When it comes to Valentine's Day, the haters gonna hate, and the daters gonna date.
I've been a Valentine's Day hater myself in the past. Say what the haters will about commercialization, crowded restaurants and over-the-top displays of affection, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to show someone you love that he or she really matters to you. But V-Day haters do have a point. After all, the premise of the day is love in and of itself, and love's not about chocolates, overpriced dinner and jewelry. It's about making someone else happy. So, whether you've been married for 30 years or you're as single as a slice of Kraft cheese, follow this advice and make the best of Cupid Day 2015.
Step 1: Make arrangements for your kid care
Planning might be one of my least favorite activities in life, but it's the warmup to any good activity. You don't want your evening to "pull a hamstring" halfway through because you didn't arrange for a babysitter. You still have time! Call and arrange a sitter right away, or you will find out just how many other people have plans this Feb. 14.
Step 2: Make at least one gift
This is a hard one. You need to think about the person you love and what you could possibly make for him or her that would mean something special. Maybe you feel like Edward Scissorhands when it comes to crafting, but if you have a solid idea, it won't matter that you aren't Michelangelo and your gift is not Pietà. Need an example? I'll give you one.
I don't like giving cut flowers as a gift. I'm far too practical to feel like giving someone a soon-to-be-dead rose is a good idea. But my wife has expressed to me several times in the past that she loves flower arrangements. So, for the occasion, I look up some bouquets on ye olde Internet and then present her with an arrangement of flowers I put together myself. That's hard for me — much harder than walking into the florist shop and picking out the first thing I see. What's worse, it might not even end up looking anywhere near as good as the arrangements at the florist's, but part of why it's more meaningful is that it isn't super simple. It shows my wife that I think she's worth my time and effort and that I can lay my opinions aside in favor of hers.
What will you make? Whatever it is, make sure you plan some time to actually make it before the morning of. Glue doesn't always dry quickly.
Step 3: Make it your special person's day — not St. Valentine's
Think. (Again with the thinking? Yes, again with the thinking.) What do you enjoy doing with your date? Do you two love spending time outdoors on a great hike? Then by no means do you need to feel obligated to sit in a restaurant. Check out an adventure blog and follow suit! Can you and your date score an "AAA" on Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade? Then maybe a stroll through the park in the middle of winter would be a bad idea. Much like my flower idea above, this step may require you to plan an activity you aren't head over heels about, but keep in mind that this day isn't about you. You'll have fun if you make sure your date is having fun.
Step 4: Make sure you spend time together — alone
I would also describe this as steering clear of the crowds. I'm not an agoraphobe, but most V-Day haters have a point when they hate on crowded shopping centers and eateries — those options don't allow you and your date to spend much time together. This is your chance to get really sentimental. Was there some obscure bench in a park where you once told each other your life ambitions? If you haven't had a talk like that, maybe it's time you did. In the movies, those things just kind of happen, but real life is busier than the movies. Have a few places in mind where you can walk or sit together, just the two of you. I say a few because another couple might find your first spot to be an ideal location as well. Once you arrive, it may be the perfect time for your to share you homemade gift (if you can carry it and all).
All I'm really saying is don't feel like you need to break the bank or fulfill a mainstream expectation for Valentine's Day. Think about your date, and find meaningful ways to show your love.