On any given Valentine’s Day, you’re guaranteed to find me and my fiancé at either one of our apartments: Neither one of us will have roses, stuffed animals, or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and both of us will be unprepared for a fancy dinner out.
Why? Is it because we don’t care to celebrate our relationship? Or do we not love each other enough to splurge on a nice dinner on the one day a year that every couple seems to go nuts over? Actually, it’s really the opposite of all that.
See, instead of giving in to the pressure of what Valentine’s Day “should” be about (giant stuffed animals, spending hundreds on one meal, etc.), we have chosen for the past five years to make Valentine’s Day about our love, and for us that looks a lot different than the average date night.
The first time we celebrated Valentine’s Day, we were little-bitty freshmen in college, with little to no money to spend on each other. When he asked if he could take me to a nice dinner the day of, I quickly responded with a firm, “Absolutely not!” When I saw his shocked expression, I explained further that I didn’t need a fancy date night, chocolates or flowers for him to prove his love for me. All I wanted was the authentic him and all that he came with.
So, from this conversation, we made a new Valentine’s Day tradition. Every year, we make breakfast for dinner (with fun toppings for the pancakes, of course!), exchange letters we’ve written to each other, and enjoy a sappy rom-com (usually “What Women Want,” because… Hello, Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt!).
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to replicate this exactly. There is no secret sauce for Valentine’s Day! But, it does mean that you don’t have to spend a fortune at a nice restaurant or do something extravagant to celebrate your love! Valentine’s Day should be solely about each other, not what you do for each other. So, here are a few unique ideas that you and your love can turn into your own Valentine’s Day tradition!
SCAVENGER HUNT This doesn’t have to be crazy romantic or full of expensive things. Even just going on a walk in your hometown and having clues for different spots that have been important in your relationship can be fun!
DINNER & A MOVIE AT HOME It might sound like an average night, but you can choose to make it interesting! Try a unique recipe, make a fun dessert together, build a blanket fort, or have a #throwback with juice boxes and a Disney movie!
ROLLER SKATING Even if you’re one to trip over thin air while walking (you’re not alone), what’s better than hanging on to your love as you try and balance yourself down the rink?
SPA DAY Whether at home or going out, this relaxing date idea can bring you two closer together! You can go get a couple’s massage at your local spa, or you can get your own oils and candles and do it for each other!
RECREATE YOUR FIRST DATE This one is especially great if you live in the same area that you did when you first started dating. But even if you don’t, do your best to get close to that first time going out!
MAKE A LOVE LIST List at least 10 things that you love about your partner. It can be as specific or as broad as you want it to be! Either write them down and exchange pages or speak them out loud to each other.
UNPLUG AND RECHARGE Unplug your phones so that you can recharge with each other. This is a great idea for every night, not just Valentine’s Day. Take time to invest in your partner and have your full focus on them. You might be surprised at what you see!
Whether you choose to go traditional or unconventional for Valentine’s Day this year, just make sure you are doing it with and for your partner, not just because it’s what you think you’re supposed to do!