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Feel the Love

Dwight Barnes, owner of The Original Mr. B. Chocolatier in Willmar, shows off some of the Valentine chocolates, including the chocolate roses, above, and a box of chocolates, left. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

Valentine's Day, otherwise known as The Most Romantic Day of the Year, is only days away, and if you haven't found the perfect gift for that perfect someone, you may be entering panic mode.

To be fair, it's a day that can be filled with pressure. Unrealistic expectations and confusion over what makes the perfect gift can suck the romance right out of the holiday. Some question the commercialization of Valentine's Day and the point of dedicating one sole day in February to showing their loved ones how much they care.

But despite all that, there's something special about spending Valentine's Day with your significant other and showing them how much you cherish and appreciate them. That usually involves a gift. Still, if you haven't found your special someone a gift yet, you're not alone, according to local retailers.

"Men always seem to wait until the last minute," said Dwight Barnes, retired owner of The Original Mr. B. Chocolatier in Willmar. "Women always seem a little more prepared. They've been coming in to shop for a while now."

While men may be the notorious last-minute gift shoppers, there are undoubtedly some women out there feeling the panic, too. If you're stumped on what to get your sweetie this Valentine's Day, consider these no-fail ideas:

Chocolates. They're the universally loved Valentine's Day gift. It's rare to find someone who doesn't appreciate a nice box of chocolates, Barnes said. "There's just something in chocolate that makes you love the person who gave it to you," he said. "There aren't many people who don't love chocolate." At Mr. B's, you can choose from a variety of Valentine's specials, including chocolate-filled hearts in all sizes, chocolate roses and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Tickets to a concert, play or sports game. Does your valentine have a favorite band or artist coming to the area? Does he or she always make sure to catch the game on TV? Gift your significant other with tickets to an upcoming event. If it's something you want to see too, that's great. If not, you get bonus points for proving that you're willing to do something your partner enjoys just to spend time together.

Romantic dinner. Surprise your sweetheart by making a home-cooked meal from scratch and having it all ready to go by the time they get home from work. Go all out and serve an appetizer, main course and dessert. Also make sure to have some chilled wine to enjoy, and don't forget candles to set the mood. Or, if you're not a "do-it-yourselfer," take your special someone out on the town for a romantic dinner.

Flowers. Sure, red roses may be the unofficial Valentine's Day flower, but there are other options if you want to be more creative. Deb Ringler, owner of Angels and Ivy in New London, says some couples give each other a bouquet of flowers they had in their wedding or flowers from their first anniversary together. Gerbera daisies and carnations are also popular around Valentine's Day, she said. "Giving someone flowers is a unique thing that we don't always do for each other," Ringler said. "It shows a lot of feeling and that you care."

An exotic vacation. Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day this year with a lavish dinner or an expensive diamond necklace, put that money toward a vacation fund. Spend Valentine's evening planning where you'll go and when. It may not make for the most exciting Valentine's Day, but when you're sunbathing on the sands of Mexico next winter, you'll be grateful you gave up one day to make memories that will last forever.

Ashley White

Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.

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