Does the thought of Valentine’s Day cause trembling and horror? Do mushy cards filled with sappy poems cause groans of agony?
Everyone knows the basics of traditional Valentine’s Day romance: cut flowers (usually roses), chocolates (usually heart-shaped), perhaps some balloons or even a small teddy bear dressed in a t-shirt with a sweet saying on it. Many people have given these gifts, or received them, but wonder if this is really all there is to Valentine’s Day. If these types of gifts seem too impersonal and artificial, don’t despair! Romance comes in as many varieties as the people who are involved, and the more personal and appropriate the gift, the more impact it makes.
Valentine’s Day: An Equal Opportunity Holiday
This advice is not just for the gentlemen either. Valentine’s Day has become focused on the female of the species, leaving the guys out in the cold. Some could argue that many men and women don’t really like or want to give flowers, stuffed animals, or even chocolates, and thus they don’t participate in the holiday at all. This can leave boyfriends and girlfriends feeling left out, ignored, or worse … unloved!
What is Romance?
Valentine’s Day does not have to be a cookie-cutter date that feels insincere. For those who consider themselves unromantic, perhaps a new definition of romance is in order. Instead of flowers and chocolates, try looking at romance as a focus on the other person in the relationship and on the bond itself. In place of giving an item, try giving an experience that can be remembered for years.
But what about those born without the romance gene? What if that sugar-sweet teddy bear induces slight illness, but no other ideas present themselves? Never fear, Anti-Casanova! There are three simple steps to take to woo the object of the heart’s affections.
Focus on the Other Person
This seems like an obvious point, but many times this simple concept is overlooked. If someone’s sweetheart enjoys chocolates, then chocolates may be a wonderful choice. However, for a boyfriend who is an outdoorsy person, or a wife who loves sports, why not organize a Valentine’s Day treat around one of those interests? Rent kayaks or an afternoon on the lake, or buy tickets for a hockey game.
Keep Valentine’s Day Plans Simple
Nothing is worse than when a complicated, well-thought out plan goes awry because of bad weather, a flat tire, or a traffic jam. Keep some flexibility in any Valentine’s Day plans, and the stress of everything being perfect will diminish. If the possibility of bad weather might ruin plans for an outdoor picnic, make a contingency plan for an indoor one instead, and roll with the punches. Sometimes these contingency plans end up becoming the best of memories.
Do The Unexpected for a Loved One
Think creatively – for example, a man remembers something his wife mentioned months ago, such as visiting a winery for a wine tasting. Activities that sweethearts have not done in years make a wonderful surprise, especially when they are re-creations of the early dates of the relationship. Revisit some of the old haunts to remember what sparked the relationship in the first place, or try something completely new for some variety.
Creative Suggestions for a Unique Valentine’s Day
Still stuck? Here are some suggestions for an interesting Valentine’s Day experience.
- Couple’s retreat at a day spa
- Progressive dinner – appetizers in one restaurant, dinner in another, and dessert in another
- Picnic and hike at a nature reserve
- Tourist day in your home town – visit local museums, try a new local restaurant
- Walk through an old cemetery – Victorian-era outings often included picnics in cemeteries
- Day at an amusement park
- An afternoon at the target range
- Pick up dinner at a favorite restaurant and have a movie night at home
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to automatically equal candies and flowers. Whatever Valentine’s Day plans are made, remember that the focus should be on the two people in the partnership. No matter what the stores and greeting cards say, what counts most is celebrating each individual, unique relationship.