Perfume, chocolates, flowers, lingerie -- it's all so done, done, done! This year, come up with a truly unusual Valentine's gift for your partner. And in case you're wracking your brains trying to come up with a few good ideas, here are a few suggestions.
1. A message in a bottle
Yup, you read right, but hold on and let us explain. And in case you're wondering, this one is more for the ladies, because we all know how they just looove romantic gestures!
What you need is:
- An empty clear-glass wine bottle with a cork (you know, one of the tall, shapely ones -- but don't down one in your desperation or you'll snooze through VDay!)
- A square metre of pink netted tulle
- A pretty red/ pink ribbon
- A few crushed/dried rose petals
- A handful of pink and/or red confetti
- A scroll of handmade/ ornate paper that when rolled up is in length approximately the height of the bottle itself (else it will never come out!)
- A little bit of sand and tiny seashells to line the bottom of the bottle (optional)
- A small silver heart charm on a necklace/ bracelet (optional)
Wash the bottle thoroughly to get rid of the smell of wine and ensure it's completely dry from inside. Remove the labels, if any, by peeling off, steaming or using acetone. Pour the sand and seashells into the bottle to create an inch-thick or so layer at the bottom.
Next, put in the rose petals. Then write down your message of love on the scroll and rolling it up, tie with a litte ribbon or thread, to ensure it doesn't unravel inside the bottle and push it in through the mouth. Next, throw in the confetti, so that it settles becomingly on and around the scroll and if you're using the charm, place it around the neck of the bottle and maybe twist it in half to go around again if it's too loose.
Cork the bottle and spreading out the tulle on a flat surface, set it in the middle. Gather all the corners of the fabric at the mouth of the bottle and secure them by tying the ribbon around the neck of the bottle. Voila! A lovely Valentine's gift that doesn't cost much and will score you plenty of brownie points!
2. A heart-shaped bathtub
We've had enough of heart-shaped chocolates -- most of them are great to look at, sad to eat. So if you want to make a really 'heart' statement, how about a heart-shaped bathtub?
Want to go the extra mile, get it in loved-up red. But ensure that it's installed as a surprise (and goes with his/ her bathroom decor, or it will be a disaster) in time for Valentine's Day. And just to clue you in -- a heart-shaped bathtub is far comfier for two than a single one (ahem)!
3. Adopt a pet together
Photographs: Bogdan Cristel/Reuters
If you're in a relationship, nothing spells commitment like adopting a pet together. It's the next best thing to having kids. Just make sure you have everything sorted beforehand -- discuss it in a subtle manner with your partner, ensure that s/he also loves animals and is keen on having one. Also ensure that there are no allergies, pet-related ailments or such that could in any way ruin the surprise.
And make sure that caring for it is not a problem. If it is, you can go for a low-maintenance pet like a turtle or a bowl of goldfish, even.
If it all goes right, a Valentine's Day puppy -- or kitten -- or hamster -- can be the best surprise gift of them all. And it's sure to melt the receiver into a puddle of warm wax!
4. Feature in a Bollywood poster!
Now this is definitely a fun idea. Indian Hippy (www.hippy.in) offers hand-painted products by acclaimed Indian film poster artists. And for Valentine's Day, you can order a custom-made poster of any popular Bollywood movie featuring the portraits of you and your partner instead of the leading actors!
What's different about this is that it's not digital, not computer-generated and is the real thing -- an actual, hand-painted poster exactly like the original. Except that you're the star here!
5. Keepsake lockets
This idea is so old now that in a way it's been recycled into a new one! Nobody seems to carry keepsake lockets anymore, so instead of toting around a crumbling passport photograph of each other in your wallets all year round, you can spring for matching lockets that hold both your pictures together. They're charming, antiquated and sure to be a hit -- and if you have kids together or need more space, a few are actually available with space for multiple photographs.
Just a word of advice, though -- if you don't plant the photographs inside beforehand, chances are that the locket may never be used. So make sure you go that extra mile and get them completely ready to present to your partner.
6. Couple or Valentine-themed furniture
Furniture and home accessories are a great VDay buy. And you can go the unusual route with love seats, hugging salt and pepper shakers, a pillow for two...the possibilities are limitless. And you can stretch or shrink your budget massively because these are intimate, unusual presents that don't have to cost much at all. Moreover, they're a living memory to adorn your home, a celebration of your love.
Our suggestion: Opt for a soft giant 'U'-shaped pillow that's big enough to hold both of you. It should be high enough to lean back against and cuddle up with a hot bucket of popcorn to watch a movie together.
7. A compilation of romantic movies/ books
Since Valentine's is all about mush, you can compile a set of your partner's favourite romantic movies and/ or books and make a present out of it. You could push in everything from Erich Segal's Love Story to the Bollywood blockbuster Jab We Met and wrap it up appealingly -- it could be sort of a hamper that is sure to keep your loved one busy for the rest of the year till February rolls around again!
8. Your home videos
Speaking of movies, we all enjoy watching ourselves on screen far more than anything else! So you could compile a home video of vacations you've taken together, of your kids if you have any, of special birthdays, celebrations, everything that holds a special memory -- and burn it onto a DVD.
Then you can design your own custom cover for it and give it a catchy title. Boom! There you have it -- a one-of-a-kind, unique gift.
9. Personalised photo-printed memorabilia
What's the point of having access to new technology if you don't make use of it? You can have digitalised images of you and your sweetie pasted onto a teeshirt, calendar or just about anything else under the sun.
And if you don't prefer to go the photo route, use a catchy phrase or a common joke or get his 'n' hers matching accessories. A popular website that offers such services is zoomin.com, which you can use to create your own picture-book, teeshirt, mug, poster etc -- and they'll deliver it to your doorstep. You'll get a full preview of your product online and then you can have it mailed to your partner as a surprise. If you're debating on what to get, our bet is on the tees and the calendars.
10. Gift vouchers with a difference
And finally. If you're going the boring old I-don't-know-what-to-buy-so-I'm-getting-vouchers route, look this offer up.
PayMate (paymate.co.in) has a special VDay offer running wherein you can purchase a gift voucher for your loved one that is not redeemable at just one store, but at over 3,000 online merchants. So the possiblities are endless and moreover, you don't have to buy your money's worth all in one go. Visit their website for more details.
Now that you've gotten so many different ideas, we're hoping you won't be reaching for flowers or candy this Valentine's Day. Go on -- show your partner just how creative you can be!