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Even love needs a makeover

The meaning of Feb. 14 is being overhauled by couples who believe love is not an option but a way of life — with exchanging gag gifts, going skydiving and renewing wedding vows becoming the trend, showing that having fun keeps a relationship ticking.

Forgo the run-of-the-mill chocolate and flowers for a gift that will create memories of laughter and a rediscovery of life’s lighter side. Here are some fresh ideas to help you out on your shopping venture.

See stars — or rather, hearts — when you and your loved one don these Love At First Sight glasses. You may prefer to use these for an at-home Valentine’s Day celebration, unless you’re sure you won’t buckle under fellow diners’ bemused stares. When the glasses catch the light the wearer sees floating holographic hearts. Dim the lights, intersperse candles around your home and watch the love abound. Sure to bring appreciative oohs and aahs. Order online at coolstuffexpress.com for US$6.95 (excluding shipping and handling).

These Lip Lollys from baronbob.com are a conduit for the less verbose to get their feelings across. Give one, two or ten to a friend you hope can be something more — with this cheeky yet sweet implication, you need not utter a word to make yourself clear; and if your gift is taken the wrong way, you can hastily backpedal and say “just ‘cause I know you like The Rolling Stones!” Ideal for those who aren’t sure of reciprocated affections. Even more effective at quickly conveying sentiments is the Chocolate Light Switch. The packaging is emblazoned with “You turn me…” and you need simply flip the “switch” to “On” or “Off” to ignite some romance or as a bittersweet, no-mess way of breaking up with someone.

While Valentine’s Day often sees the exchange of transient trinkets that lose all value on Feb. 15, (you can’t exactly reuse heart-shaped confetti) a romantic atmosphere, conversation and easygoing togetherness are the real substance. Create the right mood in seconds — again with the flip of a switch! Transform your living room into an infinite milkyway of stars with the Laser Star Projector (find-me-a-gift.co.uk). You and your beloved will be lulled into a quiet state of awe as you watch the stars float on by, cast in the soothing glow of a cosmic blue nebula. Keep your eyes peeled for the shooting star, and when you do, declare a love as boundless as the galaxy. Also a great way of involving the kids and nurturing little wannabe astronauts.

The best conversation-spurring activities are those that unite you and your mate to achieve a common goal. Team up to compile a photo collage of the things, people and places you both love: her smile, his eyes, a mug of steaming coffee, your favorite restaurant or the shoreline you once treaded hand-in-hand by moonlight — scour the city for photo ops if you have to. A polaroid camera allows for instantaneous photo printing and it’s just plain fun to watch your goofy snaps being spit out.

Bonus points to you for arranging your shots in a heart shape on your bedroom wall as a reminder of all the grits, bits and pieces you love about your partner, and of life’s simplest blessings. Stay in the swing of the Valentine’s Day spirit year-round with the ‘I Love You, I Love Lomo’ Fisheye Camera (lomonesia.co.id). It may look like a toy, but this plastic powerhouse focuses subtleties, light leaks and lo-fi grains to churn out surprisingly vivid snaps like only a lomographic film camera can do.

Here’s a riddle: how is it possible to write a declaration of love on the wall so that only one person can see it? Use glow-in-the-dark paint! Go bold with neon colors and unrestrained expression – draw, write and vent to your heart’s content.

For co-habiting couples, I would suggest using the bedroom wall as your canvas. The best part is that your message is only visible in the dark, so not only is it a great way of surprising someone, but it can be the last thing you see before you fall asleep each night. Amp up the light show by arraying a bouquet of glowing roses on the bed or dining table. You can make these yourself by dipping the the petals in thinned glow-in-the-dark paint for one to two hours.

Lest you think giving “kooky” gifts is juvenile, remember that life gets hard when we take it too seriously — ditto in a relationship. However you decide to salute the day of love, it’s the memories you create that count.

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