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Saint Valentine's Day falls on February 14th, and was originally named after two Christian martyrs but became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Thanks to concerted marketing efforts, it is now a major gift-giving holiday in North America and increasingly around the world as well. Besides lovers and spouses, parents, children and friends often exchange some form of Valentine.

This is a particularly tricky gift-giving opportunity to navigate for couples who are at earlier stages of committment in their relationship. Some have difficulty picking out just the right gift because they are worried about what kind of statement it makes to their significant other, and partners sometimes place too much importance on the "meaning" of a gift and read into it that which may or may not be there. That said, here are some ideas to consider when faced with the sometimes daunting task of choosing a Valentine's gift:

Skip the Valentine's aisle. While there is much pressure at this time of year to pick out something red, pink or emblazoned with hearts, be it boxer shorts, cel phone covers or coffe mugs, the best gifts are the thoughtful gift ones that show how well you're paying attention and know the recipient. Take the time to listen for clues that indicate for what she or he really wants...have they mentioned a book, movie or restaurant they've been wanting to try? Have they expressed interest in certain hobbies, causes, celebrities, countries? Be attentive, then use what you've observed to inspire a thoughtful gift.

The Classics. Flowers, chocolates, jewellery, lingerie, a heart-felt love letter or poem... these are classics for a good reason, and will usually go over well with most gift recipients. But here are a few pointers to consider: Regarding chocolates, go for quality over quantity; don't buy the cheapie ones from the drug store, hand-pick a few from a chocolatier who will present them in a pretty box. Regarding lingerie, go for comfortable as well as sexy, and don't overdo it on the animal prints.

Personalized Gifts. Nothing says 'committed' like a keepsake with both your names engraved on it, so this type of gift is better suited for serious relationships (or perhaps one which you'd lilke to move in that direction). Sites like offer gift ideas such as personalized photo frames, fortune cookies, canady jars, pillows and more.