It’s that time of year again. That’s right. It’s time for you to begin to dread the glorified capitalist’s dream holiday, where you have to buy cliche gifts, cheap candy, and corny cards – conveniently scheduled just two months after Christmas. The only reason so many participate in the hackneyed celebration is it has become compulsory to prove your love to your significant other. It’s time to wake up from the Hallmark nightmare. If you choose to celebrate Valentine’s day do it right. Here is an in depth guide to avoid being basic this Valentine’s day – from gifts to date night.
The Gift: Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t: Get a Bouquet
First of all, I have to critique the practice of giving our loved ones an overpriced bundle of flowers for them to display in a cup of water on their kitchen table as they slowly shrivel up, die, then drop petals everywhere. We say “thank you, how pretty”-but it can be annoying quite frankly.
Do: Get a Living Plant
Go to your local Grocery store or Home Depot and pick up a live potted orchid. They even carry them at Walmart around Valentine’s. Prices usually range from $16-30. Orchids are beautiful, delicate, and can last 15-20 years if cared for correctly. It is a much more poetic token of love than a basic bouquet of red roses.
Don’t: Buy Cheap Candy
Very few people actually like those gross little conversation hearts. Russel Stover represents minimum effort and no thought, even in a heart-shaped box, Whitman’s might be worse. If you are going to get someone candy for Valentine’s day you need to step it up a little. But for god’s sake DO NOT order an edible arrangement. The fruit has been frozen, the chocolate is low quality, and it’s outrageously overpriced. In most cases, the receiver doesn’t really like them, they’re just polite.
Do: Buy Personal Favorites
Showing you know your partner’s favorite candy or dessert means a lot more than a random assortment in a heart shaped box. If you are all about big gestures you can get a personalized cookie cake. If you have the skills set go homemade.
Don’t: Get a Teddy Bear
Unless your significant other has made it clear to you they love stuffed animals, avoiding them is a safe bet. If you do go for a furry friend try to find their favorite animal. You can go the extra mile and make a Build-a-bear with a personalized sound, they even can have scents now. It’s even cuter if you go make it together as a date.
Do: Get a Useful Gift
Try to find something that won’t just sit on a shelf. Jewelry is an obvious choice, but can come across as a little too much if you haven’t been together for a long time and can feel a little impersonal. Show them you really know them and find something they’ll actually use. Are they outdoorsy? Do they love a certain store or brand? Do they like to cook? Try to find a gift that appeals to their interests, maybe even something you can do together.
The Date: Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t: Pick a Place You Won’t Enjoy
If you can’t skate then don’t go to an ice rink. If you hate sports don’t buy tickets to a game. If you can’t stand Sushi don’t go to a Sushi bar. Valentine’s is not about making another person happy while you suffer, find something you’ll both enjoy. If you don’t want to be there you’ll probably ruin their time anyway.
Do: Go Somewhere Different
Try something that’s more original than dinner and a movie. Go to the Zoo, the Drive in Theater, the art museum, or a concert. There is something out there for everyone from horseback riding to candle making classes to Netflix and chill. What really matters is that you have fun together.
The Dinner Don’ts:
Don’t go anywhere in a group, even a double date isn’t the vibe on Valentine’s.
Don’t feel the need to spend an outrageous amount of money OR expect someone to spend an outrageous amount of money on you. It’s about showing someone you appreciate them not making his pockets hurt.
Don’t attempt to go anywhere as an afterthought, you have to get reservations or tickets in advance
Don’t go somewhere you go all the time – it’s not that the restaurant needs to be more expensive or somewhere you’d dress up for but picking somewhere you wouldn’t go any day of the week makes it more special.
Don’t ever ask: “where do you want to go?” and start the endless “I don’t care, where do you want to go?” cycle. Either say you’ll pick the restaurant beforehand or tell them you’d like them to.
The Dinner Do’s:
Try cooking something, it’s cheaper and shows you’re putting in effort.
Go somewhere romantic, it could be the decor of the venue or that it’s where you went on your first date, just pick somewhere you can talk and feel close to each other.
Consider staying in and ordering takeout if you want more alone time, don’t feel pressured to go out to dinner if you won’t enjoy it.
Overall, it is crucial to personalize the holiday. Try not to go the cheesy-easy route and think about how special the person you’re shopping for is. Remember it’s not about the money, it’s about showing how much you care.