By Daddy Nickell
Some people consider Valentine’s Day a stressful holiday that forces romantic gestures. I’d rather look at it as an opportunity to celebrate the reason my wife and I got married in the first place. We may have busy schedules, the kids still need to be tucked into bed and we may not have a babysitter to head out on a dinner date, but we can always find a few minutes in the craziness of life to take time out for each other. And sometimes the most inexpensive, meaningful ideas are the best and most appreciated. Here are a few of the ideas I’ve used over the years:
1. A Picnic Perfect Evening. Once the kids are tucked safely in bed, lay out blanket (in front of the fire place gets you extra credit), put on the Barry White or Sade, dig out the champagne glasses (even if you’re having water), set the mood with some candles, and enjoy dinner picnic style. It can be as simple as a pizza.
2. Inexpensive and Fun Win. A game of bowling with a couple of beers or putt-putt golf are always good for a few laughs together. You can even surprise him by going sledding (it’s not just for kids!) or taking in a local basketball or hockey game. These ideas are all inexpensive and put a little fun into your relationship.
3. Skip the Card, Go for The Post-It Note. Yes, that’s right, Post-It Notes. But not one or two, I’m talking about a house filled with them. Give her all the reasons you love her. Stick them the bathroom mirror, on her pillow, on the back of the front door, and on the coffee pot. The idea may seem small but the sentiment is huge.
4. Be Unconventional. No one ever said that Valentine’s Day had to be celebrated ON Valentine’s Day. Celebrate the day before or the day after. Or take the morning off work and take the kids to school, then head to brunch with your significant other.
5. Bring Back the “Mixed Tape.” Remember when you were dating and you’d create a mixed tape or cd filled with your favorite songs together? Whip up this old time favorite for your beloved this Valentine’s Day by uploading your favorite songs to her iPod or MP4 player. Don’t forget to include a song you danced to at your wedding!
6. Recreate Your First Date or the Night You Met. Unless your first date was an out-of-control frat party, this idea will be a real memory maker. Bring back as many things from your first date as possible, from the food, to the friends you were with, to the movie you watched, or the sporting event you attended. You may have to improvise a bit but the effort behind it will win you a lot of points with your loved one.
7. Movie Marathon Night. Visit the library or movie rental spot and pick-up his/her favorites, a movie from when you first started dating, or one that is your favorite together. Pop some popcorn, make up some hot toddy’s or hot chocolate and cuddle up for a movie marathon.
8. Book His and Hers Massages. Make an appointment for the two of you to get massages together at a local spa or massage school that offers discounted services. You probably won’t be in the same room but think how appreciated this gesture will be and how relaxed you’ll both be when you emerge an hour later!
9. No Reservation, No Problem. Tuck the little ones in and invite your lady love to dinner at Chez Husband instead. Plan a menu around her favorite foods and whip up a romantic dinner at home. The dinner can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Light candles, pour a couple glasses of wine, relax, and chat the evening away. Tipping is appreciated, but not required.
10. Document Your Life Together. Do you have tons of pictures of the two of you sitting on your desktop? Find a site like One True Media and create a video montage for your favorite someone. You can make a stunning gift that will be hard to beat next year. Simply upload your favorite digital photos, pick a couple of great songs, and there you’ll have it. I can almost guarantee this one will bring a few tears, hugs, and kisses.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddy & Co., delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the Daddy & Co. blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.