Photo courtesy of Kell
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that has mutated into a commercialized abyss into which many of us repeatedly toss scads of our hard-earned money. Besides the fact that we’re already a nation overwhelmed with material possessions (most of which we don’t really need), how about thinking outside the proverbial gift box this year?
Believe it or not, there actually are much better ways to demonstrate your appreciation and love than slapping a heart shaped box of calories onto the kitchen counter as you mutter, ”Happy Valentine’s Day, Babe,” before you scoot off to work for the day. Think you’ve done your job as one half of a relationship? Think again.
Let’s take a look at some of the more creative ways to express how much you love someone. Although Valentine’s Day is typically for lovers, it’s also appropriate to celebrate your love for your children or other friends and family members who hold a special place in your heart.
For your significant other:
- The snail mail - This idea is going to require a little bit of forethought, but you may be able to to accomplish it quite easily with the convenience of the Internet. Research a way to to get your hands on a postcard from the town, restaurant, or wherever the two of you happened to meet. You could try mailing it from the local post office, but you’d risk the postcard arriving on the wrong day. A better plan is to strategically place the postcard in with the rest of his or her mail on February 14th.
- The Shades of Grey gift basket - If you need ( or simply want ) to spice things up in the bedroom, create a gift basket filled with things meant only for your lover’s eyes. Some ideas include: a blindfold, handcuffs, massage oil, candles, a CD of romantic music, bubble bath, a sexy board game, and anything else that might turn your lover on!
- The notebook - In a luxurious notebook, write down one thing you love about your significant other every single day for one year. Present it to your partner wrapped in a bow on Valentine’s Day. If you like the sound of this idea, but haven’t had the necessary prep time, dedicate some time each day to create a similar list in the days leading up to the 14th.
- The big favor - Take over doing your partner’s most hated chore for a time period of your choice.
- The scavenger hunt – Send your partner on a fun and exciting set of clues that ends with you waiting at your love’s favorite restaurant or store.
- The recipe – Pick a recipe that you can both cook and enjoy together. The time you spend together preparing the meal will be the real gift.
- The adventure – Discover an unusual part of your city or town that you’ve never experienced before. Take the day off work and explore it together.
- The money saver- Create a fun basket filled with everything you’ll need for a fun and affordable date night in: popcorn, a movie rented from Redbox or your local library (look for free movie codes), a small bottle of champagne (optional), a deck of cards, a few chocolate-dipped strawberries. If you have kids, see if Grandma and Grandpa want to have a sleepover that night!
For your children:
- The treasure hunt – Send them all around the house searching for new clues leading them to a fun, colorful box full of their favorite goodies.
- The list – Make a fancy list of 14 things you love about your child and frame it. You could also include it in the treasure box above.
As a family:
- The new tradition – Together, decide on a new family tradition that you would like to start. My husband, sons and I have a ‘Foovie (Family+Food+Movie) Night’ every other Saturday. We snuggle up as a family, enjoying delicious bowls of buttered popcorn and chocolates. No cell phones or other distractions are permitted, allowing us to focus on our time together. Perhaps you could start your first tradition on Valentine’s Day this year, or even the day after Valentine’s Day (since it will be the start of a weekend).
- The walk - Set a family date to take a walk together on February 14 this year, if the weather permits. Walking together is a great way to spend family time because you can mindfully enjoy the outdoors and your loved ones simultaneously.
- The project – Whether your family is into art, science, cooking, fixing, building or something else entirely, put your heads together and come up with a project that you’d all like to contribute to.
- The helping hand – This February, make it one of your family’s goals to help those less fortunate around you. Not only will you be helping those in need, but you’ll be doing something really meaningful together.
By doing something a little off the straight and narrow this year, you’ll shift the focus from materialism to what really matters. And remember that any day is a great time to slow down and take the time to appreciate those closest to your heart.