Cliché gifts and commercialized products take the personal touch out of saying, "I love you” on those special occasions. Plus, florists jack up the price of roses and chocolate for every holiday and any seasonal excuse they can find. Sometimes the best way to show you care is in simple and small ways. Here are a few:

[DO IT YOURSELF]

Make your own card. Write your own song. Make a birdhouse yourself. Instead of spending the money, spend the time to do something special. Even the least creative person has something they can make as an offering to the one they love.

[TECHNO-LOVE]

Log on to one of those annoying animated greeting card sites. Download a bunch of pretty love songs and burn a romantic CD. Scan in your favorite pictures together and make a website declaring your love for each other to the world.

[SECRET ADMIRER]

Start writing letters, juicy, steamy mushy stuff you might find in a dime store romance novel, and make up a pen name. Your honey will of course suspect you, but just smile and keep it secret as long as you can. You will drive your lover mad, and someday soon when the truth is told, the prank will have a profoundly romantic effect.

[HIDE AND SEEK]

Hide cards and presents in out of the way locations, like the freezer, or in a box of cereal. If your date is not a smoke, hide a love not in the ashtray if his or her car. Hide it in a suit pocket, or in a pair of swanky dress shoes. Eventually your little message will be found, and love will abound.

[SCRAPBOOK]

Collect all the letters and cards and notes you have sent each other, all your pictures together, the ticket stubs from memorable movies or concerts that you attended together, or any other significant doodads, and assemble a scrapbook. Leave it on your coffee table, and show it to friends.

[TWO STRAWS]

Go to the local diner, and order an extra large milkshake, with two straws. It’s cheaper than two milkshakes, and it’s a classic romance move. You might even get a smooch in between sips.

[KISSES]

Buy a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, take out all the flags, and replace them with messages you have written yourself. If you want your sweetie to notice them on their own, try using bright paper to get their attention.

[100 QUESTIONS]

Getting to know each other is a very important part of being in love. So getting to know each other better is a great way to express love. Start making a list of questions you have always wanted to ask each other. If you have been dating a while, write down the answers that you think your sweetheart will give.

When your list grows to 50 questions for each of you, take an evening, go out to dinner, and ask your list of questions to each other, share the answers that you guessed with each other, and remember the answers they do give. It’s a great way to learn about the person you love.

[SAY IT]

This is a hard one for a lot of men in particular. Just say, “I LOVE YOU” everyday. It won’t kill you. Actions do speak louder than words, but the words reinforce and stimulate love. It also helps to remind yourself sometimes that you do love this person. Love is not an emotion; it is an action. When you are so angry that you could throw a brick, say it out loud. Remind yourself that you have chosen to love this person, even if you don’t feel like it. Of course, if you say it, be prepared to follow through. Love means sacrifice, putting each other first, and letting go of our own pride. So if saying that you love this person means that you are willing to follow through even when you don’t feel mushy inside, then you have just truly demonstrated it.

[SPEND TIME]

Time is precious. It is valuable. And when we invest time in relationships, it usually returns with deeper friendships, stronger love, and wonderful memories. Just sit together, telling stories, listening to each other, growing your friendship. You cannot love someone if you have not first been friends. So take the time to grow that friendship. If it grows well, it will last even if the romance does not.