Whatever happened to roses, chocolates and sexy undies?

In years gone by, my desk at work would have been littered with press releases, giving information about Valentine's gifts designed to sweep your loved one off his or her feet.

It was usually along the lines of something red and floral, something edible with a soft centre, something cuddly and bear-shaped or something that only women with perfect bodies would dare to wear in a fully lit bedroom. All a bit schmaltzy and - in my opinion as a world-renowned St Valentine's Day killjoy - a waste of money.

Were my husband to arrive home with anything remotely resembling a cuddly toy clutching a plump red heart I'd lecture him on squandering our hard-earned cash and demand the receipt there and then.

However, I can understand and appreciate that for some couples, exchanging such gifts is an annual pleasure that reinforces their love for one another. I can't condemn them for that.

But now, things in the Valentine gift department seem to have taken a turn for the worse. This year, I have been bombarded with "gift ideas" that in my book and on my salary - in fact on our joint salary - would qualify as a once-in-a-lifetime dream present rather than a February 14 treat.

"Savour the moment, let her feel the wind in her hair, with a trip in a Tiger Moth", "Give your loved one that 'top of the world' feeling with a trip in a hot air balloon".

These lavish gifts are only the tip of the iceberg. Trips on the Orient Express, breaks at luxury hotels in Paris and Rome.

Of course, there are the teddies, flowers and lingerie too, but amazing presents running into hundreds of pounds seem to be getting more and more common. I'm amazed to think that any woman should react favourably to being presented with one of these surprises that passes for a romantic gesture.

Were my husband to take me to Leeds-Bradford Airport and point me in the direction of any aircraft that didn't involve a warm pressurised cabin and a drinks trolley, I'd think he was joking. I'd hot foot it out of there faster than a jet fighter.

And I must admit, I've never been a ballooning person. The idea of leaving the safety of the ground in a basket appeals to me about as much as a three-month trip across the Pacific Ocean in a nuclear submarine. I'd have suspicions that my husband was trying to do away with me.

Even a surprise weekend away would freak me out. I'd be flustering about the children, the cat, packing, foreign currency and the like.

Then there's the huge issue of the frivolous waste of cash. Some may be of the opinion that my rant is born out of jealousy, because deep down I really want these things. I would like to assure them that this is not the case.

I know love is blind, but it also seems to be clouding people's sense of proportion.

I'm happy to remain giftless on St Valentine's Day. Although I have just received news of an electronic head massager. It has vibrating fingers that provide "soothing and blissful" sensations. It could turn out to be the perfect gift in case my husband comes home in a romantic mood, with a box of frilly lingerie and asks for a rub-down. At less than a tenner I may buy it for myself.

Updated: 11:16 Tuesday, February 14, 2006