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Choose meaningful over extravagant on Valentine's Day

Make a lollipop bouquet. Go to the store and find pretty lollipops. Once home, fill a small vase with sand, red hots or sugar. Pop the candy into the vase and add a ribbon and place a card next to it.

Hide a card. A hidden card or note in a lunch box, briefcase or coat pocket is a nice surprise in the middle of the day if you can't be together.

Cook a favorite meal. How about meatloaf? It might sound crazy, but it's an easy meal to make and it doesn't hurt to use tomato sauce on top to add some "red" for the occasion.

Traditional dozen roses. Yes, it seems cliched, but there is nothing wrong with tradition. Spice it up a bit by purchasing roses in chocolate. Or send as many roses as years you've been married.

A family night. Valentine's Day is for the entire family as well as your spouse, and there is time for both. Set aside some time after dinner to play a game that is a family favorite.

Switch duties. It gets to be a drag doing the same chores all the time. For the week of Valentine's Day, switch duties. Men, do the cooking. Ladies, take out the garbage. Guys, do some wash. Gals, fill up the gas tank.

A spa date — for him! Although men are afraid to admit it, the idea of going to a spa with massages, pedicures and facials — basically pampering — probably sounds pretty good to them. If your man is up for it, go together and enjoy the time together.

Make a photo album. It doesn't take that long to select a few of your favorite photos of you and your spouse or your whole family. Now this isn't a scrapbook; it's a quick and easy photo album for your loved one to browse through and share with others.

Draw a relaxing bath. Get the candles lit, dim the lights and fill it to the brim with bubbly hot water. While your valentine is soaking, take a clean towel and toss it in the dryer to warm it up.

Buy a classic toy. Get the guy in your life a Lionel Train or some other nostalgic toy. For her, maybe a replica of a favorite doll, a special game from her early years. Go online to look for manufacturers of old-time toys.

A closet makeover. Get in there and clean your loved one's closet out. But allow him or her the courtesy of looking through the stuff that you are planning to get rid of so he or she can salvage anything that really has any meaning.

A themed gift basket. Select something that you know he or she loves to do and fill a basket with gift items that support that love. Could it be a sewing basket? A basket with all the fixings to go to the movies? A basket full of hunting, bowling or golfing stuff?

Name a Star. You got it: Name a star after your loved one. Go to www.nameastar.net for more information.

Make something . . . anything! Anything homemade or "from the heart" is the perfect gift for Valentine's Day. Can you sing or play the guitar or piano? Then write a song and perform it for your loved one. Can you sew? Build in the shop? Write poetry? A simple poem, silly as it might seem, will stay with your valentine for years to come.

Extravagance is out, and meaningful is in as you honor your loved one on Valentine's Day this year. Here are some ideas from decorating and design partners Matt Fox and Shari Hiller of mattandshari.com. Scripps Howard News Service

Choose meaningful over extravagant on Valentine's Day 02/10/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 3:30am]

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