First and foremost, you must have chocolate for you and your honey. Chocolate and Valentine's Day go hand-in-hand, and we'd be surprised if anyone managed to survive the holiday without it. Since it's completely acceptable to indulge, why not go for a chocolate that's actually worth gorging on? Godiva is the gold standard, and this True Love Heart Box ($23 at Godiva.com) is quite festive, with its heart-shaped box and cinnamon and raspberry flavors. Of course, if you want to make chocolate more of a production, people are endlessly entertained by fondue. This HWI Metro 11 Piece Fondue Set in Red ($22.49 at Home Depot) turns chocolate into the joyful (and sometimes messy) main event for your evening. Be sure to have an assortment of dippers on hand, from fresh fruit to butter cookies.
Valentine's Day is not the time to view the new action/gross out/tragedy film at the box office. Nothing but a romantic comedy makes sense, but if your significant other just can't handle super sappy plots, try an unlikely love story like About A Boy (our personal favorite), for just $9.99 at Amazon.com. The friendship between Hugh Grant and a 12-year-old boy, and how they respectively teach each other about love, is enough to entertain the most stubbornly anti-romantic comedy viewer. However, if over the top drama is in order, we suggest the BBC mini-series, Pride and Prejudice ($19.89 at Overstock.com). Jane Austen's exquisite tale of restrained lust, longing, and love is perfect for Valentine's Day. Plus, Colin Firth plays Mr. Darcy. Yes, please. After the movie, your idea of entertainment may wander toward the less innocent. Valentine's Day is a time to have fun, even if it is a bit naughty. We quite like these Naughty and Nice Sex Coupons ($5.95 at Urban Outfitters) as a way to direct the evening. An example: Nice -- This coupon is good for one relaxing foot massage. Naughty -- well… you'll have to check it out for yourself. At the very least, you'll be amused while reading them to one another.
Most people shy away from champagne because they think only the special occasions deserve it. But what occasion could be more deserving than a celebration of love? Besides, the bubbly certainly sets the tone for the evening. Our absolute favorite non-vintage champagne is the dry Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label ($39.99 at Wine.com). It's on par with Moet, but a more interesting choice. If that's a bit more than your budget allows, we also have a penchant for Francis Coppola's Niebaum-Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blancs. While not technically champagne (it comes from California, rather than the Champagne region of France), the pink cellophane wrapping gets us giddy with delight and works well with the Valentine theme. Plus, it costs $20 less than the Veuve, pricing in at $19.99 (LiquorOutletWineCellars.com). Finally, if you're in a financial pinch, Cristalino NV Brut Cava ($8.29 at Wine.com) is a perfectly respectable choice. Like the Sofia, it's not technically champagne (it comes from Spain), but it still evokes that ritzy ambience that only the pop of sparkling wine can lend. All you need to do after that is light a wonderfully scented candle, like these Illume Boulangerie Tins ($14 at Anthropologie), which smell likes various confections.
Clever gift idea:
The sentimental tradition of the mix tape has sadly suffered since the cassette tape became outdated. We love the precious way in which people carefully choose songs that say what they want to say, but can't (and the ensuing way in which the respective lovers pine over every word). Urban Outfitters resurrects the poignant tradition with the Mix Tape USB Stick for $22; even the packaging – a USB key that snaps into a fake tape – harks back to retro forms of courtship, allowing the new digital generation to continue the romantic gesture.
Don't let your Valentine's Day fall flat this year; be sure to pick up a few of our selections for the ultimate holiday. And even if you're sans a Valentine, you can still have a delightful February 14th by combining our picks with some good friends. After all, who doesn't love to commiserate with champagne and chocolate? Even the sex coupons will give rise to a good laugh. We would suggest a movie change however, as love stories can be a downer. Perhaps Reality Bites?
-- Lindsay Sakraida