Some Valentine’s Day gift ideas

I’m a bit of a practical girl. I figure the more chachkies I have, the more I have to dust. I also tend to break things (I’m not sure why, but I’m a destroyer). I prefer experiences over things, but I also prefer things I can use or that I need over trinkets. Perhaps I could benefit from a lesson or two in romance. Maybe I should learn to allow a guy to lavish me with gifts and attention. (By the way, this lady happens to be single, guys!)

Perfect example. I had a very nice boyfriend while attending Penn State. We were walking down College Avenue in State College, sometime around this great calendar marker of love, and of course, I started with my mouth. I yapped about how crowded restaurants limit menus and raise prices. I yammered about roses being grown early, refrigerated, defrosted for boyfriends to buy, then dying off quickly and forgettably.

As it turns out, this thoughtful, in-love, well-intentioned boy planned on buying me a dozen very lovely red roses. Having never been given such a valentine, I apologized and tried to backpedal, but, alas, it was too late. Nevertheless, he — being a good sport — spent the money he had set aside for roses on a powder blue, belted raincoat I had spied that day in one of the shops.

That jacket outlasted our relationship . . . by years.

Practical? Okay, so perhaps more like a consequence of youthful insolence.

Now, don’t get me wrong: if I receive flowers or (hint hint) a day of beauty at the spa, I am not turning the gift away! If you’ve already bestowed your amor with all the chocolates she can eat, perhaps unpredictable will light her fire.

Whether you have a pragmatic girlfriend, a difficult woman, a picky other half, or just want to wow your sweet with something different, here are some ideas for an exciting V-Day sentiment.

Unique Jewelry ($14 and up)

DuffyAccessoriesSilverBracelet22If you like supporting local businesses, you can buy a unique piece at Duffy’s Accessories, 218 Linden Street in downtown Scranton. Owner Maureen Duffy features the work of local artisans plus imported goods she calls “one and done,” meaning only one of each is ordered, so you won’t see ten of the same bracelet or ring walking around Scranton. Duffy cleverly remarked that the “color coded” shop is easy to navigate for those who hate to spend time shopping. If none of the one-of-a-kind pieces tickle you, Duffy offers custom jewelry, so you can include your beloved’s favorite color or that perfect charm.

Being an animal lover, the $30 “Lover not a Fighter” necklace sings to me. Not only is it a cool conversation piece, but 40 percent of the proceeds benefits the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, which promotes awareness for issues relating to misunderstood breeds. You can order the necklace at

Snow Tubing ($15–$20, plus rentals)

Looking for something the two of you can share? How about spending the day snow tubing at Montage Mountain? The website boasts “the LONGEST and FASTEST tubing trails in NEPA!” This winter season introduced fire pits where you and your honey can sip hot cocoa, toast marshmallows, and cozy up. You can even come in from the cold and partake of some adult beverages cuddled up in the warm lodge.

Piercing ($30–$80)

If your girlfriend has piercings or has been considering her first, taking her for one or getting a gift certificate is a great gift idea.

Mat Dapkuinas is the senior piercer at Marc’s Tattooing & Body Piercing located at 342 Adams Avenue in downtown Scranton. Mat’s been piercing satisfied clients for 16 years and has been plying his trade at the shop longer than any other artist (excluding Marc himself).

Dapkuinas says romantic and platonic couples alike can give the gift of piercing, and often get pierced together. “As far as the benefits over, say, roses and candy, it lasts quite a bit longer than both, doesn’t affect your waistline like candies and is not an allergen like flowers! As far as over a tattoo, it is not permanent, so if you break up, you don’t have Billy/Robin’s name on your arm forever.” (“Wino Forever,” anyone?)

Marc’s is open on February 14 from noon until 10 pm. You can call (570) 342–0124 to make an appointment or email Mat directly at

Couples Cooking Class ($55, plus pantry)

Nothing says “we’re family” like breaking bread together. Chef John Tabone will come right to your home and show you how to put some spice into your culinary life. Whether your Valentine is a fan of Food Network, cooking on her own, or just eating well, Chef Tabone will show you the ropes of food preparation for $55 per lesson, plus the cost of grocery items. You and your partner can have fun, learn kitchen skills, and then enjoy a four course meal together. Bonus: to romance her next year, you can make the meal a Valentine’s Day tradition by cooking for her and reliving the memories! Call (570) 881–4771 to contact Chef Tabone or visit his website

Skydiving ($199)

Perhaps your better half is the adventurous type. If so, skydiving would be the thrill of a lifetime!  Barbara Kellner, Above the Poconos Skydivers in Hazleton, says skydiving is a wonderful gift, since the person giving it often wants to join in the fun. The family-owned business is running a winter special for $199. Persons over 18 can call for a personalized gift certificate, then redeem it for the 30-minute lesson and instructor/student tandem sky dive. Kellner claims “this is the experience of a lifetime — something they will never forget in their life.” Above the Poconos is the longest running skydiving company, with 51 years in the business and a 100% safety record.

Whatever you decide to get her, if you put thought and care into it, she is sure to adore it. (Some of us ladies really do mean it when we say “it’s the thought that counts!”) Who knows . . . maybe you’ll ignite the flame of romance in her. She may even learn to dust chachkies.

  • Kimberly Aquilina
  • Kimberly Aquilina is a Scranton native and studied journalism at Penn State University.

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