My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine

— by andrea mcguigan

Right about here, at the beginning of this paragraph, is where you’d probably expect the diatribe against standard Valentine’s Day gifts. It usually begins with something like, “Hey, people in relationships, are you sick of the standard fancy dinners, boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers for V-Day? Here are some recommendations to get you thinking outside the box!” Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some really unique gifts out there for the romantically-inclined, but I’m also including some creative takes on the fancy dinner, the chocolates, and yes, even the flowers. Because even the phrase “outside the box” is now inside the box, isn’t it? So let’s stop thinking of Valentine’s Day as a contest to prove our love and start thinking of it as an opportunity to show our love for others through unique gifts, new experiences and creative design. Here are some recommendations to get you started on your journey.

Color My World
EC06GIFTS_1_WEBPerhaps you’re like me and artistically, um, challenged. As in, your stick figures look like scribbles and your attempts at visual expression look like … more scribbles. Have no fear, stunted painters of the valley! There are two places available to you if you’re willing to give the paintbrush the old college (or in my case, elementary school) try. In Shavertown, artist Nina Davidowitz offers workshops called, “Wine, Dine and Create a Masterpiece!” In these one-off classes, you are shown how to recreate an artistic masterpiece by one of the greats. Davidowitz gives you a background of the artist’s biography and then you get started on making your very own to take home with you. You are encouraged to bring a bottle of something with you — wine, champagne, sparkling water — to keep those creative juices flowing. The upcoming workshops are on Wednesday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb. 14, where the masterpiece will be Georgia O’Keefe’s Red Poppy. On Wednesday, Feb. 26 and Friday, Feb. 28, the composition will be Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life. Classes are $55 and limited to eight participants. Call or email to reserve your place and make a $20 deposit. (570-262-5720 or Another place that offers art classes (where you can also bring your favorite beverage to imbibe while you get your O’Keefe on) is Spirited Art, located in the Fashion Mall Shopping Center in Dickson City. The calendar is filled to the brim with available classes, and many of them are romantically themed, including a “Fifty Shades of Paint” night on Valentine’s Day. Prices vary. Call or email at (570)507-1560 or

Hello, My Baby
The days of singing telegrams are alive and well, folks. For just $50, you can regale your better half with two Valentine-y songs, a box of chocolates, a rose, a photo of your choosing and a card from you (See? Flowers and chocolates can be creative, too.) The Wyoming Valley Barbershop Harmony Chorus offers this retro valentine every year and will surprise your lover at work, at home or at school. This group of men has been crooning since 1952 and still meets on Monday nights to create harmonies together. To schedule your singing valentine, call (570) 285-4810.

EC06GIFTS_4_WEBEye of the Beholder
Immortalize one of your most memorable moments by printing a meaningful photo onto a full canvas, framed print, greeting card, or even a three-dimensional glass prism at Prices vary based on your medium of choice. Just imagine a photo of your first date, favorite place, moment of marriage proposal or inside joke framed and hanging on the wall. It’s romantic, it’s unique and it makes artwork of your relationship. What’s not to love?



EC06GIFTS_3_WEBTell It in Your Own Words
Perfect for the writer in your life, Hopehouse Press out of England creates personalized leather-bound journals. Offered in two sizes, you can opt for the standard “The Story of Us” cover or create your own bespoke message. The pages are made of a sturdy ivory-hued paper which promises to be gentle on your pen, and the binding is sewn into the fine Italian leather. You can opt for lined or plain pages, and the cover is done using a black-ink letterpress that will wear over time, creating a beautiful and unique well-loved appearance. If you want to add a personalized note card, just include your text in the order and the company will print out a notecard and place under the ribbon on the gorgeous gift-wrapping. The smaller journal retails for $75 and the larger for $93. You can choose the color of the journal in either caramel or russet. Find them at

The Classics
Chocolates: Take it further than the standard box of drugstore candy and stop into Bella Faccia’s gourmet chocolate shop at 516 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton. You can personalize chocolates with a photo of your choosing. The sentiment will last long after the chocolate has been chewed.
Flowers: Flowers get an undeserved bad rap at Valentine’s Day. Flowers are beautiful! Make your bouquet unique by mixing up the flower type. Orchids, lilies, daisies, lilacs, tulips and wildflowers all have significant romantic meanings and can be paired with unique additions like a message in a bottle (write down a love poem or a personalized letter), bath fizzies (try the creations from Fanciful Fox or Lavish Home + Body) or a fine bottle of wine. and
Dinner: For a twist on the old dinner date, try writing love letters across the table to each other. Try a new restaurant with a type of food you’ve never had before. Find a place with live music and actually dance together. Play truth or dare at the table. Order each other’s food. Heck, bring along trivia cards and quiz each other. There are a thousand ways to reinvent the dinner date and I guarantee you, your partner will appreciate the effort.