Spe­cial de­liv­ery

GA Voice - - Valentine's Day -

Valen­tine’s Day can mean a pretty penny out of pocket for many cou­ples. Jew­elry, flow­ers and a fancy din­ner at the hottest restau­rant in town can add up quickly, but in a lot of ways th­ese gifts and tra­di­tions have lost their mean­ing and sig­nif­i­cance. Sure, they’re the pricey op­tions – which, for some, is the only way they know how to show their “af­fec­tion” – but let’s get real here, this route isn’t very cre­ative… or thought­ful, for that mat­ter.

In lieu of the same ol’, same ol’ this year, con­sider a thought­ful hand­made gift. Yeah, yeah, I know – ef­fort and all. But your sig­nif­i­cant other de­serves it, if only for putting up with you all year round. Plus, I’m here to help. If you aren’t the cre­ative type, or if you’re just stumped for ideas, here are a few craft projects to spark your in­spi­ra­tion.

1. The dec­o­rated candy jar

Start with a Ma­son jar with a lid; lo­cal thrift stores or even ma­jor re­tail­ers have th­ese avail­able in the kitchen­ware sec­tion. While you’re out, pick up a bag of your boo’s fa­vorite candy – sweets that comes in small pieces, like Kisses, or the new lim­ited-edi­tion Straw­berry Short­cake White Choco­late M&Ms from Tar­get. Also grab a red or pink bow and rib­bon or gar­land to go on your jar. To assem­ble, wash the jar and place the candy in­side. Dec­o­rate the jar with the bow and the rib­bons (or how­ever you see fit; free print­a­bles are avail­able at the blog The36thAv­enue.com) and then add a lit­tle card with a hand-writ­ten mes­sage of fond­ness and maybe a sweet mem­ory or two.

2. ‘52 rea­sons I love you’ cards

This one re­quires only a deck of cards (mi­nus the jok­ers), glue, and artis­tic pa­per. On sep­a­rate sheets of the lat­ter, you’ll write one thing you love about your sig­nif­i­cant other and then glue it to the back of each card. It takes some pa­tience, but once you get through the en­tire deck of cards you’ve got an in­cred­i­bly thought­ful Valen­tine’s Day gift. You can add a small ring binder to keep all the cards to­gether and make for an eas­ier time wrap­ping or hand­ing the gift to your loved one.

3. Choco­late straw­berry bou­quet

For this DIY gift you’ll need small wooden sticks, straw­ber­ries, melted choco­late and wrap­ping pa­per with twine. Sim­ply dip the straw­ber­ries in the choco­late, then skewer them on the wooden sticks and let them dry. Once dry, wrap them in the pa­per and tie the pa­per loosely with the twine for a classy bou­quet look and feel.

4. Cup­cake in a jar

The con­cept is sim­i­lar to the jar of candy, but in this in­stance you get to bake! In sim­ple terms, you’ll bake the cup­cake, break it up into chunks and put it in the jar. Once that’s done, tint your frost­ing pink or red with food col­or­ing and add that on top, then tie a pink spoon to the jar with a fes­tive red-

Treat your part­ner to some­thing more valu­able than ex­pen­sive gifts: your cre­ativ­ity.

and-white V-Day-in­spired rib­bon.

5. Sim­ple ‘you and me’ photo al­bum

Print out a few great pho­tos of you and your main squeeze that they haven’t seen or aren’t fa­mil­iar with. Per­son­ally, I rec­om­mend pulling pic­tures from your phone or In­sta­gram ac­count us­ing the new Fuji In­stax Smart­phone Prin­ter; I got one for Christ­mas, and it’s per­fect for a pro­ject like this. When you’ve cho­sen the per­fect im­ages, buy a small sim­ple photo al­bum – one that you can spruce up and to which you can add your own touches. Write cap­tions for the pho­tos too – a re­minder of where you both were when the pic­ture was taken and what the oc­ca­sion was.

Go­ing the ex­tra mile

While there’s noth­ing wrong with the tra­di­tional Valen­tine’s Day ap­proach, go­ing the ex­tra mile with a hand­made gift can add a lot of thought­ful­ness and per­son­al­ity to the cel­e­bra­tion. If you’re look­ing for a way to step up your game and re­ally im­press your loved one this year, let your artis­tic side take over and make some­thing that they’ll know you put more thought into than money.

Mikey Rox is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and LGBT life­style ex­pert whose work has been pub­lished in more than 100 out­lets across the world. He splits his time be­tween homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon.

By MIKEY ROX

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