By DENISE de VINES
A little innovation can take romance to new heights, according to regional merchandising experts The way in which you present your Valentine’s Day gift can be equally as important as choosing the right gift. Take, for instance, the very popular gift of flowers.
"Women like to receive flowers at their work: it makes a statement to her co-workers about your admiration," said Rob Frank, owner of The Honesdale Greenhouse. "It’s also important that the flowers are alive long enough for her to enjoy them. Buy them in a vase versus handing her wrapped flowers. If the bouquet dies the next day, your lady isn’t going to be very impressed. In fact, it works against you."
Frank also suggests zeroing in on a favorite color. Although red signifies love, if your lover favors purple or yellow, awareness of that scores extra points for your gift.
Chris Glinton, co-owner of Rose-Al Florist in Hawley suggests, "If you’re going somewhere for dinner, have the flowers delivered to the restaurant. I’ve even done a bud vase with the card, then covered the table in rose petals."
In that instance, Rose-Al collaborated with The Acting Company Playhouse in Forest City. The Playhouse will have your floral arrangement on the table when you arrive. You can bet she’ll be impressed with she reads the gift tag.
For a different twist, Glinton ties a heart-shaped poupouri to his valentine roses. He also delivers flowers in a heart-shaped box, and can prepare heart boxes filled with sachets.
Valentine’s Day ranks second (after Christmas) for popping the "big M" question. If your knees aren’t up to kneeling, consider these suggestions from Jonell Dunn at Jennings Jewelers in Honesdale. "A popular ploy is to slip the engagement ring on a single rose. Or give her a trinket box. At first she’ll think that’s her gift until she opens it and discovers your intentions. If you’re going out to dinner, have the waiter deliver the ring box on a plate."
If you’re planning a special evening or surprise getaway, Judy McMahon of the The Inn at Starlight Lake recommends wrapping up a clue, such as a toy car or a road map, which pertains to the getaway.
"The idea of getting carried away to a secret destination puts a little more thrill in the experience. Even if you can’t get away on Valentine’s Day weekend, you can always enclose a gift certificate in your valentine – or present it like an invitation," suggested McMahon.
Many men find shopping for lingerie more than a little intimidating. "Men get very nervous even getting close to the lingerie department," reported Theresa Ferranti, manager of Fashion Bug in Honesdale. "You can tell they’re lost and need help. They’re usually clueless about size." She suggests that before coming in, men snoop at the tags of their beloved’s lingerie and write down the sizes."
A common mistake is guessing her size too small, and that it’s better to go larger if you’re not sure. "All women—no matter what size or shape—will be impressed by pretty lingerie." Ferranti reports their highest lingerie sales around Valentine’s Day are by men, and the most popular color is red.
Another way to impress your special lady is to give her a makeover or manicure/pedicure. "Pampering her with a beauty treat is a sure way to make her feel she’s special," said Kathy Rutledge of Rutledge Nails and Tanning in Beach Lake. "Consider a gift basket filled with body lotions and bath oils, with a card that says how much she deserves some special pampering time."
Buying gifts for men seems to present a challenge for some women, especially if their guy is the macho sportsman type. But Tony Fritz, co-owner of Tri-State Sports Center in Honesdale, disagrees, "I think men are actually easier to shop for than a woman. Guys really appreciate any kind of equipment related to their special interest, whether its snowmobiling, boating, motorcycling, hunting."
If you’re still at a loss for a personal gift, consider a gift for the home. The White House in Mongaup Valley specializes in very novel gifts of special quality, though not necessarily expensive, including clocks,
porcelains, prints, balancing toys and exquisite European soaps. "Because we’re an interior decorating shop, these are not gifts to keep for a couple of months; these will last a life time," said owner Janet DeFaria. Winter hours are by appointment.
Another return-proof gift is a decorative picture frame, with both male and female appeal. Rather than presenting it with a photo, you might frame a "love note" stating "photo of the guy of your dreams goes here" or "memories captured here."
Even the traditional heart-shaped box filled with chocolates can be embellished. Consider slipping a love poem inside, or simply wrapping a note that says "I love you with all my heart" in a snip of foil and placing it in one of the candy cups.
Just like fire, love needs kindling. A little extra effort spent at romance is sure to spark love.
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Entire contents © 1998, Stuart Communications, Inc.