It's happened to all of us. Valentine's Day creeps up and we're caught without a card or present for our sweetie. The key when this happens is to not panic. If you panic you'll wind up at a drug store or a gas station and end up buying a gift that looks like you got it at a drug store or a gas station. In many cases that's no good.

Here are five last minute Valentine's Day gifts you can get on the way home, or at lunch. Most won't make it look like you did it at the last minute:

 

  • 1

    Tickets to a show

    There are lots of shows coming to the Quad Cities. James Taylor, Dierks Bently, Breaking Benjamin, One Night With Queen, Luke Combs, RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles and Paul McCartney are all coming to the TaxSlayer Center. Outside of concerts the Harlem Globetrotters, the WWE, Steamwheelers, Storm and the MVC Women's Basketball Championships are all taking place there.

    Shows coming to the Adler Theater include: Steve Martin & Martin Short, The Musical Chicago, The Love of Motwon: A Musical Salute, Rock of Ages, The Quad City Symphony, The King and I, Joe Bonamasa, Cirque Dream Journey and Aaron Lewis.

  • 2

    The Mall

    I know there's a perception that "nobody goes to the mall" anymore. For a last minute Valentine's Day gift the mall can be your savior.

    Looking at North Park Mall's Directory, here's some stores you could pick up a gift for your significant other: Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle are a good place to start for a thoughtful gift. Especially if you know what fragrances your partner likes. If you want to spice it up, you could head over to Victoria's Secret. If  you know where your partner likes to shop, you could also get a gift card for them from that store.

    I shouldn't have to say this, but grocery store, Walmart, and Target gift cards.... just don't. Their too mundane for Valentine's Day.

  • 3

    A Romantic Staycation

    The Quad Cities has some fabulous hotels. Sometimes just getting away as a couple in your own town, or the town across the river can do wonders to spark up your relationship.

    The Current Iowa, The Hotel Blackhawk, The Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center and Element Moline are just a few. Many have different types of packages you can purchase to set the mood. If you're a couple that likes the thrill of gambling, don't forget the casino hotels.

    Simply there's lots of hotels, rooms, and packages to choose from at lots of different rates. You probably can't stay cheaply this weekend... but then setting the date a week or two or three ahead isn't a bad idea. Here's a list of area hotels from Expedia. Use it for comparison. You may get better rates by calling or stopping in at the hotel you want to book.

  • 4

    Flowers / Roses

    It's the thought that counts, right? If you find yourself limited to grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations and Walmart or Target ... flowers and or roses can be a viable option. Quality may vary from store to store, and the later in the day you get them... the more picked over the selection is.

    That said, a good looking bouquet of roses or flowers that doesn't look like it's sat around a gas station for days will make your squeeze swoon. If there's one or two sad looking bouquets left, pass and head to the mall for something else.

    If you have the time you could try and stop at a local florist tonight. You could even order ahead and be ready to pick up the flowers on your drive home. Here's a listing of flower shops on Google.

  • 5

    Really Good Local Chocolate

    If your spouse is a chocoholic you could stop by one of the Quad Cities chocolate shops to pick up an elegant sweet treat. I'm talking chocolate from Lagomarcinos, Ultimate Chocolates, Chocolate Manor. Places like those.

    The boxed chocolate at drug and grocery stores, The Russell Stover, Fannie Mae, Whitman boxes. Those are ok as an add on gift. An impulse buy you add in to whatever other gift you've bought your partner. However, if it's the main gift, go local, go decadent, not run of the mill.