What if you thought outside the chocolate box on Valentine’s Day?
It’s Valentine’s season—the time for lots of chocolate, flowers, cheesy greeting cards and red cutout hearts…everywhere. Thanks to Hallmark, it’s easy to decide what to get for your significant other during Valentine’s. It seems like you can’t go wrong with chocolate, flowers or pre-made greeting cards.
Or can you?
When it comes to the greeting cards and candy, it seems all they’ve really done is foster a commercialized attitude towards Valentine’s Day which in turn has cheapened the holiday and created a false understanding of what women really want. Why did Hallmark get to decide that I want chocolate, flowers and pre-made greeting cards for Valentine’s Day, just because I’m a woman? While I certainly can appreciate a nice box of chocolate or a floral bouquet, they’re not exactly on the top of my list.
Of course, if women don’t respond well to those kinds of gifts, the other cultural alternative is to make Valentine’s gifts (and the entire celebration) as sexy as possible. It’s not a coincidence that Victoria Secret sales spike in February. Sadly, this is also the time of year that college campuses run university sponsored Sex Weeks and pass out “condomgrams” on campus. But contrary to what lingerie companies try to tell us, underwear and fuzzy handcuffs are not what most women envision for Valentine’s either.
Every girl wants Valentine’s Day to be memorable, so if you want to make it special for her, plan something that will be worth remembering. What really makes us feel loved and appreciated is knowing that our significant others have taken both the time and effort to do something special for us. It really is the thought that counts. Guaranteed, five years from now, we’ll look back at that well-planned or thoughtful moment and smile at the memories made because of it. Unfortunately, today the standard is for guys to give run-of-the-mill gifts that take very little effort and even less thought.
Without suggesting that all of you guys out there need to lasso the moon every Valentine’s, there are still many things that you could do for your girlfriend or wife that wouldn’t involve a whole month of planning, but would still show her how much you care. (Or ones you can keep in your back pocket for when she finally appears.) Here are just a couple of ideas to get you started.
Make her dinner (and there doesn’t have to be candles).
It says so much to a woman when the person she loves is willing to step slightly out of his comfort zone for her. Hint: “ordering in” does not count as making dinner. Even if you’re one of those guys who is already amazing at cooking, what woman wouldn’t love to be treated to a gourmet meal that she didn’t have to make?
Put together a photo album or scrapbook of your love story, beginning with your first meeting.
If you’ve been dating for a while, this could be a great way to reminisce together about the details of your love story, and it would be a gift she would treasure for years. Digital scrapbooking has made creating photo albums easier than ever! Anyone can do it; you don’t have to be a creative genius.
Write her a love letter.
Yes, write one. Don’t just sign your name at the bottom of one of those Hallmark cards. One time a previous boyfriend sent me a letter via snail mail. When it arrived at my house I was so excited to open it, only to find that he had typed the note on his computer, printed it out, signed it and mailed it. Don’t follow his example. Use a pen! It means so much more when it’s hand-written.
Take her out, but do something you’ve never done before.
This could be something as simple as trying an entirely new kind of cuisine, going to an outdoor skating rink, or going on a “three course, three restaurant” date (appetizer at the first restaurant, main course at the second, and dessert at the third). Planning something new and different will show her that you put some extra thought into the outing!
The bottom line is, whatever you do for Valentine’s Day, it will mean the most to her if you’re spending time together and making memories. If those memories include chocolate and flowers, great! After all, what woman can say no to beautiful and yummy things? But if you really want to give her a gift she’ll love, show her you care by making plans that will create a lasting memory with her.
This post was originally published by the Love and Fidelity Network.
Brittany Crippen recently completed a fellowship with the John Jay Institute and currently serves as Outreach & Programs Officer at the Love and Fidelity Network.