hen Valentine's Day rolls around people are often at a loss at what to get their loved one. The important thing to remember for this romantic holiday is that it's the thought that counts and the more thought you put into something the more it will be appreciated, even if you didn't break the bank to do it.

Document your love
It's so easy to let pictures pile up in a box somewhere, never to see the light of day. Here's the perfect opportunity to both organize and surprise. Get a small photo album either in red or with a love/heart theme and chronicle your lives together. This project is a perfect gift for a long-time partner, because it'll stir up romantic feelings, remind you of all the good times you've shared and you'll look forward to more to come. If you have the time -- and you don't equate arts and crafts with a slow painful death -- then cut out little hearts (or you can often find heart confetti at party-theme stores) to scatter around pictures and include cute captions underneath.

A Pic-a-nic Basket
Yogi Bear knew a good thing when he saw it and so will your Valentine. Pack a picnic basket with wine, cheese, bread, fruit and chocolate or anything else that tickles your fancy. It can be totally upscale or more modestly done, just as long as you fill it with things your Valentine likes. You can throw down a tablecloth on your living room floor and have it there or surprise your honey at work with a special romantic lunch. Make a CD with songs that are special to you both and play it in the background. Any way you do it, it's sure to be a hit.

Spa for Two
Many spas these days offer treatments for couples and some offer accommodations to make it a total spa vacation. There is not one single woman I know of that wouldn't simply melt at the prospect of a facial, massage and a steaming aromatherapeutic bath to share with her man. And men, you shouldn't balk at the idea of a facial. All too often men neglect their skin and view these types of spa treatments as frivolous, but their bodies will thank them later, I promise. So gals this is the perfect opportunity to give your man something he would never indulge in himself and as an extra bonus you get to do something you always want to indulge in, but can rarely find an occasion to justify the expenditure. Everyone wins with this one.

Do the Unexpected
Let's face it, men really are from Mars and women really are from Venus. While men and women can agree on many things they enjoy doing, some things are stereotypically male -- like spending the whole day watching Sports Center -- and others stereotypically female -- like going ice-skating. I know my man has never proposed an evening of ice-skating, but I have. So this Valentine's Day take your significant other off guard. Plan something that he/she likes but that you always decline to do. It could be as simple as a night of playing his favorite video games or maybe going through a Pottery Barn catalogue and picking out her dream furnishings. Whatever it is, make it selfless and your Valentine is sure to recognize what a great catch you are.

Take a Memory Lane Road Trip
Love burns brightly at first, but often needs to be rekindled to keep it consistently strong. One of the best ways to do it is to revisit places you discovered together, that were especially romantic, for whatever reasons. If there is a city you once traveled together, plan a trip there and go back to the familiar places. Or maybe do a circuit of places where meaningful things happened, like where you first met or where you first proclaimed your love for one another. Go to places that will bring you closer together and remind you of why you fell in love.

The Budget Valentine
Times are tough and not everyone has the means to splurge on luxury gifts and getaways, but there are some creative ways to still make your Valentine feel special. First buy a heart-shaped box or use any type of container and adhere an image that has a special meaning for you. Fill the box with small cards on which you have printed out your choice of personal services. Some ideas are: Good for one full-body massage, a homemade candlelight dinner, a foot rub, etc. I actually got this as a gift once and my favorite card was a "get out of a fight free" card. If you can actually stick to your end of the bargain and drop the fight when presented with the card in the heat of an argument, then this suggestion is for you. It is absolutely brilliant and will be much appreciated (I know I did!). To make the cards extra special -- and if you have a decent color printer -- find images that relate to the service and print it on the other side. Voila! Instant romance.


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