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It seems like every classic (read: corny) romantic comedy has a scene in which the guy shows up at the girl’s doorstep to make a gesture of love. What’s in his hands when he shows up? Flowers and chocolate. Always. Well, sometimes he’s also carrying a boom box on his shoulder, but that’s a rare addition.

I think that’s why I’m a bit tired of the idea that the only gifts that girls want to receive is the bouquet-and-candy combination. It’s 2016, and just one walk down the aisle of a big-box store or the virtual aisle of an online store proves that there’s much more to choose from these days. It’s time to get creative, significant others: we want you to think outside of the florist’s refrigerated display case and surprise us. In order to make things easier for our other halves to understand, here’s a list of reason we don’t want flowers, and some of the many items you can swoop up instead.

1. They aren’t very personal.


When everyone around me gets a bouquet and a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day, I don’t feel quite as special as I could. I know that my significant other loves me enough to pick out flowers and a gift and have them sent to me, of course, but it could be from anyone, for anyone.

Instead, I say you plan a one-of-a-kind date for us to go on, one that piques my interests and takes both of us out of our daily routines. Why not snag concert tickets to your guy’s favorite band’s show or take your girlfriend skiing because she’s always wanted to try it? Your significant other will feel so, so special when he or she realizes just how much time you spent personalizing the entire experience.

2. They don’t take a lot of effort.


I know that I just said I appreciated the effort of someone picking out flowers and sending them, but I use the word “effort” very lightly. In this day and age, it’s so easy to go online or on our phones and order exactly what we want; it’s delivered in the blink of an eye, too. Unless you’re outside picking and arranging flowers for me, then I assume that there’s not much of a hands-on element to the gift.

That’s why I propose you ditch the bouquet in favor of something that you’ve whipped up yourself. What about a fancy dinner for two? I would love to have my significant other take the time to find a recipe that he thinks I’d love; purchase all of the ingredients; whip everything up; set a fancy table; and serve me the fruits of his labor. Better yet, if you’ve already bought your flowers and chocolate before reading this article, you can use them at dinner to decorate your table and sate a sweet tooth after dinner.

3. They’re not a lasting gift.


Unless you press them between the pages of a heavy book and wait months for them to dry out, cut flowers don’t last longer than a week or two. Honestly, once they’re in the compost pile, I end up forgetting just how beautiful they looked on my counter or how nice they made my bedroom smell.

I think it’s important, therefore, to pick up a gift that’s a bit more lasting than a perishable plant and selection of chocolate. Even something as simple as a framed picture of the two of you could serve as a decoration in your significant other’s apartment, your first shared place, your starter home, etc.

4. Our bond (might be) stronger than that.


Finally, I think some relationship milestones call for more than the flower-candy combo. At the beginning, sure, it’s a great way to show you’re happy to see someone on a second or third date. As things get more serious, though, it’s time to think about how to show your love that you really are in love.

Perhaps you’ve heard (subtle or not-so-subtle) hints from your girlfriend to make sure that you find the perfect ring for her personality and taste. When these hints start dropping, it might be time to hang up the flowers and candy for good, because your relationship is moving onto the forever level. And, once it gets up there, it’s thoughtful, special gifts until the end, right?

I’d like to think so.


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