Although Valentine’s Day is deemed by some to be the “most romantic holiday” of the year, the lessons below could save you from giving disastrous anniversary gifts, birthday gifts and other special occasion gifts when matters of the heart are at stake.

Anything Weight-related

Valentine’s Day is not the time to suggest self-improvement–even if your sweetheart has expressed a desire to change. But you shouldn’t ignore or sabotage work already in progress either, like the husband who gave his wife a new bathroom scale plus a box of chocolates. Talk about a mixed message.

Household Products

Though you certainly don’t have to be frivolous, Valentine’s Day may not be the best day to be super practical either. Just because she said she needs it, doesn’t mean she wants it wrapped up with a bow and placed ceremoniously across her lap.

“I mentioned to my husband that we needed a new toilet seat. Six weeks later, on Valentine’s Day, he presented me with…a toilet seat. How thoughtful!”

An I.O.U.

Doing nothing on Valentine’s Day sends a message for the jilted party to interpret–maybe he forgot, maybe he doesn’t feel the same way I do, maybe he knows it’s Valentine’s Day and just doesn’t care. With an “I owe you,” the message is loud and clear. “I know the day is important but failed to make you a priority in my week (or day, or afternoon, or drive home from work).”

The Breakup

Speaking of clear messages, why would anyone wait until Valentine’s Day to deliver a relationship verdict? Crimes of passion, I understand. Breaking up with someone for giving you a bathroom scale plus an I.O.U. for a box of chocolates makes sense. But planning to dump your partner on Valentine’s Day is premeditated and cold-hearted. Classic example: “He sent me roses and chocolates along with a note asking me to meet him at a romantic, little pub. Thrilled at the prospect of a proposal, I dressed to the nines. As we ate our meal, he slid over a note telling me…he wanted out.” Note: there’s a Special Place in Hell for people that do that.

The Cop Out

You know what I’m talking about. Your significant other screwed up and didn’t get you anything. But rather than accept responsibility for the Valentine’s Day mess, you get a lengthy explanation about how your honey demonstrates love for you all year round, not just on one, commercialized holiday. And just like that, you’re the selfish one in the relationship.

“We’ve been married for almost 10 years, with four children. Each year he tells me he’s already given me my gift – four times over. I love my kids, but c’mon already!”

Avoid Anything Too Creative

A homemade card she took hours to create is sweet… a decadent dessert he tried to make are both lovely gestures. But sometimes being too creative or too literal can backfire.

“I love Slim Jims, but receiving meat sticks as a gift was quite upsetting. To make it worse, he also bought me a Slim Jim car tool because I kept locking my keys in the car.”

Giving Just What YOU Always Wanted

Did the guy who gave his gal a pair of play-off hockey tickets (when she doesn’t like hockey) really think he made a smart play? Presenting your sweetheart with something you’ve always wanted is a romantic strike-out.

“My husband gave me a new gas grill. Gosh, nothing says ‘true love’ like cooked meat.”

The Panic Present

While the “copper-outer” attempts to cover the gaffe with words, in this scenario, Valentine tries to make something (anything!) look like a planned present. I couldn’t decide which reader’s disaster I enjoyed the most. Was it the puzzle shaped like a pizza? The T-shirt with a picture of a cow on it? Or the toy monkey that pooped candy? So many good stories. Here’s a tip: besides finding the shelves wiped clean of legit Valentine gifts, waiting until the last minute could make you too rushed to pay attention to pertinent details.

Case in point, “He bought me a card on his way home from work that said, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day Mother.’ He didn’t even read the card before giving it to me.” Don’t be That Guy.

Cheap Trick

Valentine’s Day does not have to be expensive. But if you dial down the extravagance to save money, then you should crank up the romantic sentiments to save face.

“He took me to dinner at a Wendy’s drive-thru. We didn’t even go in and sit at a table. Valentine’s Day dinner in a car. Yay.”

Awful Accessories

Hopefully, you know better than to pick something that requires you to guess a correct size, but choosing accessories instead may not be as simple as you think. Take a note: Diamond stud earrings when she doesn’t have pierced ears, a necklace with the wrong birthstone, and a pair of bunny slippers are all great gestures that miss the mark.

“He gave me a cheap, leather purse that was so hideous I was embarrassed to carry it.”

After reading these tales, there is one other person possibly guilty of creating the worst Valentine’s Day gift ever. It’s the person who says she doesn’t want anything. Don’t tell your sweetheart not to make a fuss only to be disappointed later when they do exactly as instructed. So don’t do that. And don’t believe that. If you secretly want to receive a Valentine’s Day gift, then drop that hint (in a big way). And if your love tells you she doesn’t want anything, then surprise her with a little something anyway. Even a card with sweet nothings in it is better than, say, …“NOTHING!”