Five uniquely romantic gifts for Valentine’s Day

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    (ARA)-Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and while thoughts should be turning to love and romance, more likely than not they are veering toward panic as couples everywhere scramble to find the perfect romantic gift for each other.

    The present doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but it should be personal-after all, you know your significant other or spouse better than anyone else. Here are five fabulous gift ideas, some of which put a new twist on the traditional and some are strictly modern.

    1. Let love bloom-While a dozen red roses is always a welcome expression of love, why not sow the seeds of happiness all year round? If your significant other loves having fresh flowers in the house or at the office, you can plan to have a new arrangement delivered every month. Many online florists make this easy, with plans that send a seasonal arrangement automatically for a year. What better reminder of your love?

    2. Send a video valentine-If you can’t be with the one you love on Valentine’s Day (or if you leave for work before your spouse wakes up), you can still let them know you’re thinking of them with a video valentine. More personal than a phone call, a video valentine gives you a chance to pour your heart out. And you can edit until it is perfect. Newlyweds can create their own tradition of recording Valentine’s Day each year-combined with your wedding video, this can be an ongoing memento of your marriage. And of course, if you plan to get engaged this Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to have that on tape for posterity.

    3. A romantic interlude-Dinner for two at a fancy restaurant is always appropriate for Valentine’s Day. But if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, use your imagination to come up with a creative menu that caters to your special someone’s tastes. If you are an accomplished home chef, let your imagination run wild. How about a meal composed entirely of heart-shaped food? Or perhaps a menu that includes only red, pink and white foods?

    For non-cooks, a trip to your fishmonger and a stop at the liquor store are all you need to put together the romantic combination of oysters and champagne-all you need to add is candlelight. If you really want to make the evening unforgettable, hire a violinist to serenade you over dinner. Or how about a picnic for two in the living room? Pack your own hamper or stock up on take-out at the local deli, spread a blanket on the floor and let the romance begin.

    4. Do something you hate-This gift involves the ultimate sacrifice but could prove the most meaningful. This year, do something that is strictly for your loved one, not for you. For example, if your wife has always wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons, but you never “found the time,” surprise her by registering for a couple’s class. Or, if your husband is a big football fan, but you always head for the hills when the big game is on, plan a game day party; or better yet, get two tickets to the next home game.

    5. Give the gift of time-No, we’re not talking clocks or watches here. We’re talking quality time. This one can go one of two ways: you can give the gift of time together or the gift of time alone, whichever your partner needs most. If you’re part of a two-career couple whose jobs make it hard to spend time together, sync your Palm Pilots for a weekend getaway to a local bed and breakfast. If, on the other hand, your spouse is tired of being at home with the kids and needs some personal time, set up a trip to a day spa. Or, you can take the kids to visit your parents and leave your spouse home alone to luxuriate in the peace and quiet of your own home.