Happy getting ready for Valentine’s Day! You are, aren’t you? Getting ready?
I can see all of you now, individually wrapping each of your beloved’s toothpicks and socks in heart-print paper, spraying perfume on be-jeweled handkerchiefs so he can carry your sent with him always, melting down hundreds of Dove bars to make a perfect chocolate likeness of your most treasured loved one. Yeah, me too.
But this year, I want to go beyond the basics. What are some great ways to surprise that special someone for Valentine’s Day?
I’m talking good surprises, surprises that bring tears of joy and belovedness, surprises that cost very little money and can be prepared in…um….14 days or less, surprises that please and delight, surprises that can be talked about on a G-rated weblog where I don’t really care about the most private details of your intimate relationship and will delete you if you decide you MUST share?
I will give you a couple of examples.
1. Last year for Valentine’s Day I made Dan a “Book of Love”. It contained all of the pictures we’ve had taken of the two of us (wedding not included) and cards listing the things I love most about him. It cost a total of about $20 and maybe 10 hours of work (I told you I’m not a great scrap-booker) but he LOVED it and now it’s a family treasure we will keep adding to. I was actually surprised how few pictures we have of just the two of us. It seems we’re mostly taking pictures of each other or the kids.
2. Dan THINKS about me. When he finds ways to let me know he’s thinking about me, it drives me wild. These include things like shining my shoes without being asked because he knew they were scuffed, making the bed while I’m in the shower, taking me out on surprise dates, buying me a fairly expensive but awesome book on HTML programming just because he knows I want to learn, giving me his Palm today because mine has died and my life would spiral out of control into an endless abyss of disorganization without it. Good surprises, all.
I can’t do the “Book of Love” again this year. It just wouldn’t have the same je ne sais quoi. I need ideas, stat. What are you gonna do for the shmoop? What have you done in the past that’s been a smashing success?
As an added bonus, if you would like the shmoop to do something specific for you, send me your requests and I will provide a service this year where I send anonymous cupid-email to him/her, strongly “hinting” at what you would like done.
Important Bulletin – Please visit Beth’s site today. She has a new game and I believe she mentioned something about free advertising as an incentive for the winner.
Last year I had chocolates sent to K’s office…which would have been really nice if they hadn’t arrived 4 days before valentines day. Yeah. So no Mirabelle for this year.
I’m going low key with a favorite meal and a wonderful looking chocolate cake from Bon Appetit magazine.
And then, maybe some stuff you would delete.
My favorite is still the scrapbook thing. One year I did a wedding book from all the pictures that had been hanging around in cardboard box for 25 years. (Coming up with all the names of the people who attended the reception was the biggest challenge.)
But there are always all the old standards:
Coupon books for services offered.
Favorite dinners by candle-light (complete with home made mix-tapes of every romantic song known to man).
Kidnapping for surprise dates or weekend get-aways.
Theme evenings – Think Hawaii with all the trimmings.
Anything handmade with love.
Anything reminiscent of 1st dates or honeymoons.
I’m still working on this one, so keep those ideas coming.
Queen Beth says
OOOOO! Thanks for the advertising!
My parents always to little things the 14 days before Valentine’s Day. They each take turns every other year. Each day, the person who’s turn it is, surprises the other one with small gifts that are especially meaningful to them. Her favorite cupcakes, a CD he’s been wanting…and so on.
Quite mushy my parents are!
A few years ago Dustin bought me a rocking chair for Valentine’s Day. That was such a sweet gift because it is totally not something I thought of, but when I saw it in the living room, I thought “That is the perfect gift!”
This year we are not celebrating any holidays/birthdays/anniversary until we pay off the laptop. But there will be loving and smooching – that’s free.
I have a ton of ideas, so sorry if this is long! And I wrote this a few years ago, so excuse the oldness of it.
The first year when we were engaged I bought a big ol package of red and pink construction paper. Since I am a teacher, I have easy access to numbers and shapes and a cutter. I cut out the saying “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” I taped those to the wall of dh’s apartment. Then I cut out about 50 hearts and on each one I wrote a reason why I loved him. I taped those all over his house and in an order that led him through every room, ending with the kitchen where I was waiting with a nice meal.
The first year we were married I did a progressive Valentine’s. It started with a card and a flower in his car in the morning. In the afternoon, I had a small basket of goodies delivered to him at work. When he came home, I had a big basket filled with treats, a CD I burned myself filled with love songs, and some love coupons. I also filled the basket with small Hershey bars wrapped in homemade wrappers. For the wrappers I found lots of quotes on love (my favorite is about one soul dwelling in two bodies) and I printed them on homemade stationary. I cut those out and wrapped them around the candy bars.
The 2nd year we were married, I enrolled my dh in my own homemade “Date of the Month Club.” I took a binder and filled it with all sorts of folders and fun stuff for the dates. I did a welcome sheet with all the instructions for the dates and I did it like a letter you get when you join clubs (like book clubs or CD clubs). I made 12 date planning sheets (when the date is to happen, where, what time, kind of dress required, etc). Then I had five folders. One was labeled date ideas and was filled with coupons to be redeemed for dates. They included nights out, dinners, a weekend away, etc. One folder was evenings at home and had coupons for snuggling, movies and dinners at home, etc. The third folder was sensual ideas with coupons for massages, etc. The fourth folder was stimulating conversation and had coupons for an hour of uninterrupted talking, a game of truth and dare, etc. The last was coupons just for fun and could be used anytime, like ice cream, a picnic, breakfast in bed, etc. My dh loved it and is still using it.
Disclaimer: This is not a tip.
Does your amazingly talented, non-scrapbooker, photo box inventor friend have a website where one could purchase her amazing invention? (I figure one of these years my kids may actually want to know what they looked liked way back when. Right now they have to resort to looking in the mirror and using their imaginations.)
And I really tried hard to come up with a tip for you. But we’re just not all that into cupid day around here. Sorry!
DH and I have 2 Valentine traditions… 1) We take a cooking class together (You could always just try a new recipe together… there’s something adventurous about it), last year it was 3 course fondue, much fun! and 2) (not as cheap)… my DH always saves his change all year so we can try a new bed and breakfast every Valentines Day…. but you could always turn your own home into a themed getaway…. just takes imagination and some bravery.
A few years ago I made my hubs a book based on 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter. Each page had a verse from the chapter and the ways that he lives that description of love every day. Example: Love is patient. You are willing to do the same thing with our son 100 times over and over and never get impatient or bored. You are slow to get angry and I’ve never seen you fly off the handle about anything. Etc. Etc.
It was easy to make with the computer and some good quality scrapbooking cardstock.
I followed Goslyn’s blog here and have been enjoying reading. Last year I took my fiance out for a stereotypical guy-themed V-Day. We went to a local pool hall and had cheese fries and buffalo wings for dinner. It was really fun and casual, and it took the pressure off of him (he usually tries to plan something romantic) and off both of us to have a perfect romantic night.
Not sure if you included this in your book of love, but one year I made a booklet of “100 Reasons Why I Love You”. I included some big ones, but I tried to give a lot of little reasons too–to show I was paying attention. A few R-rated ones helped, too.
Several years ago I helped out a friend who wanted to ask his girlfriend if she would marry him…He being at a complete lost left it to me to come up with a plan “she would never forget” as he knew that she would have to tell the story for many years to come.He wanted to do this on Valintines Day. The day went like this: A sweet card, inside a map and a Starbuck’s gift card..And a note on front door that said start here…Outside we taped up small arrows with red and white ribbons on it to “mark” the way…upon entering to get her breve she was given a single rose and yet another map and hint….outside was her best friend waiting to take her to the next desination and another small note with the words ” I am greatful you choose me” and a gift card for a local book store..upon entering was another friend who gave her another hint…” find yourself here” and a map to the location of a book with her photo on it. The journel contained a few photos of her from the time she was a little girl and school photos and a photo of another location and another map. All of them pile into car and go on another goose chase to the location of their first date. A large table with all of their friends waiting…lunch was served and a hint was given to the bride to be….as well as another map to the key shop around the corner and waiting there was a key and a note saying ” you have the key to my heart” and another map. The last stop was her folks house and the whole family waiting, outside on the steps was a huge safe with a note saying ” your heart is safe in my heart in my soul and in my hands” insert key here if you will give me the honor of being your husband. Up on opening was a ring on a red ribbon and a note saying “for you are truely loved”
Now long married with kids.They add to the journal each year with the hints and photos as they,
12 years later are still doing the scavenger hunt.
Make maps, hints and clues to all of your special places..maybe you should start your first clue on a scrabble board..add his office and maybe a dry cleaners with the dress waiting that you want wear…and a book store with the book you made last year. I found everyone more than happy to help with the plans..people love being a part of something so special.
My husband gave me a journal in which we write notes to each other. It is very sweet and touching to read back on things that we have written just to one another. We will hide it under pillows for the other to find when we have written something.
I’m a terrible wife! I do nothing!
Someone New says
I have a question. Are there any guys who read this? (And I think there ARE!) I dare you to write! I want to know what they think a good valentines day is for the lady. Not ex-rated, of course! I am obviously female, and have generally gone with the philosophy that it is better not to expect much, so as not to be dissappointed, and I never am (and I love my husband and think he loves me, too!). Are there any romantical guys out there who think up wonderful things all on their own, and if so, what have they done??? (I know DYD is really thoughtful and fun, but….IS HE THE ONLY ONE? I don’t think so!
We don’t do a lot for Valentines day. Mainly because it is almost impossible to find a babysitter for five kids on Valentines day, not to mention the expense.
The last few years I have made a nice dinner for just the seven of us. I haul out the good china and cloth table cloth and we eat by candle light. The kids just love it.
Someday, too soon, it will be just the two of us again.
The best Valentine’s Day was one when we were dirt poor.
I wrapped up HIS stuff. Yep, His own stuff and gave it to him.
Each gift was carefully selected for a specific reason. I wrapped each item individually and enclosed a card with why the item was selected and why I loved him for it.
Example: I wrapped his alarm clock. Being a lover of sleeping in, I loved that he was dedicated and loved our family enough to get up each morning and go to work.
I wrapped a snowglobe he had gotten me. He bought it for me even though we couldn’t afford it just because I loved it.
I wrapped his jeans. What can I say, he looks good in them!
His reaction was wonderful. I think I may have seen a tear – and that NEVER happens.
Regina Clare Jane says
I don’t really have anything romantic to add… sometimes just hearing “I love you” is enough to put me into a whirl. I did want to say what a sweet couple you and your husband make!
My husband, Ross, is most definitely the creative thinker in this couple. Over the years he has sent me on a scavenger hunt (via Disney valentines) until I found 14 gifts. One year, I had to work late, when I drove up my husband opened the door dressed in a full suit with tie, and a white towel draped over his arm (server-style). He led me into the dining room where he had a formal table set for two, soft classical music playing, and candles burning. He had grilled venison steaks, baked potatoes (in the oven with butter and parmesan cheese), a tossed salad, rolls, and fresh brewed peppermint tea. For desert he had made a cheese cake with fudge sauce. Now, folks we are talking about a class act!!!
Last year was by far, the best one ever.
First of all, I let go of any expectations of what I thought my husband should do or get me and concentrated on how I could make it special for him.
Get the book, Intimate Issues, by Dillow and Pintus. (Don’t worry -it’s a nice book by Christian ladies).
At the back there is a sealed set of directions for an evening of “gourmet delight.” It involves different courses of food and drink in different room, along with some suggested, ummm….. well, let’s say “bonding activities” for each course as well. (No, naughty dice are not involved.)
Anyway, before I can’t stop this blushing, I’ll just say that it was WORTH IT, FUN, AWESOME! My husband thought it was great too!
Two years ago I gave him a brand new baby girl. That’s kinda hard to top and now we have the added pressure of a birthday party for a wee girlee….so beyond a new baby? I dunno. If I could, I’d give him an Addams Family Pinball machine cuz that’s what he wants most in the whole wide world. But I don’t have 3,000 frosty’s.
Anything else is too naughty for this forum, and I wouldn’t say anyhoo. Cuz I’m a lady. Mostly.
To Cee: Don’t you worry about empty-nesting.
We also had 5 children and I loved every minute of it. I loved their precious little baby smell and feel and watching them grow and get skills. I loved the really bad jokes of childhood and the camping trips and sleep-overs. I loved them as teenagers when they became great conversationalists and cared about meaningful things and were genuinely funny. And I loved watching them go off to college and get married and accomplish the things we had all dreamed of for their futures.
But I have to say, being alone with my Sweetheart is wonderful too! We plan our activities around what we want to do. We don’t have to taxi kids around. We go to bed when we want and eat whatever suits our fancy. And most importantly, we really have time to concentrate on each other.
Our philosophy is: “Empty-nesting is exactly like being newly-weds, only with more money.”
First, I have to say I love your mom’s quote about empty nesters. Sometimes I worry that when the kids all leave my husband and I will look at each other and have nothing left to say.
I read through your comments looking for ideas too. I never do anything, but would like to change that. I have the same criteria… inexpensive and doable in 14 days. I am craft challenged.
A letter, handwritten is better, but if your handwriting isn’t the best, typing works… Telling how you remember yall meeting, your first date, getting engaged, your wedding, and one event a year after that.
I got one like this for our third or fourth anniversary and loved it.
I don’t usually do anything for V-day but last year decided I should “start a tradition” because my dd was 1 year and I want her to have fond memories of the holidays. So we got out the construction paper and stickers and cut cutesy valentines pictures out of magazines and made heart-shaped cards for Daddy and the grandparents, just like I remember doing as a kid. Not really super-romantic, but a fun activity to share with kids.