Beyond Candy and Flowers

Crystal Hohenthaner

Crystal Hohenthaner

So the day is almost upon us again, Valentine’s Day. For many it is a great day to celebrate the love you have. Or even celebrate a love that you hope to one day have.

For others it is a day of dread because it means picking out a gift for their significant other. This particular task wouldn’t be too bad, unless your loving other has been hinting that candy, roses, jewelry and stuffed animals are not their things.

If that’s the case you’ll have to figure out something else. If you are one of the people for whom candy and flowers just won’t cut it, or if you misguidedly think these old stand-bys are a good idea, we have help for you.

After doing a bit of research the Juice has discovered that such antiquated presents only work in special cases.

Stuffed Animal Alternatives

Kirsten Beesch, a sophomore apparel merchandising major from Marshall, Minn., told the Juice about one of her worst Valentine’s Day presents.

“I got this giant stuffed animal,” Beesch says. “It was really ugly and I had to pretend I liked it. It looked like one you win at the fair.”

Beesch says the ‘fair bear’ was a bad gift because it made her feel like her boyfriend didn’t even know her.

“I mean if I had stuffed animals all over my room and it was obvious that I loved them that would be one thing,” Beesch says, “but I don’t and a guy I’m dating should know that.”

Beesch says she thinks good presents don’t come from “Wal-Mart,” but rather from a man’s imagination and his own two hands.

“I think a great present would be something like a handmade card. Just to picture a guy cutting it all out and imagining what he’s thinking about while he makes it. That’s so sweet,” she says.

Beesch also has a friend with some plans that she finds very sweet.

“I know someone who’s going to propose to his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day and we’re decorating the room with lights and flowers,” she says. “He’s writing her a poem and that is a really sweet idea for a guy to do for a girl. Even if the poem sucks at least they tried and it’s personal.”

Beesch says a person doesn’t even have to be a poet to make a good gift out of poetry.

“Even find a poem that reminds you of your boyfriend or girlfriend and read it to them, that’s really sweet too.”

In Beesch’s opinion flowers are good when you aren’t expecting them. So that probably leaves Valentine’s Day out. But she also says, “You have to know what kind of flowers to give a girl – not everyone wants red roses.”

Samantha Burns, a freshman general education major from Rapid City, agrees with Beesch for the most part. Burns thinks a good gift is, “something thoughtful and creative.”

“One year my boyfriend got me a sweet letter, candy and flowers,” Burns says, “but the candy wasn’t that great and the letter was the best part because it was personal.”

So fellas have the responsibility of being creative, personal, thoughtful and imaginative. What do the girls have to do? The majority of people who we interviewed didn’t think Valentine’s Day was as important for guys as for girls.

Nick Dewald, a civil engineering major from Rapid City has already exchanged presents withhis girlfriend and he says, “for girls it’s hard to get a guy something.”

“I think casual jewelry is a good gift,” Dewald says as he points at the bracelet his girlfriend gave him for Valentine’s Day. “Like stuff from Pac Sun,” he says as he gestures to his ring, “or something from American Eagle,” he says again pointing to his gift from his girlfriend.

Dewald also says, “Flowers aren’t good [for guy]. Not manly.”

For a girl, an item that reminds a girl of something she misses from home is what he would recommend as a gift.

“I got my girlfriend a stuffed golden retriever because she misses her baby (puppy from home).”

He must be right about that being a good gift choice because the response of all the smiling girls around Dewald was, “awww,” and a couple of them comment that his was a really good reason to get a stuffed animal for a girl.

Dewald’s girlfriend, Kristin Jones, is a freshman psychology major from Rapid City and she agrees that it was a good gift.

“I think it was really cute,” Jones says. “It was good because it was sentimental.”

Be an Original

Communication studies and theatre major William Nolan Hayes from Sioux Falls doesn’t think Valentine’s Day presents should be reserved for boyfriends and girlfriends.

“Even if you hate Valentine’s Day the unexpected thing can be a great gift,” Hayes says.

What’s more unexpected than getting a gift when you don’t have a significant other?

“Look around, if you have friends who don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend,” Hayes says. “Even if they’re grumbling about V-day – well, if you do something nice, or even secret for them – they’ll love it and that would be good [gift giving].”

Hayes also agreed with Beesch about creating a gift.

“For a guy, if he plays the guitar he should write a song for a girl and play it for her,” Hayes says.

The truth is, a man doesn’t even have to write the song himself. Both Beesch and Burns agreed that most ladies would love a serenade no matter who authors the tune.

However, Hayes seems to think creating is the important part of a gift.

“Anything you create yourself, that makes a good gift,” he says. “Originality is the best gift; let it come from the heart.”

Going for a gift that is out of the ordinary and surprising was also recommended.

Scott Schnider, and economics major from Rapid City says, “Depending on the weather a picnic is good. It’s good because it’s unique.”

While Melissa Lamb, a freshman apparel merchandising major from Vienna, SD, says, “I got surprised with flowers once, but the surprise was the good part.”

Lamb also had a doozy of an idea that involved a blindfold.

“If he kidnapped you and blindfolded you and took you someplace special that would be great,” she says. “And he could take you different places, like dinner and then if he surprised you with something like a play or a concert, or even concert tickets!”

Kind of a complex idea for one night’s festivities, but others are content with something simple. Like Jim Harriman, a freshman from Waterville, Minn., who says, “If a girl cooked me dinner that would be a good gift, because it comes from the heart.”

Well, it might come from the heart, or it might come from a box, but the point is, that’s what Harriman would like and his girlfriend would probably know that.

Sophomore agronomy major Chet Vander Velde from Sanborn, Iowa, thinks his girl would know that clothes are a good gift for him because he hates to shop.

“Or tools,” Vander Velde says, “’cause you can never have enough tools.”

Great Gifts!

Well, whether you sing it, buy it, make it or bake it, it seems like a great gift includes thought and feeling. You may need a little luck too, because many of the old standbys don’t seem to satisfy unless they have a special meaning behind them.