What what they expect will not impress.
So let’s talk about fresh ideas for your Valentines Day 2012. I’m going to assume you’ve done a dozen roses for her or bought him a pair of gloves. You’ve done a dinner date. What can you do that will stand out now and remind them (or let them know) that you have been in love with them for the rest of the year too.
In increasing order of expense/effort
Make a Valentines Card
You probably haven’t done this since elementary school. Lord knows I hadn’t.
Making a card is a nice way to take a safe token gesture and make it romantic again.
After all buying a card at the grocery store on the way home says “I took ten minutes”. Making a card says that you took the time.
If you are a visual artist you have probably already drawn or painted something for your SO, but even if you’re not try doing a sketch or pasting together a card from neat fabric remnants or scraps from a paper store. Here are some ideas.
The point isn’t to replicate a card from the store, after all, the point is to do it yourself. If the end result bears more resemblance to a fifth grade project than to a Monet, well, romance is all about being vulnerable right?
Make Dinner for your Valentines Dinner Date
This may not have quite the oomph if cooking is already your hobby, but most people have a recipe or two that are special occasion affairs. Take the time to do it right. Get a good wine and take out the nice glasses that are usually reserved for visits from your inlaws.
Maybe this idea isn’t a ‘fresh’ or crazy Valentines day, but I’m a romantic at heart, you have to let me slip one classic into the list.
A Bed and Breakfast Getaway for Valentines
One of the main problems, in my mind, with the classic Valentines day dinner date is that everyone else is doing it too. You have to either get reservations a month (or year) in advance to get any place suitable.
So don’t do dinner.
If you are kid-free or can send them to the parents for a night steal away while you can and get away from the city to a bed and breakfast.
Seclusion does great things for romance and a picnic basket in a private room is more romantic than overpriced lobster at a restaurant any day.
Take half a day off of work on the fifteenth (it’s a Wednsday this year) and take a liesurely time packing up. Enjoy each other. I think you’ll find the experience infinitely preferable to trying to pack your obligatory romance into a 7:00 pm dinner reservation.
(protip for parents with small kids like me: If you do this the weekend before vday you will have an easier time getting someone to watch your little ones and then you can be babysitter for your friends on the actual day if they want to do a traditional date night. You win the eternal gratitude of your other young parent friends.)
Farmer’s Market Flowers
A dozen roses is cliche, but flowers are a classic. You will have noticed that roses double in price before Valentines day, but there is one source for blooms where the price changes hardly at all.
The farmer’s market.
Prices are usually at least a quarter of what you will pay for a florist this time of year though depending on where you live the selection will be limited in February
Since you aren’t dropping a hundred dollars per dozen stems you can also make a grand gesture if you feel so inclined.
I admit that I’ve never done this (I’ve been forbidden until the toddlers can be trusted not to knock over the vases) but a couple of hundred bucks at a farmers market can easily buy you several thousand blooms spread out over forty – fifty bouquets if you are willing to haggle some. Grand gestures get remembered, count on it.
Also, though there may be better guy gifts for Valentines, you are more likely to find thistles and kale and other structural bouquets that don’t look too feminine.
Have Jewelry Made
Another gift that takes forethought and planning well before Valentines, having jewelry made for her has the advantage of being totally unique. Everyone has received chocolate, but who has had a pair of earrings made with their favorite stone or in the shape of their favorite animal?
It’s odd to thing about but gold and silver are just as malleable in the right hands as clay or plaster. Anything you can think of, a jeweler can do, for a price.
What are your fresh Valentines Gift Ideas?
I’m making my wife a card this Valentines based on the Nikki McClure woodcut above (and gambling that she won’t check this blog until then), but I am always on the lookout for creative gift ideas. What is best valentines day gift you’ve ever given or received? Let me know in the comments.