Ok, so another Valentine”s Day has crept up on us. The Hallmark holiday that is either loved or despised. Well, at least for anyone older than 10.

Paul Wong
Students show off their romantic side by making Valentine”s Day cards in the basement of the Union.<br><br>JEFF HURVITZ/Daily

I remember V-Day was always enjoyable in grade school because you”d make a special paper bag where everyone would put your valentines, and of course since everyone was forced to get everyone else a card of some sort, there were never any hard feelings. And then, some kid”s moms would come in with brownies, cup cakes, cookies, you name it, and the second half of the afternoon was spent in Valentine festivities.

Oh, the joy of youth. But before I go down memory lane, I wanted to give a brief survival guide to all of us that are not so fortunate as to get the afternoon off to stuff our faces and fill up our brown paper bags.

That Saint Valentine Guy: Make your valentine ooh and ah at your amazing knowledge of the holiday that no one seems to know. (Ok, at least a lot of people) The basic story (please don”t quote me in any term paper or anything this stuff came right from the history channel) is that it was found that non-married men tend to fight better in wars than married men, so a law was passed that forbid young men to get married. Valentine married couples in secrecy, and when this secret was discovered, Valentine was martyred.

The second part of the story is a little bit fuzzier, but the basic idea was that Valentine fell in love with a jailor”s daughter and before he was put to death, he sent her a card and signed it “From your Valentine.”

Cards: Keeping cards in mind, these are always a good idea for both couples and non-couples, although if you are a member of a couple, I highly advise that you at least give your significant other at least a card or you”ll be in the doghouse for a while.

Anyhow, thanks to modern technology, you don”t even have to run out and buy a card. Although if you do, please keep in mind that the Hallmark store that used to be on State Street closed down January 31. (I of course found this out two days too late, so you”re welcome for saving you the walk down there.)

Online cards are around all over the place, they”re really easy to send, they”re free and, for you earth friendly people, they don”t kill any trees. Just pick out the card that you like, type in the appropriate e-mail addresses and presto, you have a card. You can even make a card up a few days in advance and tell the online card company to wait until the 14th to send them.

If you really want to be a sneak, you can send the same card to all your friends, saving you the time and energy, although if they find out they all received the same card, it might not make for a pretty situation the next time you guys hang out.

Presents: While a card is pretty easy everyone can and should send them presents get a little bit more confusing. Do you need to get a present for the girl you went on a first date with the week before? What about the guy you”ve been with for a month? Or how about the person that you have a major crush on?

Then, what kind of present should you give? There”s the typical flowers and candy, or you can up the ante with teddy bears, jewelry or just presents that aren”t Valentine-related, but you know the person will like. Then if you”ve been together for a while, the whole creativity thing needs to be taken into account. You can”t give the same bear and chocolate every year.

One cool suggestion for something a little bit unique is to make your own bear. You can check it out at www.buildabear.com. You can pick out a bear, put a special heart that you”ve wished on inside of it, and then stuff it. What makes this even cooler, other than the fact that you made it yourself, is that you can record your voice and put it inside the bear.

Breaking Up: While V-Day is often thought to be a day of joy and love, lots of people actually get dumped on V-Day. The number one reason I”ve always heard when I ask, “Why then couldn”t they have waited a day?” is, “Well, they brought it up.”

Hence, DO NOT bring up the status of your relationship on V-Day. Even if everything seems wonderful, you met the parents, get along with the friends, there are absolutely no guarantees. Holding your tongue for one day might just save you a lifetime memory of getting dumped on V-Day.

Then there”s the strategic break up to look out for. One of my friends got dumped about three weeks before V-Day. Coincidence? I think not. Another friend took a different route and actually stayed in a relationship whenever V-Day or some other present-giving holiday was coming up just to get the presents.

The Anti-V-Dayer: If you”re the type of person who just hates V-Day, or you just got your heart trampled on by your ex, V-Day probably isn”t looking so exciting. So what do you do? Well, you have a few options. You can ignore the day completely, take a day for yourself, go out with some friends, hit on the crush you”ve been eyeing for weeks or do anything else that makes you happy.

The good news is though, it”s just another day. It”ll all be over in a short 24 hours, you won”t have to see any of the V-Day promotional items and hearts all over the place, and if you go to the grocery store the day after, most of the V-Day candy is half-off or more.

VD: For those of you that will be enjoying the holiday in a physical manner, be sure not to pick up a VD on V-Day. Public service announcement: Wear a condom. You can get these from the Safe Sex Store, any drugstore or supermarket, or you can pick up some free condoms from the University Health Service.

With that said, I wish you all a fun, safe and happy V-Day, with very few breakups and lots of cute, fuzzy bears with voice recordings.

Lindsey Alpert will be busy buying shares in Hallmark, but will still respond to any messages at lalpert@umich.edu.

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