The day of romance and love is fast approaching, and every year I am moved by the stories I hear about how someone proposed, someone, proclaimed their devotion in the sweetest way. But I’m not one for all-out declarations of love.
If you have a partner like me who isn’t interested in fancy schmancy romance and heart-shaped boxes of stale chocolate, here’s a list of things you could do that might actually score you some brownie points:
Food, But Not on Valentine’s Day.
Take her out for her favorite meal, but if she’s anything like me, she doesn’t want to do it on one of the busiest restaurant days of the year. She wants to go out when the wait isn’t days long, the staff isn’t overwhelmed, and the expensive meal you’re paying for has a better chance of coming out hot and correct.
Don’t Buy Heart-Shaped ANYTHING.
Heart shaped candy boxes, chocolate shaped like a rose, stuffed teddy bears holding something love-related are sure to end up in the trash. If you’re going for chocolate, just buy the stuff you already know she loves to chow down on when she’s hiding in the bathroom. She will appreciate a Hershey bar more than a novelty shape.
Pamper Her, but Plan Ahead
One of the best gifts I ever got was a few pre-paid, and pre-arranged pampering treats with the sitter planned out, and time to relax after. The BEST part was when something came up, and I had to reschedule, and my husband did the work to make sure the day was still everything it was supposed to be.
Send her Away with Friends (or By Herself if That’s Her Thing)
Book a hotel room, make sure you have the kids handled, pack her favorite snacks and wine and SEND HER ON HER WAY. She can spend the night watching TV, reading, ordering room service, taking a bath or what the hell ever she wants because she will be alone. No picking up after anyone, no one to wake her in the wee hours of the night, and no sharing the bed. BEST. GIFT. EVER. (Trust me, she will make up for your night apart PLENTY when she gets back).
Help the Kids Make Handmade Gifts
Some people seem to think that kids gifts are cheesy, but as a mom, those are my all-time favorite surprises to open. The hard work, the look on their little faces, and the explanation to follow of each line and color and scribble that has meaning. I absolutely cherish these and will never not shed tears over a handmade gift made with love (and glitter).
Skip the Flowers
As a woman who actually loves to get flowers, I say this because it’s the most cliche of all the cliches possible for Valentine’s Day. Get her flowers when she doesn’t expect it as a small gesture of appreciation. Handing them over on V-Day is like saying, “I didn’t put any thought into this but I felt obligated to get you something, so here ya go, friend.”
If She Says No Gifts, She Means It
I have said this many times over the years when money is tight, and I feel like a complete jerk when the day comes, and my partner has something for me, and I have NOTHING. Small holidays especially make me feel like we are spending out of our budget when we have so many other things we should be spending on or saving for. So if I say I don’t want a gift, I’m serious. And if you get me one anyway, don’t expect one in return. And don’t be surprised when I get nasty with you for not listening.
Clean the House, Do the Laundry, AND the Dishes.
Spend a day doing all of the housework so she can relax. It shows your love and appreciation, and the best part is, it doesn’t cost a penny. She will be able to enjoy the gift for days (or longer), and she will always remember the time you did IT. ALL. for her.
Don’t Do Lingerie
Unless she asks for it. Women don’t want you handing them over some sexy number to make YOU happy as a gift for THEM. Chances are unless they have picked it out themselves, they aren’t going to be as excited as you are for them to slip into it. If you want to spice up your sex life, consider a conversation, not a prop.
Don’t Buy a Card.
Instead, write a letter. Or even a note. Cards are pricey and usually say something generic. But a handwritten note, even if it’s short, that comes from the heart is free and sends a much more thoughtful message.
If you ask me, Valentine’s Day is an overplayed holiday. But sometimes it is nice to have an excuse to shower those you love with appreciation and remind them that they are cherished, and their devotion and sacrifices don’t go unnoticed. If you’re thinking of getting your partner a gift this Valentine’s Day, don’t waste your money on frivolous empty tokens that boost Hallmark’s stock value and ultimately end up in your trash bin. Instead, with a little thought, you can make the love of your life fall in love all over again, and make it an unmemorable day to remember.