Valentine's Day gifts

A Modest Proposal: Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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Pictured: A 1920s Vintage Valentine Card from Webweaver Vintage Cards site

Happy Sunday Recessionistas! I’m pleased to say that I survived a tough week and have found the courage to be frugal to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. Yes, economic slowdown or not, Valentine’s Day is coming and it must be celebrated. The thought of it is actually lifting my spirits. Although some of the economic news has been grim this week, the thought of hearts and flowers offers some welcome relief. The day of course is named for that poor Christian martyr Valentine. Of poor Valentine, really nothing is known, except that he died and the lovers’ day was named for him. Much later, the day signified the exchange of love notes and love poems. Today, the holiday is completely mass-merchandised and is marked by the sometimes lavish and pricey exchange of gifts. So if you are practicing “recessionista-living”, the question is how can you celebrate the day without spending a fortune? I have a few thoughts for our readers and I will be sharing additional tips as the day draws closer.

Make your own Valentine card!
My little sidekick the Recession-Niece-sta is already working on her cards. Every year she buys red construction paper and the lacy paper doilies. She traces her hearts, cuts them out and pastes the white paper lace doile over it and writes a cute message. We all adore the art work and the thought. Here’s the link to a site with some great tips on making Victorian Valentines.

Book your restaurant reservation at a Restaurant with a Prix Fix menu
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for dining out. Many restaurants are already booked. However, if you are still thinking of going out that day, check out all the “recession-friendly” menus and specials now springing up. I was driving down Pacific Coast Highway this week and spotted the banners for the Brix Wine Bar & Restaurant’s new “recession-menu.” The menu features 3 courses for $20.00 Sunday to Wednesday from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. The Marmelade Cafe also offers their early bird dinner Monday to Friday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm for $14.95. Check Google for specials like this in your city. There are many specials like this available and you can find them on Topix, Yelp, Chowhound and other sites that list them.

Enjoy a delicious meal at home
Check for some great recipes on the web or from your favorite cookbook and just enjoy a feast at home.
One of my favorite recipe sites is the Hungry Bear Blog. She has some wonderful recipes there, plus step by step directions and photographs to help your prepare them. I get hungry just looking at this blog!

Shopping deals on special Valentine’s Gifts

Valentine’s Gifts
for Ladies, check out some special jewelry:
Pictured: The Yummi Glass Murano Glass Heart Rimmed with 24k Gold

I’m a big fan of these beautiful hearts. They dress up any outfit and they are timeless. They retail at Henri Bendel and other fine stores for significantly more than they do from eBay sellers or from the Yummi Glass website. Check both sources for a good deal on these pieces. There is still plenty of time to order for less.

Pictured: HauteLook is featuring heart earrings and pendants from Erica Anenberg on sale Jan 28-29th

You also might want to check out HauteLook’s sale on the Erica Anenberg heart jewelry today. Very cute pieces at reasonable prices. Click here to shop the sale.

Dean Harris Jewelry from Target is on sale. This was a really great collection that is now on clearance.
Check out the Pearl Pod and the Silver Wire Citrine Flower earrings.

Valentine’s Gifts For Men:

Keep an eye on the Gilt Groupe sales this month. There is some great menswear at nice markdowns.

If you live in NYC, this is a VERY special sample sale on Name Brand watches that we got a hot tip on!
Tourneau is hosting a Private Sample Sale of new and pre-owned Famous Brand Name Watches as well as a selection of designer and estate jewelry all from 50% TO 70% OFF retail prices.
When: Saturday, February 7th through Thursday, February 12th
9:00am to 6:30pm Daily
Where: Soiffer Haskin, 317 West 33rd Street, (Just West of Penn Station between 8th and 9th Avenues), New York, NY

And finally, if you’re shopping for your favorite guy, watch sales on DVDs, electronics and movie passes at big box discounters like Cost-Co and Sam’s Club.

For a wide selection of Valentine’s Gifts on everything from jewelry, lingerie and electronics, check out If you take the time to plan in advance, you can score some nice deals by pointing and clicking from your home PC. 🙂

And just for some free fun, check out The History Channel’s website on Valentine’s Day quotes, sayings, love letters and free cards. Romantic Recessionista that I am, I especially love the story of the Brownings.

Pictured above is the actual letter poet Robert Browning wrote to Elizabeth Barrett. He wrote, ” I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett, — and this is no off-hand complimentary letter.” He touched her heart and won her love with nothing more than his words, some paper, ink and a nominally priced postage stamp. Now that’s priceless.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. sandla

    January 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

    It is necessary that the best gifts are always the ones that are thoughtful and suited specifically for that person. Generic gifts work, but the more targeted it is, the more it will be appreciated!

  2. Target-Addict

    January 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Great ideas! My husband has already asked me for a wallet-friendly (yet challenging!) V-day present: a love poem 🙂

  3. Gail

    February 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Happy Valentines day!