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Thinking Outside the Box of Chocolate

Shopping for Valentine’s Day have you red in the face? Here are some innovative gift ideas on the market now:

PajamaGram –Ranging in price from $20 to about $50, PajamaGrams are unique, comfy sets of sleepwear for men, women, children, families, couples, or even the family dog. PajamaGram is the sister company of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, and delivers each gift to the recipient’s door in a keepsake package such as a hat box for women, a travel case for men, or a small doghouse with a plush puppy for children;

Love Tribute Album –For a more personal touch, Red Envelope offers a customizable photo album with pre-printed ‘tributettes’ such as ‘You are perfect for me because…’ that can be placed inside and used as prompts for personal memories. Each album can also be personalized with a small silver plaque for an extra charge, comes in red or ivory, and is printed on recycled paper; $68,

Couples Massage –Ocean’s Dream Massage and Bodywork in Chicopee offers side-by-side massages for 45, 60, or 90 minutes for two, for the duo that wants to relax together; $100 to $150,

Wine Club membership –Table & Vine of West Springfield’s Connoisseurs Club is a unique gift for wine lovers, and the timing is perfect; deliveries of six bottles of selected wines arrive on a recipient’s doorstep around the 15th of the month. Generally, Table & Vine’s wine-selection team will choose three bottles of red and three bottles of white, which are delivered on a bimonthly basis for $99 per shipment;

Spread the Love – offers gift cards for various occasions including Valentine’s Day, and allows gift givers to choose from more than 100 nonprofit and charity organizations, to which a donation in any amount can be made in the recipient’s name. These range from environmental protection entities to disaster relief efforts, educational endeavors, and health care and disease awareness advocacy groups all over the world;

V-cast for V-day —The Samsung FlipShot in red from Verizon Wireless features a 180-degree rotating display that transforms into a 3.0 megapixel camera; the ‘TVout’ option, which allows photos and videos to be displayed on a television; and a V CAST mp3 music system. Most importantly, the FlipShot comes ready for Valentine’s Day gift giving with its striking candy-apple red finish; $150,

Preserved Roses –Give a traditional gift some extra shelf life by opting for preserved roses over fresh blooms. Preserved roses are created by replacing water in their stems with glycerin, and they retain their soft texture for months – and can be kept and displayed for years. At, 20 preserved red roses are about $70, and individual stems or flower heads can also be purchased.

Nostalgia Candy –Less expected than a heart-shaped box of chocolates, nostalgia candy is one way to spark childhood memories. offers a wide selection of ‘vintage’ favorites and penny candy, including Big Hunk candy bars, Bit O Honey, and Sugar Daddies; $1 and up.

Tickled Pink –For the shopper who has no budget constraints, Katie Cochran at the Springfield Diamond and Jewelry Exchange recommends an ideal-cut pink diamond in the setting of one’s choice. These stones are available at a number of price points, up to about $65,000.

Rome, If You Want To – A similar ‘sky’s the limit’ gift could be a trip to Rome, Italy, to visit St. Valentine’s hometown and the Via Flaminia, a winding road on which the martyr is believed to have been buried. Several feasts and festivals honoring St. Valentine take place in Italy in both February and June; visit for more information.

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