Valentine’s Day is coming up on Sunday. This is a head’s up to men who might want to know about the perfect gift.

The perfect gift is any gift at all. Don’t show up empty handed, even if you think the whole holiday is just the card and candy shops trying to make an extra buck. You can be assured, despite her protests, that your sweetheart will appreciate any effort you might put forth to show her she’s dear to you.

You can show her (or him) what a special person (s)he is by taking a second to think about what (s)he’d really like. This will actually take more than a second, because a second’s worth of thought is only going to motivate you to buy the standard gifts: flowers and/or chocolate.

This is what my husband always gets me, and I act nice about it but these are the wrong gifts. Flowers must be maintained. Yes, they look very pretty, but they need to have their water changed and ends cut off or they won’t last more than a couple of days. If you send them to her workplace she’ll get to have her friends ooooo and ahhhh over them, so that may be something she’d like. I work from home so it doesn’t do me much good. If she’s not a plant person, though, flowers  may not be the best gift. Ditto for a live plant – which is a curse on any occasion. If you aren’t a plant person, you’re going to kill it. If you are, you’re going to have to water it and nurture it for years to come, and worse still; you’ll have to find a place for it. If you and I become friends, do not give me a live plant. I’ll take cut flowers any day, but I’d rather have something that will last, like diamonds.

Chocolates can be a nice gift, except for me. I’m Catholic and usually give up sweets for Lent. Lent happens a week or two after Valentines Day, so in any given year I’m either gorging myself on a giant box of chocolates to dispose of them, or letting them sit until after Lent. They call my name the entire time, even in my sleep. This is cruel. If you’re on a diet you’re not going to want the temptation, either. Think about this before you buy.

Nice gifts, in my book, are things that I can wear or physically enjoy. That’s why jewelry is cool – but don’t get me the expensive stuff, because I don’t wear it. If your sweetie does, then that’s a good choice. If she’s like me, go look in her closet and see what color clothes she has the most of – if it’s black, get her some nicely crafted black earrings at a little boutique. Look in her jewelry box and see if she likes big hanging earrings or small posts. I don’t know why this is so hard for guys. I never wear posts but I seem to always get them for a gift from my husband. If I say anything, his feelings get hurt. It’s a no-win situation unless you do a little snooping around. Notice if she wears big necklaces or small, dainty ones. Gold or silver? Beads or jewels? This is not rocket science.

If you’re buying for a guy, give him golf balls or a ticket to a basketball game – but only if HE likes these sports – not if you’re trying to get him interested in a sport you like. I get ticked when my husband gives me a gift that’s got HIS best interests at heart, not mine.

If your darling likes bubble bath, go that route. If she disdains scents, or only uses a certain line of products, then get her something she can use.

Take a few minutes, do your research, be thoughtful, and you’ll be rewarded on Valentines Day with less nagging. You may even get your heart’s desire, and if you’re a guy, I know exactly what that means to you.