Plus, other gifts that don’t suck
What do you give the man who has everything on Valentine’s Day — including a former stint as President of the United States?
If you’re like Michelle Obama, the perfect playlist will do.
The former FLOTUS tweeted out a Spotify playlist of 44 songs — likely a reference to Obama’s service as the 44th President — which she titled “Forever Mine: Michelle to Barack.”
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 14, 2018
The list includes many aptly-named tunes like “Forever Mine,” “Always Be My Baby,” and “All of Me,” with a selection of artists as broad-ranging as Beyoncé to Barry White, and John Legend to Diana Ross.
This Valentine’s Day, it might be worth making like the former First Couple and celebrating with something simple — after all, V-Day gifts, if mishandled, can make painful rifts.
Indeed, according to a recent WalletHub survey, you’re not even guaranteed safety if you give a gift card: 21% of survey respondents said they’re the absolute worst gift you can get, versus 26%, who say they’re the best.
“I think if you get the proper type of gift card that’s going to fit that individual, then it can win you some cool points because it shows you really put in a great deal of thought in terms of what that person would really enjoy,” said etiquette expert Elaine Swann. Swann believes a gift card can give recipients a lot of flexibility to buy what they love most — but can also be problematic, because, on the flip side, “it can seem impersonal,” she warned.
“If your gift card is last-minute and it’s more of an afterthought, the person will be able to recognize that right away, and that could really get you into a lot of trouble in your relationship.”
Be sure to watch out for other gifts, too: According to a survey from consumer website Ebates, the other most undesirable items include a gym membership (24% ranked this as the least likeable), sporting equipment (19%), kitchen appliances (16%), and a stuffed animal (15%).
So, after all that, what’s safe to give? One in three respondents (34%) consider a night out together to be the ideal gift, followed by chocolates (32%), and flowers and a thoughtful card (26%).
If you do happen to get the gift wrong, take solace in knowing that your faux pas probably won’t compare to the heart wrenching mistakes that other loves have made.
Take Tina, 37, of Toronto, who requested that Moneyish withhold her last name. Tina described her horror when a “guy who had a crush on me gave me the worst Valentine’s gift: An open box of cupcakes and only two were in there (instead of six). It turns out they were leftover cupcakes from what his sister had received from another guy.”
“[The] worst part was that have gave me the cupcakes at a bus stop in front of a bunch of people and made a big scene trying to show off,” she added. “It was so embarrassing.”
Carol Gee, an author who lives in Stone Mountain, Ga., said: “I am a romantic. My husband is not. The first Valentine’s Day after we were married he gave me a mixer… I was expecting dinner, lingerie, flowers. Even a simple box of chocolate bonbons.” (Although the mixer fell flat, Gee said she later discovered its propensity for making “great frosty cocktails,” so it wasn’t a total fail.)
And trainer Julie Weidenfeld of Boca Raton, Fl., says she will never live down giving her then-fiancé a special table for about $200 from a local artisan, which she felt would be perfect for the apartment he lived in in 1993 in Miami.
“I was excited because I thought he was going to say, ‘It was so thoughtful…'” Weidenfeld recalled. Instead, “he was like: ‘What the heck is this? This is not a Valentine’s Day present…’ It’s the same thing as if I were to get him a blender for Valentine’s Day,” she reflected, remembering how he felt the gift was totally out of place given the more intimate nature of the holiday.
“He was upset with me for more than a day — he must have rehashed the incident for a good month. He told his whole family [and] friends… I think it became sort of a joke.”
Experts say celebrating Valentine’s Day by giving the right gift is a reflection of how well you know your partner, and what he or she likes.
“People don’t want practical, functional gifts,” said relationship expert and author Susan Winter, who once received the strange gift of an oil change from a former lover for V-Day. “The idea of love and celebrate love is supposed to be something special, not routine.”
Her favorite picks: “I love experiential gifts,” Winter shared. This could be a hike up to a picturesque spot with a picnic, a night at the chef’s table of a decadent restaurant for a foodie, or getting your loved one onto an exclusive golf course if he or she loves the game, for example.
But she didn’t discount the power of the traditional, too. “Even a card, flowers, and chocolates on that day,” says a lot.
And Swann believes you can use the power of technology to make your day special.
“Use some of the really great apps that are available that can deliver an entire meal to your home,” she suggested. “Uber Eats is one of them.” Or try the app Soothe, which sends a massage therapist right to where you live, and enjoy a couples’ massage.
And, Swann added, jewelry always works: “Be very mindful of what type of box you delivery your jewelry in,” she cautioned, though. “If you’re dating someone that is expecting a proposal, make sure you don’t deliver a bracelet in box that looks like it’s going to be a ring.”
This story was originally published on Feb. 4th, 2018, and has since been updated.
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