Long’s Guide to the Perfect Valentine’s Day

When it comes to giving advice about love, we leave it to the experts like Meredith from Love Letters. But when it comes to planning that perfect Valentine’s Day, gift giving advice is our sweet spot and everyone at Long’s is ready to help. The truth is that different gifts send different messages and we’re here to translate. Here are some common questions we have heard over the years about Valentine’s Day, and our tried and true advice:

Help! Dinner, flowers, chocolates… how should I celebrate Valentine’s Day?

It really depends on who you are as a couple, the stage of your relationship, the message you want to send and, of course, your budget. Traditional gifts like dinner, flowers and chocolate are a safe bet to show you care, but rarely make a stronger statement than that. Within a day or two, the gifts become memories. More long-lasting gifts like jewelry or lingerie are going out a little more on a limb while sending different messages ranging from “I like you but let’s not read too much into this” all the way up to “You are my universe”. So decide if you want to either check the box on Valentine’s Day by simply buying flowers and making a dinner reservation or if you want to say something special and different.

What about a heart-themed gift? That’s a good bet, right?

Well, heart-shaped candy, a card with a heart or a heart-shaped balloon is sweet but before you give her heart-themed clothing, accessories or jewelry, ask yourself one question: does she already wear hearts? If yes, go ahead and give her more because it fits her style… if not, hearts probably aren’t what she wants.

Everybody has opinions about gift ideas for us ladies, but I’m stuck on what to get HIM for Valentine’s Day!

True! He can be tricky because his expectations might be “It’s my job to plan Valentine’s Day, so you sit back and enjoy” or the exact opposite of “I’m doing a lot of work to make this day special, so you better find a great gift for me too”. Are you worried about scaring him off because it is early in your relationship? n go with a casual gift that either addresses his hobbies (a video game, tickets to a sporting event, an iTunes gift card) or his vices (make him dinner, bake him dessert, buy him a bottle of his favorite drink, etc). If you’re in a more serious relationship, you might want to step it up with something personal and get him a nice article of clothing, a manly accessory (like cufflinks or a link bracelet) or a nice watch. Every man needs a nice timepiece (no, the clock on his cell phone doesn’t count in his professional world), and every time he looks at his watch, he will think of you. It doesn’t have to be a Rolex… there are plenty of cool watches at great prices that are sporty, contemporary or dressy, depending on his style.

Ok, I’ve decided to get her a piece of jewelry, but how do I know what kind of message I’m sending? I don’t want to send the wrong signal!

Think about what you want to say and then find a gift to match that statement and that level of commitment. For example, silver fashion jewelry is a great way to lightly say “Hey, I get you, and I get your great sense of style”. There are plenty of options for under $100, but even stepping up to a designer brand like David Yurman or John Hardy will show her that you understand how important fashion is to her. On the other hand, gold jewelry generally sends a more serious, committed message (it’s pretty hard to give gold casually). Some gold jewelry – like personalized initial charms – says that you hope to be in her life for a long time to come. Alternatively, you can go with something that screams fun, like a Michele Jelly Bean watch. It’s an anti-dress watch, it comes in only the brightest of colors, and it has zero chance of being misinterpreted as a proposal.

She’s great and I want to get her something nice but we haven’t been dating long and I don’t want to do too much, too soon.

Ok, now this is again where budget comes into play. If you go with jewelry, just keep it to a budget of $50 and no more than a couple of hundred dollars tops. It’s also safe to get her something that falls squarely in the category of cute. Cute is always safe early in the relationship. For example, we’ll recommend a sterling silver Hershey Kiss pendant. They start at $50 and she’ll love it without reading too much into it. Put it this way… how can you go wrong by giving her a kiss?

We’ve been dating for a while now so there’s no way I can give her a piece of jewelry… she’ll see the box and think it is an engagement ring!

A valid concern but not to worry… there are plenty of ways to give jewelry without her getting her hopes up for the big one. Ask your jeweler to put your gift in a box that is much too big or oddly shaped to be a ring box, or put it in a different packaging entirely (like a Best Buy bag) to really fake her out. Another way to go is to present the jewelry in a unique, “un-boxed” way such as by wrapping a bracelet around her wine glass, putting a ring on her dessert place or just ask to close her eyes while you fasten the pendant around her neck.

Someone told me that diamond stud earrings are always a hit… are they an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift?

In some ways, diamonds are kind of like jeans. Some jeans can be worn every day while others are worn on special occasions and cherished for a lifetime. And diamonds, like jeans, never go out of style. So what do diamond studs say? A nice pair of smaller diamond studs, which start at $200 to $300, say that you care about her looking special each and every day. Of course, stepping it up to larger diamond studs like our 2 carat sets guarantees that she will hear your message loud and clear. Here’s our advice… no matter the size, you can’t give diamonds without saying that you really, really care. Diamonds. Are. Serious.

These are just a few of the many questions we have received over the years. What are your tried and true Valentine’s Day gift ideas? Did we miss something? Do you have a question you need help with? Let us know in the comments!