Valentine’s Day is all about romance. One definition for “romantic” is “appealing to the emotions by its imaginative or heroic or picturesque quality,” according to my trusty old Oxford American pocket dictionary. When it comes to a gift for her that means her emotions, not his. So the overpriced flowers and candy in the heart-shaped box are fine, even appreciated, but the red lace panties and the latest manual on Kama Sutra sexual positions may not be. So what does she really want?
First, a few don’ts. Even in these politically correct times, she probably does most of the household chores. Valentine’s Day is not the time to remind of her that. So forget about the cleaning supplies or appliances. I’d also stay away from exercise equipment — she looks great as it is — and cookbooks — every meal is her best with or without the latest cookbook.
Now for the second part of the equation: Having an imaginative or picturesque quality does not mean a frivolous or impractical gift. Tasteful and elegant are words that come to mind.
Feels like silk
Tasteful, elegant and perhaps even scrumptious are the best way to describe the pajamas at , a Manhattan-based shop, which within three weeks of its launch in Nov. 2003 sold out of its merchandise.
Celebrities have already discovered the pajamas, made of a high thread-count fabric similar to the material used in the world’s finest sheets. Courteney Cox’s character Monica wore the PJs in an episode of “Friends.” Other celeb fans include Robin Wright Penn and Kelly Ripa.
Threadcountzzz’s two-piece, men’s-styled pajamas are “definitely not sexy,” but they are “luxurious,” says Nicola Parish, a company spokesperson. What makes them special is the 100 percent Egyptian cotton and the more than 400 thread count. “Egyptian cotton is more durable, softer and has more luster than regular cotton,” explains Parish. “Generally, the higher the thread count, the silkier and lighter the sheets,” she adds.
For V-day, the best bets are the Heart Ties pajamas with small embroidered red and pink hearts on the pocket and cuffs. Available in white, lipstick or peach, the PJs cost $148 and come in a button-closure pouch made of the same fine fabric.
Threadcountzzz, however, has not cornered the market on luxurious cotton. Check out the cotton poplin PJs for $150 at , the high-end Chinese lifestyle brand. The pink, lilac, white or pale blue pajamas with a mandarin collar are a perfect fit for V-day.
A little pin with a lot of heart
Looking for something less expensive but that sparkles? Remember all that sparkles is not diamonds, even on V-day. Sparkly pins happen to be in. A little pin with a lot of heart is the little red dress pin at Austrian-crystal company . Covered with ruby and Siam crystals, the signature pin in Swarovski’s Power of Love collection costs $50. Swarovski plans to donate up to $125,000 from sales of this collection made between from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 to the .
In or out, this sparkly pin is destined to be a classic, as the red dress pin has become the symbol of Women and Heart Disease. Order it online at the company’s Web site or use the store locator to find a brick-and-mortar retailer.
Another heartfelt gift is the chunky charm bracelet from . The lesser-known women’s accessories manufacturer plans to donate $5 from the sale of each $45 bracelet, sold between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, to the American Heart Association. The bracelet is filled with nine heart charms. One features a red dress. The bracelets are not sold online but a list of brick-and-mortar retailers is available at the .
Red tea and roses
Bath and body products are always a charmer. What’s hot this V-day is the red tea collection from Berkeley, Calif.-based, bath-and-body care company .
Fans of red tea have always said the deep red herb — harvested from the South African Rooibos plant — has healing powers. Now TerraNova has combined the “miracle tea” with cocoa butter. The result is a line of super creamy, red-tinted products, which smell delicious.
Some products to consider include: the 3.75-ounce bar of glycerin soap, $4.50-5; a 5.25-ounce tub of thick body cream, $20; or the cologne mist, which comes in a 4-ounce glass bottle for $30.
The ultimate red tea experience may be the tea tub. Drop a sachet in the tub and the exotic blend of Egyptian chamomile, Dead Sea salts, certified organic red tea and crushed cocoa will “transform your bath into a pool of tranquility.” Six sachets come in a metal tin, which retails for $20.
The red tea collection is sold online at the following cyber shops: in Eugene, Ore., Costa Mesa, Calif.-based and Ocean City, N.J.-based More cyber retailers are listed on the Web site.
Bonbons in the bathtub Indulge her further. How about some bubbly or bonbons for the bathtub? Both can be found at bath-and-body shop .
A shot of the champagne-scented bubble bath goes a long way. The Happy Hour champagne bath cocktail is pricey at $32 but one 16-ounce bottle can be used for several occasions. Presentation, especially on V-day, is also key. And the champagne cocktail comes in a sleek, glass bottle with a cork.
If that’s not enough decadence for one day, consider throwing in a few bath bonbons, packaged in a small white or black box with a pink ribbon. These bath bonbons are not edible but release the delicate smell of champagne or white chocolate mousse when immersed in water. Primarily made of cocoa butter, the bonbons moisturize as well. A box of eight white chocolate mousse and champagne bonbons sells for $18. Each individual bonbon is wrapped in tinted foil.
Indulge also plans to offer strawberries & champagne bath sweethearts this V-day. A box of 10 heart-shaped bath bonbons will be available Feb. 1 and cost $20.
Serve up some tea. But not just any tea
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, re-released its limited-edition rose petal tea. Pink and purple “baby” rose buds and petals float on top of and are mixed in with the black tea blend. A 2.8-ounce tin costs $10.50. The teas are sold nationwide at the natural and specialty food stores.