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Valentine's Day ideas in and around Boston

Valentine's Day is coming up. Some people love it, others actively dislike it (if you're in the latter camp, you might appreciate learning about the origins of the holiday here).

Whether its dark past bothers you or not, the holiday has at least one good thing going for it. In a word -- chocolate. Various dietary restrictions make that a challenge in our house, but there is this recipe for Dark Chocolate Brownies (gluten free, dairy free people take note).

If chocolate isn't your thing, and you're looking for other ways to celebrate, here are some ideas:

Say it with a card We get invited to a Valentine card making party every year, BYO materials or use those provided by the host. If you're not an invitee to someone else's party, and you're not up for hosting, you can go to Artbeat's Valentine Card Making Extravaganza Feb. 8-9 in Arlington, where they provide the lace doilies, paper hearts, confetti, and more.

Pop goes V-Day If you want to treat someone (or yourself) with scrumptiously delicious Cake Pops, Treat Cupcake Bar in Needham is offering workshops Feb.2-16 on making Valentine's Day Cake Pops and other goodies.

Shop for good Not into crafts or cooking? Those looking to buy for Valentine's Day can do it and help animals at the same time at the MSPCA's Kitty and Puppy Love Floral and Chocolate Valentine's Day Sale, Feb. 12-14 in Jamaica Plain.

It takes two A pair of powerful art forms make a great couple at "Love Songs and Tangos," a Feb. 14 program by the Chamber Orchestra of Boston and tango dancers Armando and Nuria.

Great American play Arthur Miller's classic "Death of a Salesman" has nothing to do with Valentine's Day, except that it's the opening night for the Lyric Stage's new production. See a cast of excellent Boston actors in one of the most famous American plays of the 20th-century.

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