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Posted on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Worst Valentine's Day gifts: Don't do it!

By Judy DiForte

“You shouldn’t have. You really shouldn’t have.”

Not exactly what you want to hear when he opens your Valentine’s Day gift… And yes, it is possible to give such a bad gift that giving nothing would be an improvement.

For my research into this delicate subject, I consulted... what else? The Internet!

What I found both surprised and disturbed me. Read on!

Nominees for worst Valentine’s Day gifts are ...

  • A half-eaten bag of red and pink M&Ms. (He got hungry on the way home.)
  • A toaster. (The good news: the boyfriend is gone, but the toaster still works fine)
  • A used hat. (Three days later the entire family got an extra gift: head lice.)
  • A talking picture of him, so she could listen to his voice whenever she missed him.
  • A pair of his underwear… Yep, to remember him by when she missed him
  • A razor that pulls hair out by the roots.
  • A book called “Love Isn’t Easy.”
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  • An elliptical machine.
  • A vacuum cleaner.
  • Jumper cables.
  • A nightshirt that said, “I only sleep with the best.”
  • Some Kraft cheese.
  • Money.
  • “I love you from top to bottom” toilet paper.
  • A cactus.
  • A water filter.

I saved the best for last: a rose loan. Her boyfriend gave her roses, but then took them back because he needed to give them to his mom.

THUD! (I didn’t make any of these up, by the way.) What were these people thinking? Right, nothing says, "Be mine!" like a set of jumper cables.

I suspect (and hope) that horrendous gifts are the exceptions. What I think most of us are guilty of is the predictable gift. Red roses and baby’s breath or a tie are okay… but they’re a bit perfunctory. They seem to say, “There, I’ve done my Valentine duty for the year.” And If you just grab something from the center aisle at Walmart, your partner will know just how much thought you put into the gift.

The best gifts are tailored to the person you’re giving to. Make it obvious that you thought about that person when shopping. Does she have a favorite flower, or a favorite color? Has he mentioned wanting a special dinner? What color are her eyes? What music does he like?

It doesn’t need to take a lot of extra time, or even a lot of money, just some real thought! Have fun with it. Romance is anything but boring. It’s exciting, fun, playful and sexy. Your gift should be, too!

What's the worst gift you've ever received for V Day? What's the best?

Judy DiForte is marketing manager for The Betty Brigade, an Ann Arbor-based company specializing in relocation, organizing, event planning and concierge services. Leave a comment here, or email her at


Kellie Woodhouse

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Kraft cheese? For real? That's unfortunate-- at least spring for Velveeta. Also, is the talking picture a video? Or more like something out of Harry Potter?

Judy DiForte

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

Well, the Harry Potter kind of talking picture actually WOULD have been kind of a cool gift... But, no, I should have described it as a digital voice recording picture frame with the guy's picture in the frame and his voice recorded digitally on the recorder. (You know -- a talking picture.) Also, I agree about the Velveeta. Much classier!