Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and FaceTime are super-handy services for day-to-day communication, but don't exactly scream 'I love you'. These days, there are more interesting, impressive, lesser-known ways to reach out to those you love, thanks to the wide spread of smartphones and tablets.
Online shopping has taken off in a big way in SA, and there are too many great online stores to mention here. We've selected the two that we prefer because of their excellent gifting services. They'll make Valentine's Day special for your loved ones who live far away, and are a good option if you want to spoil someone closer to home but want to keep your gift a complete surprise.
South Africa's top homeware online store curates great options for gifts, including their top-notch Top Picks of gifts For Her (because every woman, let's be honest, needs a Le Creuset stoneware oval salad serving bowl) and For Him (Man of the Moment gift box, anyone?). You can also choose to shop for gifts by price. If you want to send your gift directly to your special someone, simply mark your order as a gift on checkout, and a handwritten (!) card with your note in it will be delivered to their door. Or you can choose from the beautiful, unique gift cards and wrapping on Yuppiechef, have it delivered to you, and then dress up your gift yourself.
This well-known online florist and gifting service has had a revamp, and now offers some fantastic, quirky gifts. You'll get 7-day-a-week delivery, sometimes on the same day, if you get your order in early enough. You can choose from a nice bottle of tipple, personalised donuts, picnic baskets, jewellery, and, of course, plenty of posies and beautiful bouquets.
Give an eCard
This may seem a little like a throwback to the early days of the internet, but we can't resist virtual greetings cards, especially when sending them contributes to a good cause.
The Smile Foundation helps underprivileged children with facial abnormalities (such as cleft lips and palates) to undergo corrective surgery. When you give a personalised eCard to friends and family abroad or at home for a minimum donation of R25 per card, you are contributing to their cause. There are cards to choose from for all occasions, including Valentine's Day, and, with every one you send, you'll be taking a child one step closer to a smile.
Get special on social media
- Create a Snapchat doodle of your loved one using a photo of them, or of the two of you together. Access the Doodle tool (the pencil icon on the top right of your screen), choose a colour, and start drawing. Add text and/or emojis, and then send it along. Yes, it'll disappear in a few moments, but the feeling your doodle will inspire in the heart of your beloved is forever.
- Change your Facebook profile picture to show the two of you together. This seems like a no-brainer but is much more effective than posting something unoriginal like 'Happy Valentine's Day' on your partner's wall (or, worse, sending them a 'sticker').
- Decide to make Valentine's Day a 'Day of Retweets' on Twitter by reading through your loved one's tweets and retweeting all of your favourites. They'll get the notifications through the day, which is sure to make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Make a video
- Instagram Stories: Instagram's new Stories feature allows you to put together a series of videos or pictures to make a slideshow - perfect for highlighting the best memories of you and your bestie. You can add funny text, drawings or emoticons to further personalise your Story. It only lasts for 24 hours and then disappears from your profile.
- Boomerang: Instagram's Boomerang app for creating GIF-like short videos is stunningly easy to use. Simply download the app and then use it instead of your smartphone's camera. The app takes 10 photos in extremely quick succession and then stitches them together in a short looping clip. Use it to take a funny, quirky series of selfies while blowing kisses or miming a heartbeat and then upload it to Instagram and tag The One. It'll warm even the heart of the most cynical.