Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love. –William Shakespeare
There is more to Saint Valentine than watching over lovers. He also, according to history.com, has responsibility for epileptics, those who struggle with feinting, those who travel, and beekeepers. Beekeepers? Apparently, sainthood requires multi-tasking.
Like the saint, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to confine itself to a box, even if that box contains chocolates or jewelry. With so many local options, Valentine’s Day can be not only a way of showing our appreciation to those we love but an exploration of our amazing local landscape.
More Fun, Less Greeting Card
According to Kendra Bills, owner of In Bloom Flowers and Gifts, the number one problem with Valentine’s Day is attitude. “We hear the complaints every year,” says Bills with her patented understanding. “It’s a greeting card holiday, it is always difficult to do something
with our work schedules, it’s hard to get a sitter for the kids. You name it, we’ve heard it. And that is disappointing because Valentine’s Day should be fun, not an agenda item. Taking time to acknowledge and cherish those you love is one of life’s great pleasures.”
Bills should know. Her downtown Maumee store has been helping people make special days, including Valentine’s Day, memorable for years. She and her staff have a particular fondness for Valentine’s Day.
“So often,” says Bills, “flowers are sent with a very specific mission; a thank you, a wedding, a funeral, promotion or anniversary. The only mission of Valentine’s Day is to be joyous and playful. That allows our florists along with our clients to be creative and lighthearted. Getting a Valentine’s gift should never feel like a chore. One of our greatest satisfactions is helping our patrons explore their gift options. We get to know them, and we get to know their valentine. That entire process is and should be enjoyable.”
Out of the Box (of Chocolates)
There are certainly traditional gifts: chocolates, flowers, jewelry. Bills reminds us that even these can be less traditional and more playful. “Flowers don’t have to be roses and baby’s breath. We can always find ways of appealing with beautiful, often in season, choices that will surprise and delight. We can also design around a theme, like a sports team, favorite TV show, even a favorite hobby. There is no reason for flowers to come in a box wrapped in plastic.”
Besides flowers, there are amazing chocolatiers in town that can satisfy even the most ardent chocoholic.
Jewelry is the same way. Although traditional fine jewelers can help you find excellent gifts, don’t discount other craftsmen in town. Likewise, antique stores, resale shops, and even florists and gift shops have excellent choices that aren’t just a silver or gold rope chain. Even things like Walleye tickets, a favorite used record (for the audiophiles in your life), a bottle of wine from a regional winery, even a local BBQ sauce all can make non-traditional but charming gifts.
“The whole reason for the day,” points out Bills, “is to be thoughtful. For many, that isn’t a rose or chocolate. It might be tulips and a Snickers Bar. Putting in a little effort is what we all want on Valentine’s Day.”
Early or Late, Thoughtfulness is Key
Although this year Valentine’s Day is on a Friday there is no reason to wait. Being early with a gift will be a great surprise. Likewise, if schedules are chaotic on the actual day, there isn’t any reason to do something small with an IOU of a date or special night.
“The biggest reason people feel pressure,” says Bills, “is that they feel tethered to a date. We always tell our clients to forget about the actual day. Every day is perfect for flowers.” With her own brand of thoughtfulness, she continues, “Anything is better than a last-minute gift grab at a grocery store. These are the people we love. What they want most, even over gifts, is our attention and appreciation. That is something that isn’t scheduled. It is timeless.”