Last-minute gifts, or what you can do now so you can safely go home tonight

February 14, 1992|By McClatchy News Service

OK, you know the traditional gifts for Valentine's Day. Candy, flowers . . . But you can vary the gifts; and it's never too late to send a gift of affection. Here are some ideas:

Something hot. If you don't mind being late (say a couple of days), try heart-shaped wreaths made from fiery habanero chilies. Frieda's, importer of specialty produce, is selling a 13-inch wreath shellacked to last indefinitely and is packaged with a bag of dried habaneros and recipes to spice up the home kitchen. The wreath package is $28 (including Federal Express second-day service) and is available by calling (800) 241-1771. Call the same number to get a copy of Frieda's by mail catalog.

Bighearted. Again, for belated lovers. Supergram, a company in Denver, offers foot-high banners printed with any message. Each giant Supergram is custom printed and comes in a choice of colors. They are sent by first-class mail and cost $9.95 for the first 48 letters and spaces (about 15 feet long), and 20 cents for each additional character up to 100 (more than 33 feet long). Orders placed before noon are shipped the same day, and afternoon orders are mailed the next morning. OK, this is Valentine's Day, so what good does this do you? Try "Emergency Service for the Forgetful," for next-day delivery nationwide via one of the overnight express services. Call Supergram at (800) 322-6637.

Love in bloomers. For guys embarrassed to shop for lingerie, there's Wild Style's Negligee-of-the-Month Club. Call (305) 473-8434 and leave a message to subscribe. Sorry, we know this won't do you much good today, but you can give her a card that says this is what you did.

The deluxe treatment costs $59 for three months, $115 for six months, or $229 for a year. Once a month she gets a negligee, a camisole, a bra-and-panty set, or some other slinky item.

The extra-deluxe level costs $83, $162, or $325. She gets the basic package plus an accessory, like a potpourri sachet or stockings.

* Words of love. OK, something to help you right now. You have a gift, you have a card. Now you need to say what's in your heart. Oh, well, let someone else do the talking. This is the only way you'll ever quote Marcel Proust on love:

"Space and time made directly perceptible to the heart."

Or . . . hey, keep looking. In "The Dictionary of Love, Marriage, Sex & Romance," by H. Gordon Havens, there are 5,000 blurbs and definitions to choose from.

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