Time has a way of running away from us in the race of life, and no matter how hard we try we always seem to be at least a lap behind when it comes to organizing gifts for special days. Some we can get away with an apology or a quick-fix, but Valentine’s Day can prove a major problem because it is all about love and caring.
All is not lost, however, even if Cupid’s arrows are already loaded. There are ways to save the day with a little thought and not too much money. After all, this is one time of year when it really is the thought that counts.
1. Book now, play later
Perhaps you left it too late to find a vacancy for a Valentine’s weekend getaway. A more sensitive slant would be that you don’t want to spend even a part of Valentine’s Day travelling home as it falls on a Sunday this year. That’s no reason not to make a romantic getaway a perfect gift. Book a really romantic trip to a wine farm; to experience chocolate making or indulge in exotic cheeses. Book the tickets, make the reservations and make an excellent presentation on the day, attaching the booking details to a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates or a cheese board.
2. Promise time
Buy ready-made Love Coupons or make your own with scraps of card or sections of those adult colouring in designs that are so much the rage right now. Love Coupons are a gift intended to turn love and caring into time and action and can include commitments to wash the car, go on romantic walks in the park or watch a series marathon of your partner’s choice. The catch is you have to be prepared to keep the commitment, no matter how long it takes your partner to cash in the coupons.
3. Grant a wish
Think about what your sweetheart would really like to do, and try to make it happen. If he or she has a favorite band that’s going on tour; there’s a particular game coming up or a theatre production set to hit the boards, buy the tickets now. It’s easy enough to get tickets online and present them with a suitable or simple token like a rose or chocolates.
4. Tell them why
Be an old-fashioned romantic, and unleash the sensitive side of your nature. Pack away the laptop and pick up a pen and a beautiful piece of paper. Go back in time and write an old-fashioned love letter of the kind they did in the days of chivalry and gallantry. In it explain how much your darling means to you and why noting the little things like tender expressions and emotional responses. Fold the letter very carefully and seal it in a beautiful envelope. Deliver it with a single red rose ( and a few tissues for the emotional response it is likely to get!).
5. Set your love to music
Listen to the poets who say “if the music is the food of love, play on….” Put together a collection of music that charts your love story so far, and includes favourite tracks of either or both of you, then put together a lounge picnic of smoked oysters, cheeses and other tasty morsels with a bottle of wine or champagne and let the love flow.
6. Looking back
Create a photo collage of pictures which together show where you have come from as a couple and where you are now. Print, cut, arrange and attach them to a board or frame. Depending on how sentimental you or your partner are, the collage could have a heart-shaped mounting or be left more staidly square.
7. Make it all about you two
Skip the clichés and avoid the crowds of couples going to set menu or organized events. Grab a blanket, a bottle of champagne and a single red rose and head out for a romantic walk or to take in view sites. Dress warmly if it’s cold – maybe it means leaving the sexy outfit for next year, but there will be plenty of warmth in the togetherness. If it’s freezing out there, enjoy the bubbly at home, or bring marshmallows round and toast them on the fire.
8. Organize a movie night
Put a little fun into Valentine’s Day. Hire some romantic movies and set up an old-fashioned movie night at home. Go a bit over the top by rounding it off with making popcorn drizzled with chocolate for that good salty and sweet taste and serving coffee on personalized paper coasters sporting puns like “ I wanna spend a latte time with you” or other cutesy or funny sayings.
9. Scatter the love
Scatter love notes around the house, putting some in obvious places so your loved one will find them throughout the day – attached to the morning coffee cup, on the fridge door, inside the car and so on – to make Valentine’s Day itself unique. Then make sure to hide a few extra ones a little more carefully, so your Valentine continues to feel special for some time to come.
10. Carve your initials
Carving your initials on a tree is a way of showing your love but it may not be that good for the tree, and a tree is hard to deliver on Valentine’s Day. Instead, carve your initials surrounded by a heart into a candle and touch it up with gold craft paint. The candle’s wick will probably never be lit because your sweetheart isn’t going to want to see it melt, but the idea of the flame of love will burn strong far beyond Valentine’s Day.
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