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Finding inexpensive gifts for Valentine's Day

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 9, 2009

You could "say it with flowers."


Or, you could say it with cheesy potatoes.


Either way, you're going to make someone happy on Valentine's Day.


This year, many of us are wondering how we can extend the same amount of love for a significantly lower cost.


Sure, sure, "it's the thought that counts." But the phrase, ironically, too often accompanies a gift bought at a convenience store at the last moment.


No, we're talking about a gift that tells your significant other that you care deeply.


Here, then, are some gifts that will touch hearts for less than $10.


Say it with flowers

Fairview Florist, 1634 East Racine St., holds Five-buck Fridays on a regular basis. Valentine's Day is Saturday, and you could scoop up your deal on Friday, present them to the gal or guy of your dreams with tender words such as "I couldn't wait to tell you how much I care for you, XXXOOO Pookie."


You'll need to get there early.


The bouquets are not a deliverable item and quantities are limited, said Tom Carlson, owner of Fairview.


Say it with flowers, part two

What would you pay for dozens and dozens of flowers? As much as $2.50. As little as $1.19? Head for K & W Greenery or your favorite nursery for seed packets.


Tape those packets to pencils, surround the packets with tissue paper and stick in a vase. Et voilà! Floral bouquet.


Promise to help plant those seeds when the weather warms up.


Here's a tip: Zinnias, sunflowers, bachelor's buttons, love-in-a-mist and cosmos are easiest to grow.


A gift with meaning

Now honestly, do any of us really want a helium balloon that says "I Wuv U"?


Or a stuffed bear with sporting a T-shirt that says "U R Mine?"


No, because we are grown-up women, secure in our relationships. What we want is something that, No. 1, is spelled correctly and, No. 2, means something.


How about a donation made in your loved one's honor to the YWCA in Janesville? Here's a short list of the Y's programs: Domestic violence shelter, transitional housing, a "Care House" for children who have been physically or sexually abused and support for elderly people suffering from abuse.


"For women and girls, a donation is a great gift," said Allison Hokinson, community relations director. "The buzz word these days is "pay it forward," and what a great way to do that."


With your donation, your special someone will receive an acknowledgement card from the YWCA.


For more information, call the YWCA at (608) 752-5445


A gift with meaning, part two

Sue McCrone, client advocate at ECHO, the church-sponsored social services agency, prepared this Valentine's rhyme:


Echo valentines are here,


Full of love for those so dear,


They also help those in need right here,


And are guaranteed to spread some cheer.


OK, Sue's not much of a poet, but it's the thought that counts.


ECHO's Valentine's postcards come in package of 10 and are $10. The cover features a pink floral design and the words "Life is an echo: What you send out, you get back."


The cards are available at the ECHO office, 65 S. High St., Janesville.


Say it with cheesy potatoes

Some people, and we won't mention names, are happiest when they get to eat cheesy potatoes and ring bologna with ketchup in front of the television.


Some other people, who might or might not live in the same household, would like to sit down to a civilized meal with a salad course and conversation.


So why not give your spouse something he really wants—such as a coupon promising to make and serve grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup in the middle of the Packers game of his choice? Or a coupon for a ketchup-free meal served on an actual table, not on a paunch?


How about a coupon pledging not to offer any more "tips" on the golf course? Or pledging not to roll your eyes when your allegedly better half makes a questionable sweep call during league curling?


In all cases, you're giving the other person a gift he or she will truly appreciate.


Those kinds of Valentine's gifts last all year long and promote happier relationships.


And isn't that what it's all about?



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