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Valentine’s Day can make or break a relationship: Get the wrong gift, and you could be in the doghouse. Find a great gift, and your honey is happy all year long.

But how do you pick the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Says Marian Goodman, the Operating Vice President of Shopping Services at Bloomingdales and a longtime personal shopper, the number one rule is to remember your shopping for someone else. “You have to think of the recipient,” she says. That means putting the kibosh on purchasing your favorite CD or shirt, and thinking about what would make your partner happy.

Goodman admits that for many, Valentine’s Day is a “last-minute holiday." but says that even staid V-Day gifts like flowers and chocolates can be made more special with a little thought. Goodman recommends finding a gorgeous heart-shaped bowl and filling it with your loved one’s favorite candies. Kosta Boda, Orrefors and Nombe all make great bowls.

Another great way to make a personal gift for V-Day? Frame a favorite photo of you and your loved one. "Vera Wang’s ‘love knots’ picture frame as a perfect complement to a touching photo," she says.

 

Goodman believes that Valentine’s Day is all about luxury: The best gift Goodman ever helped pick out? “A fabulous bathrobe and that had a piece of jewelry in the pockets.” But even if you don’t have a ton of money to spend on diamonds, “it’s about thinking above and beyond the norm.”

Above all, she says, go for a sentimental present over a practical one. Don’t even think about giving your loved one a vacuum cleaner or a new mop. “It’s the worst thing you can do to hurt someone," she says.

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