10 VALENTINE’S DAY IDEAS MORE MEANINGFUL THAN CANDY OR CARDS
According to Mashable.com, the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts in the U.S. include greeting cards or gift cards, candy, flowers, jewelry, and clothing. These highlight the physical “stuff” aspects of the holiday. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I want to explore some ideas for this year that address some deeper ways to communicate love.
Let’s talk about some Valentine’s Day ideas that go beyond chocolates or flowers or teddy bears (as much as those things can be nice) to the heart of what love means.
And bear in mind—the ideas below are useful for any love-filled relationship this year, whether that’s a romantic partner, a friend, or a family member you want to appreciate.
1. Do Something They Love
Think of an activity your valentine enjoys that you normally wouldn’t want to do or you don’t usually do together, such as going to see a band or visiting a store they love. Schedule time to do that activity together.
They’ll get to share the experience with you and will appreciate you taking time to do something they love, even if it isn’t your favorite.
2. Write a Love Note (Instead of a Buying Card)
Instead of the standard Hallmark card, write a heartfelt note or love letter letting your person know why they mean so much to you.
Pretend you’ve been gone on a long trip away from this person and you’re writing them a letter with what’s on your heart about them. Perhaps include things you appreciate about them but don’t normally voice, such as their hard work ethic or kindness to strangers. Maybe mention your favorite times together or what you like doing with them more than anyone else, and why.
If you want to make it extra special, tie it with a ribbon, leave it in their car, work bag, or purse, so they’ll get it during their work day. Extra points if you actually mail it to them! A surprise like that cannot be beat.
BTW – you can write yourself a love note or love letter this Valentine’s Day too.
3. Spend a Night “In”
We live in a fast world. Technology allows us to stay connected at all times—and often, to stay distracted. More now than ever, there’s little more precious than quality time together.
Spending a night in together, simply being in each other’s company, is a great setup for quality time with your person. Instead of a date out, be together at home for your v-day date. Plan things to make the best of the time:
- Get takeout from a restaurant you both love.
- Buy some cheap movie candy from the pharmacy and rent a movie you both like—or one you like, one they like.
- Purchase a bottle of wine or other drink you enjoy.
- Make a list of fun questions to ask each other—about life, about love, about anything! They can be as silly or serious as you want.
- Wear comfortable clothes (or dress up if you prefer!).
- Play a card game or board game
- Laugh, laugh, laugh
- Talk about your day and your dreams for the future… and of course, your future together.
Turn off your cell phones and make the most of simple, precious time together.
4. Plan a Quiet Meal Together
This is another great way to slow down and be with each other.
Cook them their favorite meal or treat, something they’ve been craving for a long time. You could make it into a picnic (indoor or outdoor), a candle-lit dinner at home, or even cook a meal together.
If cooking really isn’t your thing and causes too much anxiety, plan a date at a quiet restaurant that has food you’ll know they’ll love and is great for meaningful conversation together.
5. Make Them a Present
Handmade gifts convey a special meaning because they’re personal and more intimate. They don’t have to be anything extravagant (unless you want them to be), but just meaningful to your valentine. Such as:
- Bake a dessert or cook a favorite meal from their childhood. Find out what their favorite dish was growing up and surprise them with your homemade version.
- Make breakfast to serve in bed. It might be cliche, but it’s a safe bet they’d love it.
- Write them a handwritten love letter or love note. (See #2.)
- Compile a hand-picked date-night box to use together with some of the ideas from #3.
- Create a homemade scavenger hunt, leaving clues or puzzles related to your relationship that take them different places that mean something to you both.
- Create a time capsule of your relationship. Choose pictures of you together and other items that chronicle fun things you’ve done. Maybe make lists of your favorite things and your plans for the future. Close it up tight in a container and store it somewhere safe but out of sight. Plan to only open after a certain amount of time (such as 10 years from now or on a 20- or 30-year anniversary) and remember what their relationship was like in the past.
6. Do a Chore for Them
Choose something they normally do around the house and surprise them by doing it for them. It’s a small but meaningful gesture that might remove some extra stress.
7. Offer a Massage or Foot Rub
Busy lives can leave us feeling touch-deprived, and many of us deal with tight or sore muscles. Give your valentine a massage to ease some of the tension and tightness they feel each day.
8. Start a Conversation on Something They Care About
We each have our unique interests and passions, and sometimes it can be hard to get others to listen if they don’t share our enthusiasm. Giving others the gift of being heard is an amazing way to show love.
Think of an interest your valentine brings up often, and start a conversation about it—then actually listen to what they say. They’ll likely be surprised and pleased by the extra interest and attention and will be excited to share their thoughts on what matters to them.
9. Be Attentive and Generous with Compliments
It’s easy to get caught up in stressors and responsibilities each day, making it hard to give our full attention to loved ones as much as we’d like.
Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to give your valentine more of your full attention. Point out what you like about them and compliment them on how they look or what they do well throughout the day, make an effort to hear what they say, and listen with an open ear.
10. Arrange a Short Getaway
See if you can plan a couple days or a weekend away for just the two of you. Book a hotel, plan places to go you both love, and plan to spend the time getting to know each other even better.
If budget doesn’t allow an extravagant trip, a trip “in” like #4 is an equally meaningful and loving gesture. Or you could even look up free things to do in your own city—and maybe find activities you didn’t even know about.
While there are many ways to spend Valentine’s Day, it can offer us a great opportunity to extend our love in a meaningful way to those who matter most. These are just a few ideas; feel free to get creative with your own based on what you and your loved one(s) would appreciate most.