By Madison Gillespie
Happy Valentine’s Day, UIUC! While we each surely have unique memories of this holiday, there is one thing that I’m willing to bet we have in common. How many Valentine’s Days have you been presented with a heartwarming yet generic Hallmark card and a bouquet of roses? What about a heart-shaped box of chocolates with only half the flavors you like? Let’s face it, the gifts given and received on Valentine’s Day have become extremely predictable. While there is by no means anything wrong with these types of gifts, there are so many creative ways to transform them into something much more personal for your significant other to cherish for years to come. Here are some examples of how to put a fresh new twist on a classic Valentine’s Day present.
How to Transform a Bouquet of Roses
No other Valentine’s Day gift has quite the same allure as a bouquet of freshly cut roses. That’s why the arrangement of these flowers is key. Instead of taking the standard approach and placing the roses in a vase, why not get a little inventive and create a bouquet all your own? Here are some examples to help you channel your inner florist.
Rose and Succulent Planter
Your Valentine is bound to fall in love with this earthy, heart-shaped display. The best part about this floral arrangement is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Even after the roses wilt you can continue to water the succulents and fill the empty spaces with new flowers, rocks or other décor.
This adorable idea really makes your rose bouquet into more of a gift! You could order your roses boxed online, or easily package them yourself. When your Valentine receives their roses beautifully packaged with a ribbon and a handwritten note, there is no doubt that they will know how much you care about them.
Cupcake Rose Bouquet
This scrumptious bundle of roses certainly won’t last long! One great feature of this particular idea is how customizable it is. You can bake cupcakes in as many different flavors as you would like and can give your Valentine icing roses in any shade of the rainbow. You could even coordinate the “roses” and vase to match his or her favorite color.
How to Transform a Box of Chocolates
An inexplicably large number of boxed chocolates can be found swarming pretty much any grocery store around Valentine’s Day. But while each box offers a unique variety of flavors, chances are your significant other will pick through the chocolates and several will go uneaten. Why settle for a box of chocolates that your boyfriend or girlfriend may or may not like, when you can put on your chef’s hat and whip up a dessert that they will love? Here are some fast and easy chocolate recipes that you could give instead.
White Chocolate Popcorn
50 percent sweet, 50 percent salty and 100 percent delicious, this treat is guaranteed to make your Valentine’s heart spring (quite like the popcorn, actually). Preparing this tasty dessert is simple. Melt a bowl of white chocolate chips in the microwave, pour it over some freshly popped popcorn, mix in some heart-shaped sprinkles and put it all into a bag with a cute handmade note attached.
Candy Heart Pretzels
Another scrumptious blend of sweet and salty, these adorable mini pretzels can easily be made and given in bulk to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Take some miniature chocolates of your choice (such as Hershey’s Kisses or Rolos) and microwave them. Spoon a dollop of chocolate onto each pretzel, topping off each one with a candy heart. Once they have cooled, these pretzels will make the perfect bite-sized snack for you and your Valentine to share for several days – if they even last that long!
You can’t go wrong with a gooey, melt-in-your-mouth cookie, especially on Valentine’s Day. In terms of flavors and toppings, these cookies can easily be customized. Make a batch of your significant other’s favorite type of cookie and add some seasonally colored candies and sprinkles. You and your Valentine won’t be able to get enough!
Chocolate-Covered Note Strawberries
Chocolate and strawberries are the new peanut butter and jelly – they’re both delicious and taste even better together. While you could easily purchase some chocolate-covered strawberries from the grocery store or local bakery this Valentine’s Day, these berries wouldn’t have quite the same charm as ones that you can make yourself. Use melted chocolate to write cute messages on the strawberries for your significant other. You could doodle them some hearts, make reference to previous dates or inside jokes, or just little notes to let your boyfriend or girlfriend know just how much you care.
Other Creative, Customizable Gifts
In addition to flowers and desserts, many people will get an additional present for their significant other on Valentine’s Day. Many turn to jewelry or a stuffed animal, but why settle for the first thing that the stores have to offer? Get a personalized gift instead. It’s more specific to your boyfriend or girlfriend, and chances are they will really appreciate the extra effort. Whether that gift is something adorable like a jumbo teddy bear, beautiful like a custom necklace that your Valentine can wear every day, or practical like a coffee mug, a keychain or even a pair of initialed socks, the possibilities are endless. It’s really up to your discretion and imagination to pick the perfect gift.
Hopefully this article has given you some inspiration for future Valentine’s Day gifts. Remember though, regardless of what you do or whom you’re with, the main point of Valentine’s Day is to spend time with the one you love. Chances are they will be happy with any gift they receive, because it came from you.