February is the season of love; the streets are blanketed in snow, fires burn brightly in the fireplace, and almost everywhere you look is a bright red ad talking about treating your lady right this Valentine’s Day with a special gift. There’s only one problem: once you’ve gotten the her the typical rose bouquet and box of chocolates a few times, it starts to get a little stale. The thing is, unless your gift is a sentimental heirloom or something they’ve always wanted, it’s probably not going to make much of a lasting impression. The other issue with this is that if you’re looking for a big reaction you’re typically looking at big ticket items.
So how do we knock Valentine’s Day out of the park without breaking the bank? The answer is actually pretty simple. A well-thought-out, carefully executed gesture can go much further than a material gift ever could. Women want to be romanced on Valentine’s Day – most don’t even care about the flowers or the chocolates or even the diamond jewelry. So take time and do something for your lady that nobody has ever done for her before. Valentine’s Day is not about the gifts and the candy, it’s about thoughtfully and selflessly expressing how deeply you care for the special person in your life. I’m going to share with you some starting points, but the idea is that you come up with something tailored to her that she’ll really LOVE.
Just to give you some background, I’ve done all of the things I’m about to suggest, and I’ve also had Valentine’s where I had no gifts to give. So I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, and I can tell you that things go much smoother if you prepare for success.
The Classic Gift Revisited: Roses and Chocolates
We’ve all seen it before, whether it was a movie or in our own lives. Valentine’s Day comes around, the man has completely forgotten something, and he runs to the florist on the way home from work and picks up a bouquet of flowers and grabs that bright red box of chocolates by the register. No thought, no effort, just a typical Valentine’s gift for his lady. Now think back to every time you’ve seen this exact scenario play out and try to remember how many times her jaw dropped in surprise or she cried tears of excitement over such a display of affection. Thought about it? I have, and the answer is almost never.
Even if you had thought about it ahead of time and that was your plan all along, where is the romance? Sure you might get her favorite flowers, but it’s essentially the bare minimum as far as Valentine’s gifts go. But as the bare minimum, these should be a staple in your Valentine’s Day toolkit.
So why are we suggesting you still stick with the roses and flowers? Because they, as a supplement, show that you care for the finer things and you appreciate the classic gifts of Valentine’s Day. The key word there is SUPPLEMENT. Any time I’ve done a Valentine’s celebration I’ve made sure there is a nice display of a dozen roses, a bottle of moscato (my fiancée’s favorite wine), and chocolates or a handwritten note (more on that later). So, call up the florist and reserve your roses, but know that there is more to giving your significant other a Valentine’s Day that will blow their mind.
The Handwritten Letter
The handwritten letter can be the number one most thoughtful expression of affection on the planet. Think about it. When you check your mailbox, how often is it that you have a letter in there that was written, sealed, and postmarked by hand? What is your reaction when there is one in there? For me, it always piques my interest. That’s the first letter I open because it’s a variance from the norm. It feels personal and like it’s truly directed to me, instead of machine printed and addressed from a database of mailing addresses. This is the exact reason we send every customer’s order with a hand-written letter.
This is the effect a handwritten note can have versus an American Greetings card, or worse yet, an e-card. If you’re not geographically close to your loved one, plan ahead and send your letter in the mail. As a rule of thumb, your cards should be mailed by February 7 in order to get there in time.
The thing with handwritten notes is that your loved one gets out of them what you put into them. If you put time and effort collecting your thoughts and feelings, and crafting the diction to communicate them as accurately and fluently as possible it will show. If you thoughtlessly throw some words down on a paper, fold it up, and drop it on the table that will show as well. Take your time and do it right. I promise your significant other will appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into it.
The Home-Cooked Meal
A few weeks ago, we wrote about the reasons a man should learn to cook. While cooking is a nice gesture all the time, it can be especially so on Valentine’s Day. Extra points if she doesn’t know you’re doing it! If you already know how to cook, learn to make something she really likes and perfect it based on her taste preferences. If you don’t know how to cook you have the added factor of surprise. Start practicing her favorite recipe until you get it just right. Read recipes, watch videos, anything you have to do to make it perfect by the big day.
If you’re able to try and have it ready for her when she gets home that’s great. If not, don’t worry about surprising her. Just make sure you pour her a nice glass of her favorite drink, pull out her chair for her, and let her relax while you make dinner (and while you clean up from it!). Make it an enjoyable experience and don’t worry about getting too fancy.
Candles and Music
Nothing sets the mood quite like candles do. Some people absolutely love candles, and in this case it is perfectly acceptable to go overboard. If your lady loves candles, put tea candles all over the place (just don’t start a fire). That said, don’t overlook the understated simplistic elegance that a couple of nice tall candlesticks and rose petals strategically placed in the center of the dining table can provide. Dim the lights and set an ambiance. Make it feel different than the norm and special.
Putting it all Together
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to do some big production and spend the entire day planning and preparing for Valentine’s Day. Judge your decisions on your own relationship and do what’s right. Sometimes a flower and nice handwritten note can be more than enough. Other times, if you’re a romantic or you have the ability to, you’ll want to do even more than all this.
The point I’m trying to get at is that you shouldn’t be locked into the idea of getting a flashy expensive gift or feel limited to a bouquet and a box of chocolates. Sometimes you can create a night to remember by simply cleaning the house, having the laundry done, and drawing a bath for her. Other times the most romantic thing you can do is finally organize the garage because she’s wanted to do it for years but never found the time. The most important part of delivering the perfect gesture like this is to expect absolutely nothing in return. Do it just for the sake of doing it.
Take time, think hard, and put together something special for your loved one. She deserves a gentleman, and this is your chance to prove that you are just that. And remember: you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to do these kinds of things. Your whole relationship should be full of nice gestures, surprises, and romance as often as you can make that happen.
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Cheers, gentlemen, and Happy Valentine’s Day.
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