VALENTINE'S Day is a real biggie this year, and not just because fortunes are being spent on pink toys with synthetic fur and heart-shaped gimmicks. This year, the festival whose origins are long forgotten coincides with the Chinese Valentine's Day (Yuen Siu Festival), which may be the reason for death by sentiment. Tasteful has never been a feature of the modern Valentine's Day. It's a good excuse for slush puppies to pour their hearts out over some of the tack supposedly designed to express undying love and devotion - at least until the tiny glass thimble topped by a glass heart, two lovebirds and a lilac flower shatters. The thimble is one of the gems from the Wesley Gift Gallery at the Wesley Hotel in Wan Chai. Its shelf-mates include the $60 heart-shaped glass box with 'sew (sic) in love' printed on the lid. This unlikely hotel shop, filled with godly sentiment and gorgeous picture frames, is also selling do-it-yourself red paper ornaments ($12-$36). These arrive flat. Fold them out and they become 3-D hearts topped with more hearts, cats, cupids and arrows. The Wesley Gift Gallery is far from unique. Marketing people all over the territory are making maximum mileage of the post-Christmas slump's best retail opportunity. For instance, white fluff is flying at Watson's in Pacific Place over a heart-clutching $99 fur teddy which moults every time you touch it. American Express has sent out a brochure covered in pink roses, baby's breath and a heart-shaped, tissue-filled pink box. Nestling in the box is, what else, a gold card. 'Show how much you care,' the flyer says. With this love-me-love-my-card sentiment, it could be an expensive year for the love-struck. One of the most tasteless edible gifts has to be a long-stemmed rose ($28), in milk chocolate, covered with coloured foil, atop a plastic stem and nylon leaves. It's by Madelaine Chocolate Novelties and is available from Seibu's Coo Food Hall. Not far behind is The Peninsula Chocolate Shop's slab of chocolate ($110) covered with an inedible violin-toting cherub, gold ribbon and mottled paper. But it's the cards that induce a real nausea that can only be cured by dozens of long-stemmed red roses (one is a cliche) or a multi-carat, heart-shaped diamond worth millions. Bad poets have been let loose in an emotional free-for-all which has littered card racks with genius like, 'when you're near, the whole world is beautiful and full of wonder'. Another wishes some lucky person a 'Happy Valentine's Day to my love ... no image could be more perfect than waking up to see the one I live for, love for, curled up so close to me'. But the scariest: 'Thanks for being my Valentine every day of the year.' What mind would even think it?