As the day of love approaches we all have a little twinge of fear that we will let down the one we love with our gift choice. While you can always go with the standard candy and flowers route, what if you want to do more this Valentine’s Day? What can you do to make this Valentine’s Day really memorable?
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Well, one thing to remember is that there are different kinds of gifts. Truly romantic Valentine’s Day gifts come in five categories, according to the five love languages:
1. Purchased Gifts –This is the easiest category because this is the one we all jump to first. Purchased gifts can be very romantic if you know what you are doing. Some ideas for romantic purchased gifts would be:
a. Flowers – Buy her favorite flower. Not only are flowers themselves romantic, but showing that you remember what her favorite flower is or cared enough to find out is a big deal. Thoughtfulness is romantic, and this is one way to show you think about her. But don’t stop there. Even a big bouquet is usually not going to cut it for Valentine’s Day.
b. Jewelry – While a ring might not be in the cards, jewelry can be a thoughtful and romantic gift as well. A charm bracelet featuring some mementos of your dates or her favorite things, a necklace with her birthstone, or even a pair of very nice but simple diamond earrings are all good ideas. If you can, engrave your gift with a nice note or just both of your initials in a heart. Simple but romantic.
c. Perfume – This can get a bit tricky as all women have different tastes in perfume. If you know what she likes to wear then go for it. You can also try something new if you like the smell particularly well. However it is best to go small with new scents just in case it doesn’t work out. Again, this isn’t an ‘alone’ gift, but works well when paired with flowers and such.
d. Clothes – While a pair of tennis shoes doesn’t scream romance, lingerie does. Keep in mind this is for her, not you, so make sure it is to her taste. If you are not at that point in the relationship then you can still pick something nice. A pretty scarf, a warm and cute pair of gloves, or a shirt that brings out the color in her eyes is a good choice. Make sure you know her size though. Making a mistake in that could be disastrous.
e. Something Extravagant – Last but not least, buy her something she wouldn’t buy for herself. Maybe she’s been eyeing a new gadget or sighing over a dress she saw in the store window. Not only does this show you are willing to spend money on her, but it also shows that you were paying attention. If you are too scared you’ll mess it up, take her with you to get it. Just insist that you are buying it for her and let her work out the details. You’ll not only get to give her a gift she actually wants, but you get to see her happiness as she makes it perfect.
2. Quality Time – A gift that often slips our minds is the gift of time. This is especially important if you are in a long distance relationship or if you are both very busy people. Spending time alone together is a wonderful way to show her that she is a priority in your life. Here are some ideas on how to give her quality time:
a. Picnic – Open a bottle of wine, spread out some fruit and crackers, and lay down on a blanket. Indoors or out, this idea is both romantic and simple. If it is not too cold out you can bundle up and look at the stars as you enjoy your night just talking. If the weather does not cooperate take it indoors, light some candles, and turn out the lights.
b. Candlelit Dinner –Speaking of candles, the old classic of a quiet dinner by candle light is classic for a reason. It is romantic, quiet and focuses on just the two of you. You can make dinner for her or order something special and lay it out nice. Use your best China and table settings, dress up nice, and put on some quiet romantic music.
c. Go for a Drive – While driving in traffic is not romantic, getting away from it all is. Going for a scenic drive can be a great way to leave your normal life behind and enjoy time together. Go out and park to look at the sea or stars, or take her to a cozy restaurant in a secluded location.
d. Go for a Walk – Another great quality time activity, weather permitting, is a scenic walk. Head out to a park or beach to walk and talk as you take in the sights and smells of nature. As the sun goes down build a fire and warm up together. Roast marshmallows, dance in the moonlight, and have fun.
3. Loving Words – Words mean a lot. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to come up with something nice to say about the one you love. Here are some ideas for meaningful and romantic wordy gifts:
a. Find a Card – The easiest way to give a romantic wordy gift is with a card. If you look, you are sure to find a great card to give the one you love. Try to find one that really expresses how you feel about them. You can always add to it with your own words.
b. Find a Poem or Quote – Another easy way to give loving words is through quotes and poetry. Like I said, you don’t have to be a writer or creative individual to find something romantic to give your love. Print out a poem or quote on nice paper with a good font and give it to your love. Better yet, memorize it and recite it to her as she reads it. You can easily find some romantic classics by doing a simple online search. A small book of love poems also makes for a romantic gift; just make sure you personalize it in some way. You can write something in the front or make notes in the margins about the poems that remind you of her.
c. Write a Poem or Song – If you are a creative person, feel free to write your own love poem or even compose a song for her. Although it may not be perfect the thought behind it is very romantic. For optimum romance break it out when you are alone. An audience can make the both of you feel awkward and ruin a precious moment.
d. Write a Love Letter –Last but not least, another classic. The love letter is something precious that your love can keep forever. With that in mind make sure you do it right. Handwrite it, for one. If in doubt, type it up first and edit it before you write it by hand. Use your neatest handwriting, cursive if possible. Make sure you sign it and make it out especially to her! Do it right. You can mail it to her, but it is really best to hand it to her so you get to watch her reactions as she reads it. Keep in mind that the letter will be around for a while, so don’t say anything you wouldn’t want someone else to read. You don’t have to write an essay. Anything from a few sentences to a page will suffice. Some romantic topics might include: fun you have had together in the past, what aspects of her personality you find sexiest, and your hopes for your future as a couple.
4. Acts of Love – Love is an action. More than just words or gifts bought at the store, actions mean a lot. How can you show her you love her this Valentine’s Day? Here are some things you can do for her:
a. Make Her Dinner – This also ties into quality time. Making her dinner is not a complex task. If you are good at making chili or pizza or even macaroni and cheese then you can do that. It is the act of cooking for her that makes it special. If you already cook for her on a regular basis, than do something new. Make her favorite dishes or cook an elaborate dessert you know she loves. Even something super simple to make, like chocolate covered strawberries, is very romantic and fitting for the occasion. Try to avoid problem foods like onions, garlic, and beans.
b. Clean Her Space –From her car to her apartment, cleaning up is the last thing she wants to do on Valentine’s Day. Do it for her! I know you probably don’t know where everything goes. That’s not the point. You don’t have to throw anything out or potentially cause a disaster. Just pick things up, dust things off and make it look nice. Give her car a needed wax and wash, vacuum her carpet, and make her bed. Then do a little romantic decorating. Rose petals and scented candles make for a romantic atmosphere and highlight all the hard work you did. Or leave a single rose and a note on the seat of her car letting her know you have the other eleven and a surprise waiting for her at home. Anticipation means a lot, so capitalize on it.
c. Fix Something –It may not seem romantic to you, but if she has something she has been asking you to fix, or something that you just know needs to be fixed, then fix it! A tilted table, a wobbly shelf, a leaky faucet, or squeaky brakes are all easy to fix and take you just a few minutes. However they might have seemed like huge hurdles to her. That’s not saying it should be your only gift, but it can be a large part of making your Valentine’s Day a hit. For a really big impact you can do something big. Get some friends involved and paint a room that she’s been putting off or fix her fence after the storm damaged it. It’s virtually guaranteed to leave her speechless.
d. Make Her Feel Special –Last but not least, make her feel special with your actions. This can mean pulling out her chair and opening her doors. Treat her like a lady, if you already don’t. Help her put on her coat or take it from her when she comes in. Do what makes her happy, even if you don’t really like it. Put on her favorite songs, dine on her favorite foods, and have a good attitude! If you do it grudgingly you might as well not do it at all. For a very special feeling, hire a car or limo. Being driven around by a chauffeur is very romantic and makes her feel very special. Plus it gives the two of you more quality time together.
5. Touching Gifts – Last on our list is frequently the hardest to understand and the hardest to give. Touch is an important part of relationships. Physical touch helps to bond people together and makes any situation intimate. But how do you give the gift of touch? Here are some ideas:
a. Massage –A massage is romantic when it is given by someone you love. Make it really special by adding scented candles or oils, a dimly lit atmosphere, and calming music. Don’t think about sex right now. Instead, focus your attention on making her feel good. Help her to relax and get in the mood for romance. She is probably tired and stressed from work but you can help her to refocus her mind on you and the love you share. Don’t try to be skimpy either. Take your time and really think about what you are doing. She can feel the difference. Make it all about her.
b. Dancing – Another great way to add touch to your list of gifts is through dancing. Although going out to dance is great, for real romance and that quality time we talked about a dance at home or in a secluded location is best. Drive out to the beach and dance under the stars. Move the couch back and dance in your living room. Pretend you are teenagers and park behind your high school and dance in the parking lot. No matter where you dance you get a chance to hold her and let her feel how much she means to you. Pick out some slow music and hold her close as you sway together.
As you can see, there are many ways to make Valentine’s Day romantic and most of them don’t require much money. Being romantic is not about giving the best gift or the most flowers. It is about making time and showing her how much you care. Make this Valentine’s Day truly memorable and romantic with some of these ideas.
Elizabeth Reed is a freelance writer and a resident blogger at Liveinnanny.org. She particularly enjoys writing about parenting, childcare, health and wellness. In addition, she is an expert consultant on issues related to household management and kids.