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Meredith Holt, Published December 21 2012

Give your sweetheart the gift of a couples experience

FARGO – Neckties and jewelry dominate the “Gifts for him” and “Gifts for her” sections of most stores, but what about “Gifts for us”?

Instead of giving your sweetheart the expected, spring for something special you’ll both enjoy and remember for years to come.

The gift of an experience could help you reconnect after the sometimes stressful holiday season or see a different side of each other entirely.

Here are a few fun couples gift ideas available locally to help you get started:

Couples photo session

You don’t have to be engaged or getting married to have a professional photo session with your other half.

Whether it’s for Christmas cards or for your own enjoyment, schedule a playful, romantic winter-themed shoot and let the photographer capture you being yourselves as a couple.

“Photo shoots have changed so much,” says Elisabeth “Bethy” Eden, of Eden Photography. “It’s about them laughing and being together.”

She’ll work with couples to make the shoot special and reflect their relationship.

Throughout the winter, Eden’s offering a 30-minute outdoor photo session with 30 digital images for $150.

“There’s no way we could last outside for an hour and a half,” she says of the wintry mini sessions.

The Fargo-based photographer can provide a gift certificate so you have something to wrap announcing your plan.

For more information and to view more of Eden’s work, visit http://edenphotography.biz.

Horse-drawn carriage ride

Nothing says “holiday romance” like snuggling close in a horse-drawn carriage making its way through downtown as snow gently falls from the night sky.

“It’s nice to see the Christmas lights at a slower pace,” says Sari Kraft, of Dakota Carriage Co., which has several options to choose from.

The sleigh, for example, seats four adults comfortably (make it a double date!).

“In town, everybody likes the sleigh, and we do actually have a sleigh that has wheels tucked underneath it,” she says.

After Christmas, Dakota Carriage offers sleigh rides at Fargo’s Edgewood Golf Course for $25, but there has to be a 12- to 18-inch snow base first.

Because the carriages fall under the same category as limousines, you can make a toast with a glass of champagne or sip on a Bailey-spiked hot chocolate as you’re pulled along.

If you’d rather wait till Valentine’s Day, Dakota Carriage will be offering carriage rides in downtown Fargo from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for $5 per person.

Private rides range from $50 to $225 and are available by appointment. Check www.dakotacarriagecompany.com for details.

“We can go anywhere on city streets that cars can go,” she says.

Couples massage

Are your arms and hands getting tired from giving each other back rubs? Relax with a side-by-side couples massage and let a professional do the work.

For Valentine’s Day 2009, the staff at Fargo’s Elite Therapeutic Massage came up with the idea of bringing vacation destinations to Fargo-Moorhead with five themed rooms.

You can “go” to Italy, for example, where you’ll be surrounded by grapevines and be serenaded by Andrea Bocelli.

If only one of you wants a massage, “We have since added an extra service where one person can get a facial and the other person gets a massage at the same time,” says Shelle Moran, massage therapist and Elite owner.

Package prices are available online at www.elitemassage.biz.

She says men or women purchase gift cards for their significant others as a way to get them to try professional massage.

“Most of the time people can’t believe they waited that long to get their first massage,” she says.

Shelle says the tables are close enough so you can talk or hold hands, but most clients “conk out” pretty quickly.

“As soon as they hit the table, they’re like, talk talk talk, and then all of a sudden it’s perfectly quiet,” she says.

Unlimited movies

If you’re the type of couple who’s at the movies every weekend, you’d benefit from Marcus Theatres’ Magical Movie Passports.

For a monthly fee of $25 per person, you can see as many movies as you want any time you want at any Fargo-Moorhead Marcus Theatres location (West Acres, Century and Safari).

“Our most frequent customers were quick to take advantage of it because they were spending more than that,” says Rick Solarski, West Acres general manager.

The pass is valid seven days a week, 365 days a year and includes 3-D movies and movies shown on the UltraScreen, but it can’t be used for special events such as the Metropolitan Opera.

The Magical Movie Passport also gets you 10 percent off at the concession stand, so you can share a bucket of buttery movie popcorn for a little less.

Solarski says an additional credit of $25 will be added to the card for concessions or other ticket purchases for anyone using the annual payment option.

If you’d rather not commit to the required 12-month subscription, you can buy a gift card valued at $25 or more and receive $5 in free Snack Cash.

Gift cards can be purchased online at www.shopmarcustheatres.com or at any Marcus Theatres box office, and the offer’s valid through Jan. 15 while supplies last.

However, Solarski says there might be a downside to unlimited movies: “A husband gives it to his wife, he just might have to go to more chick flicks.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590