The mere utterance of the date “February 14” sets off a wave of anxiety and horror in the hearts and minds of most people. Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day can be incredibly unpleasant. Either you’re single, ordering Thai food on the sofa as you masochistically view a romantic comedy, or you’re running around like a lunatic, making sure everything is primed and perfect for your partner.
Whether you’re nearing your 30th anniversary, or you started dating on New Years Day, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating your companion. Ignore the muss, fuss and excruciating marketing campaigns, and don’t forget to relax. And while a simple “I love you” is more than enough, here are a few last minute gift ideas that are certain to make the holiday a little more special.
If you’ve got an outdoorsy man on your hands and you don’t have time to share in a romantic hike on Valentine’s Day, prepare a basket of goodies that will be useful for years to come. A Polar insulated water bottle is merely the beginning – check out REI for the greatest gear you can get!
A special occasion is the ideal time for your man to ditch the diet and live a little. Avoid Russell Stover’s iconic heart-shaped box at your local CVS, and do yourself a favor and order some Moose Munch. The delicate and addictive treat might not be as memorable as a fancy watch, but the sentiment is just as sweet.
Bring the vacation home – provide your partner with a new bathrobe, and a plethora of products (personally, I’d suggest anything Kiehl’s – especially the Rosa Arctica rejuvenating cream). Take a load off, make a batch of margaritas, and forget where you are for a few hours.
Honestly, we’ve all been in relationship ruts. Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to reignite the flame – take him out dancing to remind him that he and he alone is the apple of your eye. Hey, you may not look like Fred and Ginger out on the floor, but start the night with some romantic champagne for two, and you’re bound to remember why you fell in love in the first place.
Dancing not your thing? Yeah, me neither. How about spicing up the relationship on the home front? Monotony in the bedroom doesn’t just apply to your sex life – revamp the décor with just a few small changes, and trust me, he’ll be sure to notice. Stick to the basics like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel for a cohesive, affordable yet chic look.
If you really want to splurge for your lady but she’s not exactly a material girl, how about springing for some concert tickets and making a night of it? Obviously, you can check out Ticketmaster for any number of overpriced and phenomenally fun events, but make it a little more personal – take her to see an up-and-comer in an intimate venue.
A dear friend of mine once scoffed in my face when I told her I had seen most of “The L Word” but hadn’t even heard of the BBC mini-series “Fingersmith.” If you or your partner have yet to see the sexy and mysterious Victorian-inspired crime caper, order it immediately, pick up a bottle of red, and hunker down for a cozy night in.
No matter what they say, all any girl really wants is to be pampered – especially on Valentine’s Day. If you can afford to splurge, nothing’s better than a luxurious spa day. But if cash is a little tight, you can create an equally sensual and relaxing experience in your own home. A basic massage oil is only the first step. If you really want to treat her to an evening she won’t forget, transform your whole bedroom into an unfamiliar and serene setting. Candlelight is key, as are ambient tunes. Take a look at Sigur Ros or put together your own spa mix.
Whether you’re taking her out to dinner or treating her to a home-cooked meal, it’s all about creating a moment. If you’re going out to a restaurant, skip your staples and ignore the overpriced Valentine’s Day prix fixe menus. Check out a place that’s small and off the beaten path. This is the perfect time to explore the neighborhood ethnic joint you’ve strolled by a hundred times. It will provide a quaint, quiet environment with no distractions – just you and your loved one.
These days, everything is documented online. I’m sure you and your partner are tagged in Facebook albums galore, but nothing compares to the real thing. A photo album or scrapbook might seem a little silly, but a homemade gift is the perfect way to show you care. You can include a personal love letter, poem, or a forgotten artifact from the beginning of your relationship (First date movie stubs, anyone?!).