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02/13/2013 11:26 am ET | Updated Apr 15, 2013

5 (Extremely) Last-Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

My friends got married on Valentine's Day, which is definitely romantic. But romance is only one of the reasons why they did it. Basically, the bride didn't want the groom to forget their anniversary or Valentine's Day, which can both be slippery slopes for men. This story always makes me laugh. I'm not sure if he's lucky or doomed by having both occasions on the same day! She was trying to help him out with the double reminder, which is sweet. But, not all of us are lucky enough to have two reasons to remember February 14th.

Maybe you've had Valentine's Day on your mind since New Year's but you've been stumped, or maybe it totally slipped your mind despite all your best efforts and now you're in a bind. Whatever the case, I'm here to help. Don't even try to get reservations somewhere nice. That train has left the station. Luckily, I've put together a list of things you can pick up or do today that don't require advanced notice or elaborate planning.

Have you come up with a great last minute Valentine's Day gift idea? Share your story with me in the comments!

Sealed with a Kiss
You've probably heard the history of Valentine's Day before, but as it often gets lost in a haze of chocolate hearts and flowers, I'll remind you briefly what it is we're celebrating each February 14. In the third century in Rome there were several Christian saints named Valentinus. One of them was imprisoned for marrying couples against the orders of Emperor Claudius II, who outlawed marriage for young men based on the logic that single men made better soldiers. Before Valentinus was to be executed, he hand wrote a love letter to his jailer's daughter, who he had fallen in love with, and signed it "From Your Valentine." Who better to take your cues from than the saint this holiday was named after? Take your Valentine's Day to the next level and not only make a homemade valentine card but sign it "From Your Valentine" and explain to them why that is significant. Include a romantic quote from a favorite movie, song or author to add to the ambience.

Have a Picnic
Depending on what kind of climate you live in, your picnic can take place outside at a lovely park, or if it's unbearably cold like it is in New York right now, you're definitely safer indoors. Get creative and turn your living room into a picnic complete with a blanket laid out, flowers and a loaded basket. What might you pack in that basket? Take a trip to your favorite gourmet store and pick out a selection of fancy cheeses and snacks with aphrodisiac qualities to put together a sensual spread. Avocados, figs, pine nuts and, of course, chocolate are just a few foods thought to have passion power. Top it all off with a bottle of your favorite wine to share.

Be a Hero
Material gifts are hard to argue with, but sometimes the best gift comes from the heart. With that in mind, how about a whole slew of things that come from the heart in the form of an IOU coupon book? You can, and should, really put yourself out on a limb here. Coupons for hugs and kisses are always popular, sure, but how about upping the ante? Offer to make breakfast in bed, do the grocery shopping, and give a 30-minute massage! What seems like a little book can go a very long way.

Grow Together
One way to remind your darling of your love's permanence is to plant a tree with them. This way, you're not only being thoughtful in the moment by showing up with an adorable potted tree, but your thoughtfulness will be remembered year after year as it, and your love for each other, grows. I know someone who gave a grapefruit tree for Valentine's Day once upon a time, and now 10 years and 500 (yes, really!) grapefruits later, you can be sure he's still sweet on her, literally. Try a Meyer lemon, apple tree or flowering tree depending on where you live and when you're planting. Tip: make sure to plant it together on Valentine's Day as a bonding experience that you can remember for years to come.

Get Decked Out
Let's face it, it always feels good to do nice things for the one you love, and reminding them of some of the reasons you love them is no exception. What's even better is sharing, not one or two, but 52 reasons you love them via a deck of cards. That's right, one for every week of the year. Get a deck of cards with a romantic theme, or a classic pack will do. Then, punch two holes in each card in the same place and fasten them together with binder rings. You can choose to glue down little pieces of paper or write directly on each card. Whichever way you do it, have fun listing away what keeps you coming back for more! Just beware that this gift will be pretty hard to beat next year.

So, if Valentine's Day slipped your mind this year, don't fret. With this list, you've got it all under control. If things go as well as I suspect they will, you might even want to save Valentine's Day till the last minute again next year!

Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of Gifts.com and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.

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