The best and worst of Valentines Day

What’s the best way to enjoy Valentines Day? Is it a heart-shaped box of chocolates?

Valentines Day is looming...The Pipestone Flyer has some great advice for you.

Valentines Day is looming...The Pipestone Flyer has some great advice for you.

What’s the best way to enjoy Valentines Day? Is it a heart-shaped box of chocolates, that steamy movie you’ve been waiting weeks or months to see or a pile of gifts waiting to be opened?

Those can all be parts of a great Valentines Day, but there can be many more creative ways to enjoy Valentines Day, and they don’t necessarily have to be extravagant, expensive or complex.

But before getting to the positive suggestions, perhaps a few ground rules need to be reviewed. The “cons” listed below come from a variety of sources.

Beware these gaffes

First off, a lot of people (including men, too) place a surprisingly high importance on Valentines Day and if your significant other is in that group, don’t forget about Feb. 14. Forgetting this day, if your partner places importance on it, is a strong message to your significant other.

Predictable gifts such as lingerie can be okay for the recipient who is interested in such things, but relationship experts often state intimacy is something that should be a focus year-round, not just Feb. 14. Valentines Day should probably have a deeper meaning than the boudoir. This tip is also closely related to the “let’s buy clothing” no-no below.

If your significant other likes Valentines Day gifts, be wary of shallow gifts, even what some people would call junk. Useless gifts, for example little bears holding a Valentines heart that really is not much use throughout the year, show little thought was put into the gesture. You can do better.

Putting thought into your Valentines Day effort is important. Insensitive gifts such as a gym membership or clothing that doesn’t fit aren’t appreciated by either men or women.

Even expensive gifts can cause a problem if not the right gift. Gifts that scream thoughtlessness such as pots and pans (unless of course your partner asks for them) are probably a waste of money.

Remember your personal hygiene. On Valentines Day, don’t give your significant other some bad breath as a gift.

Don’t be a cheap skate; if you’re that short of money, you probably need to take a different approach to Valentines Day. Recycling gifts or buying a $4 bottle of wine and boasting to your significant other about it may not have the desired effect.

It’s not a bad idea to talk about Valentines Day beforehand to make sure everyone is on the same page; surprises may not be exciting or as welcome as some people think. Talk to your significant other about what they’d like to do, or receive. Sometimes, very high expectations are dashed and turn to disappointment when a bad idea crashes and burns.

Some positive suggestions

Be creative and try to do something different every year; for instance, lots of couples do “date night,” which traditionally involves dinner and a movie. Instead mix it up a bit by, for example, going to a book store and looking around, try a new activity like mini golf or bowling or even visit a public resource like the humane society or Leduc Public Library, which is open relatively late every night.

Sending a Valentines Day surprise to your significant other when they don’t expect it can be one of those surprises that they really enjoy. For example, hand-delivering them a homemade lunch while they’re at work or be waiting for them outside work at quitting time to go straight to live entertainment would be a great change of pace. Even a Valentines Day letter or card tucked into a lunchbox makes a great surprise when he or she finds it later.

Homemade dinner at home is always a great idea, even if you’re not the greatest cook. There are plenty of cookbooks available at bookstores and even the public library; check out YouTube for some great video instruction. It couldn’t hurt to do a little detective work beforehand (“I was just wondering what your favourite dish is,” or “Have you ever tried vegetarian pizza?”).

With the down economy, consider a completely “money free” Valentines Day experience. While chocolates and top-notch restaurants are great ideas, simplicity is great too. Don’t buy anything at all but instead go for a romantic walk, look through photo albums together, turn off the cell phones and computers and enjoy some quiet time.

 

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