so you don't exactly want to make too bold a move and have to face it over and over every time you see them. One good rule of thumb is not to spend a lot of money. You want to send your crush the message that you've been thinking of them, but you don't want to go overboard and seem like a stalker, either. Valentine's Day gifts for your crush should be a whisper not a shout. Read on for some more thoughtful but low-risk ideas to help you get the message across to your crush this Valentine's Day!

When I was in fourth grade, I got my crush a Caramello chocolate bar on Valentine's Day and put it in his cubby with an anonymous note. Caramello was the nickname he had for me, so I knew he would know it was me. He never did say anything to me about the chocolate, but the next day in school he held my hand and we pretty much started dating, or the fourth-grade equivalent of dating anyway. As an adult it really isn't that different; it's just updated... slightly.

How have you told a crush that you liked them and how did it go? Comment below!

An inside joke or a particular shared interest is actually a great place to start. Do you and your crush share a love for an obscure band whose only seven-inch is recently out of print? Or, what about those hard lavender candies you brought back from France that one time that you instantly devoured together? These gifts are perfect, not only in their uniqueness and specificity to the two of you, but also in the challenge they each present. Locating rare music and French candy isn't impossible, but it's difficult; it shows you really went the extra mile.

You can't go wrong with Valentine's Day candy, but forget the stuffed animals. A giant Hershey's kiss and some conversation hearts are classic, simple ways to say, "I heart you." These gifts are sweet, in concept and in taste, and they are guaranteed to give your crush the right idea about your intentions. Plus, they aren't expensive so you won't scare them away with pricey indulgences. Stuffed animals can feel too child-like and mushy. Steer clear.

Write a "like" letter. For 364 days a year a love letter is a tricky thing to pull off. But take advantage of the "go" pass on the one day you've got it. Though beware, you should probably have a strong sense, or at least some feeling, that your crush likes you back or this could get a little awkward. That said, last Valentine's Day I co-ran a love-letter-writing booth at a local Valentine's Day market. I helped people type on an actual typewriter, seal and send love letters to their crushes. Our advice was to keep it simple and sweet, which they did and it worked! (One man sent us an email saying so a few weeks later.) A love letter doesn't mean you have to confess every last feeling you have for your crush. Save something for later! A simple, "Hey, I like you," can go a long way.

Make a mix CD. Nothing says "I love you" like a soundtrack full of songs that literally say "I love you," or imply that you have feelings, or perhaps simply includes some of your favorite tracks that you think your crush will love too. Either way, you'll be sending a message. As for how to send that message, you can go the classic route and make your crush a burned CD complete with album art, or you can handcraft a free music playlist online and send it. If you're feeling both ambitious and nostalgic, you might even want to consider making a classic mix tape. The real risk you'll be taking here won't be with your heart; it will be taking a chance on whether or not your crush has a cassette player and will be able to listen to the mix you made. No matter what format you choose, be sure to think carefully about the songs you select. Don't include anything too hateful, angry or disrespectful in case your crush is trying to read between the lines.

Give them something homemade. The best Valentine's Day gift I ever got was a hand-carved stamp of my initials with things my crush knew I liked in teeny-tiny detail. It showed he had really given thought to what I might like, had spent time on it. I loved it! I used that stamp for years before I lost track of it in a move. Other homemade gift ideas are red-hots-infused vodka, red velvet cupcakes, heart-shaped cookies or anything that implies Valentine's Day, really. If you want to take your efforts to the next level, you might even consider taking a class on how to make something different like macarons, the adorable French cookies, and then make them for your crush! You'll learn a new skill and impress your crush at the same time.

So this Valentine's Day, breathe in some of the love that will be in the air and tell your crush how you feel!

Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.

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