A Few of My Favorite Things

I’ve been thinking about Valentine Day gifts and it’s not because I want to be Ms. Consumer, but between email ads from the companies I like, spam that I don’t like, and the internet with its ‘gifts gifts gifts’ thing going on, gifts are on my mind.

I never had a real boyfriend in high school or college. I had some dates here and there but never anyone serious enough to exchange cards or gifts with. So when I finally got married in my twenties, Valentine’s Day was pretty damn significant. I was going to make up for all those lost Valentine Days before.

It’s taken awhile to understand what constitutes a great gift though. I’ve never gotten a vacuum for Valentine’s Day or my birthday, but I did get a waffle iron. I’ve also received a quantity of bulk gift items from Costco. And then there was the Valentine’s Day when the gift was a porn movie in a brown paper bag.

I think I had a tantrum that year.

If you’re going to give me porn, please wrap it in pretty paper.

I’ve had very expensive gifts but if they were given in lieu of love, or tenderness, I didn�t cherish them the same way I’ve cherished other gifts.

So what are the gifts I’ve cherished?

In the last couple of years my top ten favorite gifts would have to include (and this is in no particular order):

1) a crystal heart necklace my youngest son Ty picked out for me for Christmas and it’s so pretty and I love wearing it. Makes me feel loved.

2) a painting my boyfriend Ty did for me of snorkeling at Shark’s Cove. It hangs on my bedroom wall and I see it last thing at night and first thing in the morning.

3) a personal DVD Surfer Ty gave me for our first Christmas of him teaching me to surf set to amazing music. An incredible gift. Maybe my favorite gift ever.

4) a CD of great music Surfer Ty gave me after a bumpy visit to Hawaii two years ago and instead of being upset on the flight home, I listened to the CD over and over and thought, ‘Damn, he’s good. I want to be angry but I can’t.’ He got huge style points for that one.

5) the bracelets and necklaces big Ty’s given me these last several years. Any time I wear them I think of him and feel special. Most of them were bought in Hawaii and they’re all really unique and sentimental.

6) The shadowbox my friend Janie Lee made me for Christmas this year. She took the Christmas card I’d sent and turned it into a beautiful memento from 2006 and it sits on my desk and reminds me that last year was wonderful and this year will be even better.

7) A hand painted box my oldest son made for me in preschool with a photo of his face inside the flower. It’s near my desk and I look at it almost every day.

8) A painted rock son Ty made in preschool that’s on the corner of my desk.

9) And from years ago, a dozen long stemmed pink roses my sister sent to me for my birthday. They arrived at my office–it was back in Fresno and I must have been mid twenties, and they were gorgeous. They lasted over a week and just got more beautiful.

10) Love Best gift by far, ever, is love. A hug. A real smile. A laugh. Love from my kids. Love from my friends. Love from my man. Nothing else is as treasured, or is as important as feeling loved.

PS But now with that said, if you�re going to send me flowers, make them pink: lilies and roses and gerbera daisies are good, so are roses, tulips, freesias, snapdragons. Pinks, corals, rose, blush, white, cream and shades of green�they�re all so much more romantic than red.

If you’re going to buy chocolate, just a bite of something really yummy, 2-3 See’s soft centers are perfect. A girl doesn’t need a pound of chocolate. We might want it, but honestly we don’t need it.

And as I said above, if you really want to be a star, make it personal. Put a photo in a frame, make a small box for her favorite trinkets (or anti-depressants, whatever works), burn a CD, shoot a mini movie. Let her know she matters.

Sometimes all the tv and internet ads make it sound like every girl craves big ticket items but the truth is, a valentine card with a gift from the heart (that’s hopefully wrapped) makes Valentine’s Day–and any day–special, sexy, and sweet.

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