Stores like Walmart with their explosion of red and pink balloons, flowers and gifts, and ads on Facebook for flowers and gifts surely won’t let anyone forget that Valentine’s Day is approaching.

Typically when I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of candy, flowers and stuffed animals, like most probably do.

I recently saw survey results from candystore.com that says Virginia’s top three Valentine candy are conversation hearts, heart-shaped box of chocolate and cupid corn.

Honestly, I had to Google what cupid corn even was, and I wouldn’t care for any of those candies for Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been one who is big on chocolate, even though I do enjoy Reese’s. I’d prefer skittles or another type of fruity candy.

Now I feel like I’m rambling.

But, even though I don’t care for the typical chocolate, and I don’t like stuffed animals, I feel like its always been easy for my significant others to find gifts for me to enjoy — candy, jewelry, food, a picture of us, whatever. I’ve always thought the more personable of a gift the better — like maybe a framed collage of mementos from their first date.

And, how you present the gift is always important as well.

One year, many moons ago, I had a guy gift me this beautiful ruby heart-shaped gold ring. Ruby was my birthstone.

I really did love the ring, but how he gave it to me could’ve gone much smoother.

That year, he had decided to take me to iHop for Valentine’s Day because that’s where we had our first date. I don’t remember how or why that was our first date, but it was.

And gentlemen, regardless of the sentimental value, I wouldn’t recommend taking your lady to a breakfast spot for Valentine’s Day dinner, unless that’s her absolute favorite I guess.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but who am I to complain? So, we went. It was his planned date. Then after we ate, we go to the car, and he proceeds to hand me this ring in the parking lot of all places and the first thing that spills out of his mouth is, “It doesn’t mean anything.”

Way to ruin the moment.

I’m sure he wanted me to know it wasn’t an engagement ring, but come on.

There also was the time a guy took me to a mall to window shop for Valentine’s Day.

Yep, you read that right. I had complained about being tired of the movie and a dinner date, so he took me to a mall, with no intention of taking me on a shopping spree or anything like that. And, guess where we ended up? At the movies at the mall.

Another thing about Valentine’s Day is I feel like most of the gifts are geared towards women. But, I would feel wrong if I didn’t get the guy something too even though I’ve always struggled with what to get.

So I try to stick with items that mean something special to the both of us — maybe a collage of our photos or last year, I gave my now finance a photo of what the constellation looked like the first night he told me loved me with the date and the saying, “I’ll always be your sunshine.”

He gave me a necklace that day that said I was his sunshine.

Oh, and let me tell you about last year’s Valentine’s Day quick.

This let me know for sure that this guy is a keeper.

He had his daughters for the weekend last year so we decided we’d take all the kids bowling for Valentine’s Day and have a family outing instead of a romantic night for two.

Well, Valentine’s Day approaches and my daughter gets sick.

So, him and his daughters went to CVS to get me a new, expensive thermometer, children’s medicine, Ginger Ale and a heart-shaped pizza from Pizza Hut.

We spent the evening eating pizza and breadsticks and watching the kids movie Zombies and playing bowling on the Wii.

And, he didn’t flinch when my daughter decided to throw up all over my shirt in front him. Also, the very next day when I ended up sick, he came over and took care of us.

While I thoroughly enjoyed our night in last year, hopefully this year’s Valentine’s Day will be a little more romantic and a lot less sickly.

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com