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Did you hear that sound? It’s the quiet angst everyone feels as Valentine’s Day slowly creeps up on us. Even those without a significant other during America’s official day of love can get overwhelmed with the stressful desire to either find or impress a loved one. Sure, there are the typical and time-honored ways to enjoy the holiday: flowers, chocolates, a nice dinner out. While these are certainly congenial ways to put some passion back into your romance, there’s an unspoken truth about them that many of us have stirring in the backs of our collective heads. That truth? Boredom. Flowers? Yawn. Chocolates? Hit the snooze button. A romantic dinner out? Think of the crowds! If you’re in the “been there, done that” funk this year, you’re in good company (and most likely, so is your significant other). Why not explore some fun Valentine’s Day alternatives that are sure to get that roller coaster of love moving again?
Getting out and enjoying Valentine’s Day is a time-honored lovers’ tradition. Yet you and everyone else are likely trying to do the exact same things. This is why every year, restaurants are packed with customers and sport long waitlists. Many places do not even take reservations anymore, instead forcing would-be lovebirds to roost in the waiting room, or worse, out in the cold. That romantic dinner might make for a great eating experience, but the one- to two-hour wait is likely to put a damper on the evening. Not to mention that restaurant noise levels often make for somewhat difficult sweet talk.
Instead, why not prepare your own romantic dinner for two? Cooking shows are all the rage these days, many exhibiting average (or above-average) people making incredible food. Shows like “Masterchef” place the home cook in the spotlight, and help promote the idea that some of the best meals can be made right at home. For some true romance this Valentine’s Day, why not don that apron that’s been gathering dust in your pantry, grab a new cookbook or online recipe and make your own version of the meal you were going to enjoy at that fancy restaurant? Making your Valentine’s Day meal at home can even be a couple’s affair. Splitting the tasks will not only allow you both to enjoy time together, but a great meal. Even if the food is a disaster (don’t worry, we won’t judge), the experience itself can help keep those amorous burners hot.
Not the cooking type? Have an apartment that’s too small for one person, let alone two? No problem. There are other ways to make Valentine’s Day a special occasion. For many — especially those millennials among us — technology can be a big distraction. Even when it comes to spending time together, technology seems to rule the day. It’s increasingly difficult to have full conversations without our eyes constantly peeking at mobile devices. Dividing attention between your significant other and your phone is not only decidedly unromantic, it may ruin quite a few romantic outings this year. Instead, declare a phoneless, deviceless evening. There’s nothing more romantic than giving your full attention to the woman or man in your life. Even if it’s just a night in with some steaming take-out, putting the phone down and lifting your eyes up can go a long way. They’ll not only appreciate that you’ve given up the addictive draw of social media for their sake, they’ll be able to see that you’re in the moment with them. Never underestimate the romantic appeal of giving someone your undivided attention!
Finally, for those who know that celebrating Valentine’s Day once a year is simply not enough, why not extend the holiday? Create a schedule of small surprises the week before and leading up to Valentine’s Day. Make the gifts not only meaningful, but unique on each of those days. Pick items that carry strong and tender memories with them. This will not only let your significant other know that you care about them, but that you believe and remember the small things that make them happy. If you and your better half have not been together for too long, you can make small gifts that will remind them of your first few dates. If you’ve been together for years, use that knowledge to take a flirtatious walk down memory lane with small gifts or trinkets that provide recollections of some of the unforgettable times you’ve shared together.
Don’t let Valentine’s Day be a giant ball of stress for you this year! There’s nothing more meaningful and romantic than purposeful actions. Sure, the flowers, chocolate and dinners out can be special. But nothing helps remind your loved one you care more than small, meaningful actions that come from the heart.