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Valentine's Day Gifts for the Unconventional

For a gesture beyond the usual flower and chocolates, we suggest some alternatives, right here in Altadena.

I’ve never been a fan of long stemmed roses, Hallmark cards, Pepto-Bismol pink, or institutionalized sentimentality.  

And this has proved to be a problem in more than one relationship. The men I’ve known have always been gooey marshmallows when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Oh, well, opposites attract.

I believe in love, indeed I do, but mandated romance and gaudy displays of affection embarrass me. One boyfriend used to have funeral-sized flower arrangements delivered to my desk at work. What innocent bystander did he think this would impress–Steve in Human Resources, Cathy in Accounting? I couldn’t stick pins in the Forever balloons fast enough.

Then there was this chap I married. Thinking we were kindred spirits, I didn’t buy him anything when our first Valentine’s Day rolled around. That was the first big 'Oops' in a never-ending series of miscalculations.

I'm not overtly sentimental, this is true. I'm the spawn of those who celebrated major holidays by the giving and receiving of new household appliances. The good stuff was always given in the off-season. As a just-because.

Certainly, my ambivalence towards the holiest of love-days has enrolled me in a very exclusive club. So exclusive, I don't think I've met a single member. Even so, I feel incapable of writing about something other than Valentines’ Day on Valentine’s Day. So how about a gift list, tailored to the contrarian (or perhaps, just really, really difficult) person in your life. Here are a few local, and even last-minute gifts that are guaranteed cringe-proof.

  1. O, Dear Deer. A collection of lovely, insightful poems written by local and award-winning poet Linda Dove. Available at .
  2. A bottle of excellent champagne. Not sure if can come up to scratch in this department, but if there’s one thing you can always find in Altadena, it’s another liquor store.
  3. A series of riding lessons at
  4. Accessories from . (Just promise you won’t )
  5. Memberships – Huntington Library, Descanso Gardens, KPCC, Altadena Heritage, Foothill Conservancy.  KUSC has a pledge drive going on; they’ll say your name (or maybe even your Valentine's) on the radio.
  6. Phototgraphy class from .
  7. In the vein of Love me, Love my dog (or cat, goat, ferret, parrot), something special from .
  8.  , now there’s treasure trove. Gosh, where to begin – not to drop hints or anything, but I could use a staple gun.  
  9. A truck load of Tim Dundon’s Super Doo composted manure, delivered. (Should that special he or she be a gardener, then this is a particularly thoughtful gesture.  And if that he or she is not a gardener, then this is a symbolic gesture.)

You can skip it, though; all of it--the cards and compost, riding lessons and memberships; the crowded restaurants and chocolates. Here’s my favorite love song; take a listen.

If the two of you feel the same, who needs anything else? And if only one of you feels the same, then even a perfect rose won't make the slightest bit of difference. You can trust me on that.

Ron Rosen February 14, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I wish we could opt out of Valentine's Day. "Oh, I don't celebrate that. Like Christmas, it's not 'our' holiday."
Revvell February 14, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Why can't you?
Revvell February 14, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Just give me cash so I can get more kettlebells, Sand Bells and other play things for me and my ladies... and, spend some time with me. (He does) :)
Natalie February 14, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Give me Tim Dundon's Super Poo any day rather than roses. With a scarlet bow on top, of course.
Pasadena Adjacent February 22, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I got a toaster oven

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