Retailers are pouring their hearts out to attract Valentine's Day shoppers in the first big gift push after Christmas. Thank goodness the Valentine's gift list is small -- usually that one gift for the spouse, best beau or significant other. Serious lovers, who are making a serious investment in things like engagement rings, have done their comparison shopping. It's the forgetful Valentines who often pay too dearly for that last-minute guilt trip. Here are some cheap and cheerful gift ideas for love on the run.
* Have you considered his and her tattoos? The February cover of Mirabella magazine features actress Carre Otis wearing an off-the-shoulder gown and a cherub tattoo on her shoulder. Models Christy Turlington and Stephanie Seymour sport tattoos on the ankle. It's a happening thing. Just for fun, pick up some temporary tattoos available at card, gift and novelty stores. The most popular patterns run to hearts and roses at under $5. The fun is in picking the perfect spot to plaster them, but they wash off after two days if you change your mind. They can also be transferred to a T-shirt. Look for them at Accessory Place, Spencer Gifts and Greetings and Readings.
* Speaking of bodies, the Body Shop can put together little gift packages with massage oils, glycerin soap and scent for as little as $5. The products are natural as are the 30 scents which run from mango to musk. The shop provides gift bags.
* Department stores are promoting men's fragrance lines just in time for Valentine's Day and gift-with-purchase offers abound. Balenciaga, a new label, is giving away golf umbrellas. At Hecht's a Mont Blanc pen is free with any men's fragrance purchase of $25 or more. Red silk satin boxer shorts are included with any purchase of Red by Giorgio.
* Speaking of red, anything red or touched by red at Accessory Lady stores is discounted 25 percent. That's practically half the inventory and includes bows, bags, gloves scarves and jewelry.
* The red Swiss army knife by Victorinox is a classic accessory that lasts longer than many affairs of the heart, especially the smallest model with key ring loop that stays with the wearer. It has small scissors, knife, file with a tip that can double as a screwdriver, tweezers and toothpick. Herman's World of Sporting Goods has them for $15.99. Lost or damaged parts can be replaced at specialty cutlery shops.
* For lazy lovers, Owings Mills Mall is offering free Valentine's Day gift wrapping with chocolate kisses thrown in. The hugs are up to you.