Presents are probably the worst part of any holiday. Trying to make sure you spend the same amount on someone's present that they spent on you, trying to find the perfect gift that they won't just shove in the closet or dump the first chance they get, and trying to make a gift meaningful and memorable are all problems we have.
And Valentine's Day is the same as any other holiday. For some guys, the problem might just be getting off the couch and actually going to the mall, or paying attention to the hints she dropped, like, "Oh ... that purse is just sooooo cute ...wish I had one like it." For girls, it means trying to figure out what a boy wants that he doesn't already have, or what he doesn't know he wants, but would love to get.
Gift-giving, to put it lightly, is a precarious and difficult process. So, to make it a little bit easier, here are a few Valentine's Day gift ideas and also some tips on gifts to avoid.
Homemade gifts are one of the best ideas around -- less expensive, but more thoughtful, memorable and one-of-a-kind than a store-bought gift.
Kyren Smith, a junior at Fremont High School, says he wants "something that's not necessarily bought ... but something that's from the heart."
These types of presents show your creative and artistic side, from a decorated picture frame with pictures of you and your special someone, to a mix CD with love songs or songs you both like; from a bunch of sweet handwritten notes or poems to couples' matching T-shirts.
Out of the oven
Or maybe you're less crafty, but you like to bake. Cookies, brownies, cake and fudge are treats that any guy or girl would love. Customized M&Ms or other candies that you can order online can be an original gift too.
If you're less into sugar and like fruit more, try some Cuties, the little oranges sold at grocery stores. Right now, these oranges actually have little stickers that say things like "I want to be your Cutie" right on them.
Other ideas for nontraditional presents that can be purchased instead of made -- but still require thought and time -- are hobby-related gifts, date opportunities or even clothes.
Cimmarron Lafollette, a junior from NUAMES, says, "I'm getting my girlfriend a soft, pink jacket."
Of course, don't buy your girlfriend a new bra and panties -- that could be awkward for her to explain to her parents - but giving her a hoodie or a scarf is a great idea.
If your girl's had her eye on a pair of boots in the mall, find out her shoe size and surprise her. If you're shopping for a guy, you can get him a jacket or belt. Or you can go shopping with him, which may take out the surprise factor, but ensures that he'll like the clothing.
Date-type gifts might include a gift card to a nice restaurant -- dinner for two, anyone? -- or a blanket that you two can picnic on when the weather gets warmer. Movie tickets and concert tickets work as well.
Matt Rosenlund, a senior at Clearfield High, says his present is "tickets to the Band of Skulls concert, with a rose."
Another category of gifts is anything related to your sweetie's hobbies. Does he play the guitar? Try some guitar picks. Drums? Think about drumsticks, or even a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Come to think of it, just plain headphones in her favorite color are a good present if she's into music.
If you two have been together for a while and he likes skating, maybe spending a few extra dollars on a new skateboard or a pair of skate shoes will make your present his favorite ever.
All these gifts would be nice presents, but what should we stay away from on Valentine's Day?
At Northridge High, junior Alexis Smith says, "The worst, most clichÃ© Valentine's gift would probably be those little Valentine card things you had to pass out to your classmates in elementary (school)."
Brigham Hardy, a junior from Fremont, agrees: "The cards that say 'To Brigham, From: blah blah blah.' There's no candy, there's no love note, and it's not heartfelt. They just belong in the garbage."
Teens have mixed feelings on classic gifts like candy and stuffed animals.
The most clichÃ© gift for Valentine's Day, says sophomore Brook Kendrick at Fremont, is "a dozen roses and a box of heart chocolates ... but I wouldn't mind getting one!"
Flowers seems to be a controversial idea though. As Kyren Smith says, "Roses (are the most clichÃ©). I mean, they're romantic, but let's be original here!"
Roses ... or a puppy?
So what do Top of Utah teens really want?
Hardy isn't picky: "I would like some chocolate, and a high-five would be cool."
Eneida Magana, a senior at Clearfield High, says, "For Valentine's Day, if I had a special person, I would like a handwritten letter expressing their appreciation and perhaps a small gift that reminds the both of us of a treasured memory that we share."
"A puppy wrapped with a bow," says Tristan Anderson, a senior from Fremont.
Senior Jeffrey Hein of Clearfield High says he wants to receive, "if anything, flowers."
"I really want my guy to plan something romantic and fun that will make me feel special," says Alexis Smith.
The typical presents for Valentine's Day are stuffed animals, creamy chocolates, dozens of roses, and, if your bank account agrees, jewelry. But this year, give your special someone, whether it's your boyfriend, your best friend, or even your mom, a present that's different from the norm.
And remember the reason why we go to all this trouble for gifts.
"People go all out to make Valentine's so flashy when it really doesn't have to be," says Magana.
Ryan Carver, a senior at Clearfield High, adds, "Valentine's Day shouldn't be as much as giving gifts to people, but spending time and expressing your love to those you love."
Minna Wang is a junior at NUAMES. For Valentine's Day, she's writing her boyfriend a note listing the things she loves about him and giving him something else yet to be decided. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.