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Nicole is an on-screen relationship and mental health expert as well as a psychological consultant for TV shows.

Why Valentine’s Day is not about you, guys

Here’s the secret to a successful Valentine’s Day: Whatever you do, do something.

“Even if you think the day is boring and commercial, celebrate it,” says Xavier Guidis. It’s sage advice from Guidis, who is a member of Les Clefs d’Or, the Paris-based international association of professional hotel concierges.

And however you choose to celebrate, keep in mind that the gift doesn’t have to be splashy as long as the gesture is genuine.

“I always like to get a card that tells me how he feels about me,” says Toronto resident Kathryn Taggart Braneff, who’s been married to her husband, Tim Braneff, for three years.

“I know it sounds cheesy to like getting a Hallmark card, but it’s one of my favourite things. He usually nails it and gets the perfect card that explains our relationship.”

According to Taggart Braneff, the card is usually part of a bigger celebration – a gift, a dinner out or perhaps a weekend in Niagara – but the written sentiment is special because she finds it “very thoughtful.”

Thoughtfulness is key to a memorable Valentine’s Day gift, notes Nicole McCance, a Toronto-based psychologist and relationship expert whose clientele is wide-ranging, from singles to long-time partners.

“I think many men really don’t know where to start,” says McCance. “Romance for them equals making her feel special. What is going to enhance the closeness and connection in a relationship? Women aren’t really craving chocolates, especially after Christmas. We lead such busy lives that women are really craving the connection.”

Women may not be great at expressing what they really want, but, according to McCance, a man can pick up clues from his partner’s comments and come up with a thoughtful gift that’s a winner.

If, for example, your partner is dropping hints that she’d like to spend more time with you, McCance suggests giving her quality time with you on Valentine’s Day – say, a couples day at the spa or a shopping trip to the mall.

“Why not write her a love letter?” she says, “Or let her sleep in while you make breakfast and take care of the kids. If you don’t want to clean the house – it’s your Valentine’s Day, too – hire a cleaner, then lay in bed and watch her favourite movies together.”

But once you have an idea of what to give as a gift, how do you execute?

Guidis, a self-described romantic who moved to Toronto from France for love, recommends all manner of gifts and experiences, from a last-minute bouquet request to getting VIP access to a sold-out concert on Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a busy day. Leave it too late, and you may have to resort to grocery-store flowers,” warns Guidis, who also has a tip for those stuck in indecisiveness.

“Don’t be afraid to be different. Flowers are nice, but now you can find bouquets made of eclairs and macarons.”

Gifts and gestures can be small, he says, as long as they’re personalized because that’s what means a lot.

“It’s easy to order cupcakes and flowers, but try to find the flowers she loves or the best cake. Pay more attention to detail; sometimes, simple stuff means the most.”

Consider too presenting her with a recent photo of the two of you in a nice picture frame.

Or how about picking out a new charm for her favourite bracelet at PANDORA Jewellery?

Whether it’s to celebrate a milestone in your relationship or a special event in her life, PANDORA Jewellery has a wide range of innovative jewellery pieces to choose from.

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                Nicole McCance Psychology

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Toronto, ON  |  M8Y 0B4

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