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Valentine's Day lessons from the Love Etiquette: Lizzie Post's top 5 gift tips
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you may still be searching for what gift to get your sweetheart, wondering if your thoughtful purchase is appropriate, and questioning if your valentine will actually appreciate what you give.
Lizzie Post, consultant to the American Express Platinum Concierge and great-great granddaughter to the original etiquette expert Emily Post, takes on common Valentine’s Day gift woes and suggests creative options whether you are newly dating or have been married for more than 40 years. Just call her the Logical Love Expert.
Post is considered such an etiquette miracle worker that she was even brought in to help the cast of Jersey Shore in a memorable issue of Harper's Bazaar.
For new or casual relationships, Post advises to first see if you want to celebrate together. If so, sharing an event or experience is a good idea.
“Spending time together is what’s most important,” Post tells CultureMap. “Instead of buying chocolates, take a chocolate making class. Instead of buying flowers, have a picnic in a botanical garden.”
For married couples who have spent many Valentine’s Days and anniversaries together, Post suggests getting creative and putting in some extra effort. Whether it's tickets to a sold-out show or an adventurous trip.
For couples with young children, making the holiday a family occasion is one way to go.
“Valentine’s Day is a great time to do an art project together and make cards for friends and grandparents,” says Post, who is also spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute . “I also think it’s nice to buy classic books in hardcover and read them together throughout the year.”
This gift guru also says to not get bummed if you don’t have a valentine.
“One year, I had a boyfriend who gave me three roses and then gave one each of the other nine to my girlfriends without a valentine," she says. "He wanted them to know they were great friends to us and they loved feeling appreciated too.”
Lizzie Post’s five tips for buying appropriate Valentine’s Day gifts:
- Know your valentine. Know if this person likes to go out or stay home, if they expect chocolates or not.
- Know your budget. Don’t spend if it’s too much of a stretch. There are lots of experiences that don’t have a price tag that are great like taking a walk, cooking dinner together or making handmade cards.
- Know your sexy. You must know if your valentine likes lingerie and what style. Make sure you buy the right size.
- Listen to hints. Your valentine may drop hints about how they want to spend the holiday, or they may mention things that they like and dislike. Pay attention for gift buying.
- Keep it going. A really great idea is a home garden kit or herb garden instead of a dozen roses. You can use these for months and replant. Also you can do a 365-day photo project where you take one picture of something special each day, like a meal or an outfit or an outing together. Once completed, it becomes your Valentine’s Day gift for the next year.
Post's final etiquette tip is that mailing a handwritten card is always superior to e-mail or an e-card. It’s a keepsake and allows a personal message that you can save. And you are never too old to mail your parents and grandparents a valentine too.
Houston is a great place to get creative, try a new restaurant, walk in a park, or pickup dinner and a movie. Get planning, it’s almost here. Share your own clever ideas in the comments.