Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day

Christmas seems like it was just yesterday, doesn't it? And now look at us. It's Valentine's Day and we have nothing for our honey. Oh how Feb. 14 sneaks up on us. One thing to thank the Internet for is the ability to express our love without it looking like we forgot that we needed to express our love.

Here are a few last-minute, Internet-friendly ways to not show up empty-handed:

We all love a good meal. Especially one made by someone else. But your cronies laugh when you reveal that you don't have dinner reservations on Valentine's night. Never fear. is here. The online restaurant reservation site allows you to plug in the time and general location of where you want to eat and tells you if any restaurants have openings. As of Wednesday morning of this week, there were 170 restaurants in the Washington area that had open tables anywhere between 5:30 and 9 p.m. If you're emotionally scarred from Tuesday night's horrendous commute and you'd rather stay in for dinner, check out The site allows you to input your address and then spits out all the nearby restaurants that offer delivery or carry-out.

Technology has not only blessed us with the Internet but also the ability to print from the Internet. In comes the online gift certificate. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas offers an online printing feature for any of its various Valentine's Day's packages. You can even set up appointments for your honey.

And then there are universal gift cards that can be printed and spent anywhere. offers online gift certificates to 300 stores valued between $10 and $500 that you can either e-mail to your honey or print out. also sells gift certificates valued at $15 to $2,500. They can be redeemed online or by phone for individual gift cards for hundreds of stores, restaurants, spas and hotels. Just be sure to click on the e-SuperCertificate, which is delivered to the recipient's e-mail. And there's also the Simon Giftaccount, which is a prepaid Visa virtual account that can be used for Internet, mail-order and phone orders. The giver can put between $20 and $500 in the account and pay just a $2 processing fee.

Speaking of hitting the print button, another way to hide the fact that you procrastinated on a Valentine's Day gift is to think culture and a little comedy. Buy tickets for one of the various live shows taking place around the D.C. area this year, print out the advertisement of the show and give it to your honey. It'll look like lots of planning went in to a nice night at the theater. The Kennedy Center is featuring "The Lion King" in June through August and "Hairspray" is coming to Warner Theater in April. Or you could tickle their funny bone with tickets to see one of the stand-up comedians coming to town, including Margaret Cho and Andrew Dice Clay, who are coming to Warner Theater in April, and Judah Friedlander from "30 Rock," who will be at the DC Improv in March.

This one takes a little planning but could be easy and thoughtful if done right. Think photo and nice frame. Photos can easily be professionally printed within an hour at Target or a dedicated photo store like Just e-mail them the photo and pick it up when you get a confirmation e-mail. Buy a frame while you're at it. Your honey will be touched by a nice photo of you or a special vacation you recently took together.

And finally, if you haven't even had the time to get your honey a card, think about an e-card. There are the free ones found at and, where a sappy or funny card lands in your honey's e-mail inbox. Paid e-cards offer a wide assortment of more clever and artistic cards. Hallmark offers both free and paid e-cards for $1.49 to $1.99. And then there are the e-cards that will make you and your sweetie feel good because the proceeds go to charity. Save the Children, an organization that helps American children living in poverty, offers e-cards or printable cards featuring children's artwork. Your sweetie can get one of these cards with a donation as little as $1 from you. How thoughtful of you!

What are some of your last-minute Valentine's Day gift ideas that really paid off?

By Tania Anderson |  February 14, 2008; 3:00 AM ET Holidays and Special Occasions
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