It’s hard to believe, but there once was a time when Valentine’s Day was just a 24-hour period for lovers to whisper sweet nothings into one another’s ears and share even sweeter smooches. Then, somewhere along the line, Valentine’s became a day when we show our children, our grandparents, our teachers, our friends and neighbors—heck, even our CPA who got us an unexpectedly large tax refund—just how much we love them. Valentine’s Day has become a day smack in the middle of February, which is a lot more fun than Groundhog Day but also just as repetitious as the Bill Murray film in a lot of ways.
So many people go the candy-and-flower route when expressing their undying affection. Or, if they want to splurge, they couple those two staples with a bottle of the bubbly (champagne, not bath beads). It’s the same gifts. Every. Single. Year.
That’s why I like to mix up my gifting with a plush pedigree. I enjoy taking a page from those lovebirds of the 1950s and 1960s when stuffed animals were a wholesome way for a young teen boy to show how much he cared for his teenage sweetheart. The queen of the 1950s afternoon TV, and undeniably “America’s Sweetheart,” Annette Funicello often posed with stuffed animals in her magazine interviews. You just know that enamored fanboys all across the United States dreamed about sending her plush kitties, bears and pups. These toys would show how much they idolized and idealized her. (Interestingly, this was decades before she began her esteemed second career as a teddy bear designer.)
Even the lanky and lithe model Twiggy was a sucker for teddy bears. Not only did she receive these stuffed animals as tributes from smitten fans, but she also traveled all around the world for her photo shoots, accompanied by her childhood companion, a cuddly cub named “Growler.” Twiggy was the epitome of the Mod Scene, a real Swinging London bird. And that bird loved her bears!
No matter how old I get, I like getting and giving plush pals. I’ve found a really fun (and affordable) lineup of Valentine’s sweeties from Aurora this year. I know that I’ll be sharing some of these designs with the kiddies in my family and some handpicked grown-ups in my life. (Mr. UPS Man, you just might be finding a chimp or an elephant eagerly waiting for you on weekly pickup day!)
From Aurora, debuting now in 2016, are an array of chimps, bears, elephants, and frogs. If you have a fan of “Planet of the Apes” residing in your house, he or she is sure to adore the “Luv U Chimp.” When the chimp’s left hand is squeezed, it actually speaks! Yes, Aurora has finally gone and done it! They’ve created a talking monkey that utters, “I love you!” Making it even more irresistible, the “Luv U Chimp” has a lipstick-marked cheek, which lights up! Holding a rose and showing off his cheek, he’s like a simian version of TV’s “The Bachelor,” isn’t he?
The “Luv U Chimp” also has a female counterpart. She’s all pink, and she comes with a dainty bow in her hair. She’s a sweetie, and she’s sure to tug on the heartstrings of little girls (and big girls) everywhere.
Continuing with the “Think Pink” theme, Aurora has an ultra cute bear called “Strawberry Latte.” It’s perfect for the gal and guy on your gift list who consider their Keurig coffeemaker to be a valuable member of the family. Don’t laugh—I actually shed a few dozen tears when my Keurig gave up the ghost a few months back. I almost played “Taps” in its honor.
Rounding out the plush pack for this upcoming holiday are two cuddly critters: “Beary Sweet,” who is cradling a farm-fresh-looking strawberry, and “Lopsie Wopsie Phant,” an elephant that is distinguished by heart-tattooed ears. Both are real crowd pleasers!
So, if you’re like me, you’ll be shopping for greeting cards to send out on February 14, and you’ll also be scouring around for adorable, silly, sentimental, and affordable plush pets. Let me know if your hug grows this year!