By Laura LaVacca
February 14th. A controversial day that some lovingly refer to as Valentine’s Day while others sarcastically (okay, maybe seriously) call Singles’ Awareness Day. No matter your feelings about the holiday, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit $19.7 billion this year.
Part of the angst can stem from what to get that new boyfriend or girlfriend whom you’ve only been dating for a short period of time.
“Something they like books, clothes, even dinner,” Christine Moise, Adelphi freshman, offers.
In addition to the typical flowers, stuffed animals and candy, Briana Corredor, 18, suggests a saccharine alternative, “A sweet serenade.”
Long-term relationships can bump gift giving to the next level with jewelry or electronics.
Adding to the anxiety of what to get, is the anxiety of how much to spend. Most college students seem to agree that a range of $50 – 150 is appropriate depending on the level of commitment. Friends and family gifts drop down significantly to about the $10- 20 range. These include small gifts like goody bags or chocolate bars.
Adelphi University freshman Kerri Hayman advises to have a little fun and not take the holiday so seriously, “Gag gifts! Who doesn’t like to have a little fun? Give a friend a good laugh.”
Aside from tangible presents, excursions are a nice way to enjoy each other’s company and not buy a gift for the sake of it. From dinner to a hike in the park, gifts of experiences are unconventional. One such out-of-the-box experience comes from the fast food chain, White Castle. Instead of pulling through the drive through, the restaurant offers table service this one night of the year –for the 26th year in a row. Tables are adorned with red table clothes, flowers and candles. Reservations are recommended.
A burger not your date’s idea of Valentine’s Day? Head to Romance Under the Stars at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space. The night begins among the stars while a jazz quartet hums in the background. Then move on to the Hayden Planetarium while an astronomer shares mythological love stories.
Frugality your middle name? Try a homemade gift or an up-cycled take on a classic.
Freshman Taylor Romanelli agrees, “I kind of love receiving homemade gifts. It shows that that person really cared enough to put in time and effort to make something for me. I wouldn’t mind making a present for someone else because it’s a lot more personal and meaningful,”
“Something homemade is much more personal and comes from the heart,” student Danielle Caprio continues, “like a deck of cards with 52 reasons why I love you.”
Caprio is referring to the “love-deck” of cards DIY that is floating around Pinterest. Head to the website for other how-tos.
Not feeling crafty but want that homemade look? Etsy is home to hundreds of homemade creations from personalized picture frames to custom-made. Companies like Eco-flowers make flowers from recycled materials that don’t require water and don’t die after just a few days. Their website explains that they create wood flowers, paper flowers, corn husk flowers, brooch wedding bouquets, pine cone flowers, and many other materials that are great for the planet. An economical take on a classic.
Completely strapped for cash? Keep it simple, Elizabeth Meneses, 18, notes, that “a hug” goes a long way.
Just won the lotto? “A house,” Roy M., Adelphi freshman, deadpans.
“I feel that as long as you make an effort and put thought into the gift, any unselfish human being would appreciate it. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars in order to show someone you care about them,” notes Gabriela Bernabe, 20, a student from Staten Island, NY.
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves…even if it’s not a house.