Updated on 09.15.14

Thoughts on Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Trent Hamm

Ever since the first Valentine’s Day that my wife and I spent as a couple (1998, for those curious), we’ve done a wide variety of things to celebrate the day. We’ve went out for the fancy dinners. We’ve seen a vase full of roses on the dining room table. We’ve popped open boxes of chocolate. We’ve even settled in at home with the kids.

Things We’ve Learned About Valentine’s Day

Romantic time together means more than any material gift

Our best memories of Valentine’s Days past seem to always revolve around doing something together. It really doesn’t matter too much what we were doing – what matters is that we were simply together, enjoying each other’s company with as little interference as possible.

Thoughtfulness always outweighs any other factor

Thoughtful gifts are almost always treasured more than expensive and flashy gifts. My wife would enjoy a dozen roses, but a carefully thought-out handwritten note melted her heart much more effectively. A homemade dinner with a truly loved food that takes a lot of effort is almost always more memorable than yet another night out at a restaurant.

Shared experiences are better than “one way” gifts

Many people feel the pressure to give their significant other some kind of great Valentine’s Day gift. If you do feel the need to give a gift, the best way to make it a truly memorable one is to find a way to make it a shared experience. Instead of getting jewelry, get a pair of tickets to a concert. Instead of a dozen roses, get one and a gift card to a gardening shop so you can plant a rose bush in the spring together.

What do all of these things have in common? They’re almost universally less expensive and more memorable than the traditional flowers/chocolate/jewelry/night out that Valentine’s Day often connotates.

Need some specific ideas? Here are nine ideas from a post I wrote last year for a frugal Valentine’s Day

Ideas for a Frugal (and Romantic!) Valentine’s Day

Take time off

If you both have some vacation time built up, put in for a day off and spend it together. Do some simple and purely fun things that you wouldn’t ordinarily get to do. Cuddle together for a big chunk of the day and just enjoy each other instead of stressing out at work.

Make an elegant homecooked meal instead of hitting the town

Put in the time and make a wonderful meal at home. Put out a nice tablecloth, use a few candles, and make it a romantic evening at home instead of fighting the Valentine’s Day crowds out and about.

If you’re going out, do something unexpected

Lots of places will be crowded on that night, so do something unusual if you’re going out on the town. Don’t go to the high-dollar place – instead, ask around for something quiet and secluded and undiscovered. Not only will the meal be cheaper, it will also be more memorable and distinctive.

Do something low-stress

My wife and I used to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the bookstore together. We’d find some quiet chairs in the back and read through books together and talk quietly. We’d also go to a very low-key coffee shop and sip coffee together. These were very inexpensive things to do (provided we didn’t buy things at the bookstore), yet they were both enjoyable and fulfilling to us.

Don’t buy flowers without thought

Obviously, if your significant other would be devastated without flowers, pick some up, but don’t make it a requirement. I used to buy a dozen roses for my wife, but one year I came home with just two long stemmed red roses. Last year, I got a red rose, a pink one, and a white one. Another year, I got a flower selection that didn’t involve roses at all. In each case, I picked flowers with meaning instead of just pulling out the wallet and buying the dozen red ones.

Give a thoughtful gift

It’s easy to just buy jewelry or chocolates for Valentine’s Day, but it means more (and is less expensive) if you find a gift that truly has the recipient in mind. My wife is a science fiction fan, so one year in lieu of expensive gifts, I gave her a copy of Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love with a little inscription. Guess which gift she still remembers, many years later? It’s not the chocolate.

Write a note expressing how you feel to go with that gift

A little sentimental note means a lot more than some extravagance. Spend some time and try to express – in your own handwriting – how you actually feel about your partner and why that person is so important to you. No matter the gift, that note will be the part that is meaningful.

Look for free concerts

Many communities have free Valentine’s Day concerts by municipal groups that don’t get widely publicized. Take a look at your community calendar and see what’s out there to do for free on that day.

Your love is about the two of you, not about other things – and enjoy it

Hold each other close and enjoy each other, not things and events. Share a few passionate moments – that will mean far more than anything else you can do on this day. Best of all, it’s free!

And here are seven more ideas, culled from my own experiences over the years.

Bake some cookies

Instead of giving a generic (and probably expensive) gift of chocolates, bake some homemade cookies instead. Take a good chocolate chip cookie recipe – and add to it an ingredient that you know your partner will like. For example, my wife has baked me a batch of cookies before that were basically just chocolate chip cookies – but they also had cherries in them, cherries that were soaked in cherry liqueur before baking. It didn’t cost her much more than an hour or two of time and a couple dollars’ worth of ingredients, but the gift was not only delicious, but memorable.

Make a mix tape

Simply make a compilation CD of all of the songs that either mean something with regards to your relationship or express in some way the way you feel about your partner. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean all sappy romantic songs (for example, our “song” is the at best semi-romantic “She’s An Angel” by They Might Be Giants) – they just have to have some shared meaning between the two of you.

Go out for the atmosphere, not for the expensive food

If you do decide to go out on the town, eat at home and just stop by a place with a nice atmosphere for coffee or a drink and maybe a small snack or dessert. This way, you can enjoy the ambience and the romantic moment without the big, expensive bill at the end (which is a downer).

Do something silly

One year, we were snowed in on Valentine’s Day. What did we do? We put on some mood music, ate dinner together… and then colored. Seriously. We got out some printer paper and a box of crayons and drew pictures of various things. We gave the pictures to each other, too, and I still have mine.

Get refreshed

Put on pajamas, have a drink together, and relax in the most comfortable room in your home. Give each other a massage. Hold each other. Fall asleep in each other’s arms. Get a great night’s sleep. You’ll wake up the next day physically and emotionally refreshed without spending any money at all.

Consciously agree to save for something

Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re saving for a down payment. Instead of planning an elaborate Valentine’s Day celebration, stay at home, do some planning for this big step in your life, and put that $100 you saved into your savings account for that down payment. Apply this same principle to other “big” days in your life (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) and you’ll find yourself much closer to your big dream.


If you’re both socially conscious (and also adding in the fact that Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year), why not spend the day involved with a volunteer project together instead of doing the typical date thing? Help build a Habitat house. Serve a meal at the local food kitchen. Do some drudge work for a charity that matters to both of you. That way, the day means something beyond merely spending time together – and it doesn’t cost anything, either.

Good luck!

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  1. almost there says:

    I just bought my wife 50 roses for her 50th so hope I am off the hook for V day. I did get an offer in email from microplace (microfinancing, google it) that if I invested just 20 bucks I would get a bag of heart shaped chocolates sent to someone special. I try to invest there each month, so this month comes with chocolate on V day:. Besides 3% return is better than the online banks pay. At 20 bucks a pop that is a lot of chocolate for all the chicks in one’s life.

  2. liv says:

    I’m celebrating by going out to dinner (with a discount card that neither of us are ashamed of) with my guy and it will be slightly stress free because we’re celebrating on the 13th. :)

    It’s definitely very easy to just set aside V-day as another day. Sometimes celebrating with a nice dinner at home, or out is all you need becuase 1-people gotta eat, and 2-might as well eat somewhat fancy to “celebrate an occasion” if you’re up for it.

  3. Kristen says:

    While I appreciate the frugality of staying home and having dinner, someone still has to prepare it and someone still has to clean up. That’s worth the price of dinner alone for a special occasion, so I have to disagree with that one. Go out! Have fun! You can eat at home every other night of the week. Let somebody else wait on you for a change. Doesn’t have to cost a week’s salary.

  4. K Ann says:

    Another great article, thank you. My husband is a great gift giver, thoughtful as well as having a sense of humor. Over the years I’ve gotten some fabulous Valentine’s Day gifts including a diamond engagement ring that had been inserted into the center of a heart shaped cake and frosted over. Of course, I remember that one vividly even considering it was 30 years ago! It’s interesting, though, the one that comes to mind second. We’d been married a few years, didn’t have very much extra money, and had decided together not to exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. Well, my husband went to the drug store and for around $1.69 bought a package of those colorful paper valentines intended for kids to exchange. That little package probably had at least 50 valentines in it and on Valentine’s Day morning I found them signed and posted all over the house. They were everywhere from the bathroom mirror to inside the microwave. I love remembering that morning! You’re so right when you say that being romantic doesn’t have to be expensive. If you really know someone and care about them, there are lots of inexpensive and creative ways to show it.

  5. Aya @ thrive says:

    Good tips! I’ve been struggling with how to put together our valentines day entry…I think your entry is a good one to link to!
    I especially like this one:
    “Consciously agree to save for something.”
    I suppose it’s hard to throw in money saving tips for valentines without sounding cheap or heartless, but something like this is heartfelt one that is really worth considering with a loved one.

  6. Saver Queen says:

    Great suggestions.

    I’m currently compiling suggestions on fun, free things to do with your loved one on valentines day so I may borrow one or two here (I will link back here of course.)

    If anyone has a great tip to share on fun, frugal valentines ideas, please feel free to email me:

    saverqueen – at – gmail – dot – com

    or tweet me: @saverqueen


  7. Shaun says:

    I know I am in the minority, but my wife and I do nothing for Valentine’s day. And I don’t mean “we do something on the 13th instead” nothing. we really treat it like any other day. Why should we have a special love-showing day? Couldn’t we just love each other every day? Wouldn’t an anniversary or some other personally meaningful date be a better time if you want to do these activities?

  8. plonkee says:

    These are great ideas if you are already in a committed relationship. What about the rest of us who are in more of a dating / very early relationship phase? It’s much harder to do frugal when you don’t have many shared experiences to draw on.

  9. DebtFREEk says:

    You have expanded upon your ideas from last year…nicely done.

    Check out my new blog, I’ve got a great post on this same matter.

    Happy V-day everyone!


  10. Craig says:

    Great tips. You don’t need to spend a lot on this day just to have fun with your special one. I personally think it’s bogus, but if you enjoy celebrating, don’t go crazy. I actually have a post about this as well if anyone would like an additional read. http://blog.budgetpulse.com/2009/02/05/money-saving-tips-for-valentines-day/

  11. AD says:

    We’re doing the dinner at home. We talked about going out to eat, but truthfully, we’re foodies and cooks, and anything worthwhile is 45 minutes away. Plus, we’ve done dinner with reservations for V-day and still waited for 1 1/2 hours after our reservation. No thanks.

    So we’re splurging on the ingredients for the meal, and I’ll set an extra-fancy table, and instead of gifts, we’re buying a bottle of Brunello, the end-all and be-all of wine for us, and something we first tried three years ago in Florence.

  12. Eileen says:

    My husband and I have a rule that he will never buy me roses for Valentine’s Day. I think the prices are ridiculous and the roses aren’t usually as fresh as they should be! We always exchange cards and try to do something nice. Usually it’s a nice dinner at home (steak, lobster, etc.) and a nice bottle of wine. I don’t go for the hype of chocolates, jewelry, dinner reservations, flowers, etc. It seems too impersonal and contrived (almost like New Year’s Eve).

  13. Scordo.com says:

    For V-Day I usually head to the market and buy some special foods and cook a nice dinner. The dinner usually includes a nice cut of meat or a piece of wild fish. I often purchase a nice bottle of wine and a small cake for dessert (we usually do not have dessert after dinner).

    In all, the dinner comes to about $45-$50, including the wine. I also make sure to come home a little early from work so that I can spend some time preparing the meal.

    In the end, it’s a wonderful night where we:

    1. Don’t spend lots of money
    2. Have a great meals
    3. Most importantly, have a wonderful conversation

    Happy Valentine’s Day!


  14. Carrie says:

    This one takes a little planning, but it’s worth it: buy (or make) a few valentines, write in your own personal messages, address and stamp the envelopes, slip the cards into a larger envelope, then send the valentines to the postmasters of towns with love-themed names (Loving, CO, Valentine, TX, etc.). Many of them have special postmarks with pictures and poems. The postmaster will then postmark those cards and forward them to your sweetheart. Everyone loves getting mail, and it’s even more fun when the envelope is as fun as the card itself.

  15. DivaJean says:

    It’s also not unromantic to let it be known what you’d like for Valentines Day. (ug- I hate double negatives!)

    Case in point. I want a “Lost” charm bracelet in the worst way. (I envision random “lostie” trinkets like a polar bear charm, maybe picture charms of fave characters- or the numbers, a Dharma initiative like charm, etc). Hubby is going to give me the silver bracelet and let me order the charms to go with it (she doesn’t watch it- she’s a newsie person and will only watch Olberman/Maddow every weeknight!)

    I am making the arrangements for a night out.

  16. Jackie says:

    K Ann, that story about the kids’ cards all over the house is adorable! What a great example of a frugal but tender and definitely romantic way to celebrate.

    We’re doing the dinner at home this year too– we’re going to go through my recipe binders and pick something fantastic and decadent for ourselves, and then have a family movie night with the kids. I love cooking and baking, and there are lots of recipes I’ve clipped and saved for special occasions, so now’s the time!

  17. Karen says:

    Love the post. We are cooking lobsters at home for maybe $40 – way cheaper than going out and we will have more fun relaxing on the patio instead of being pushed out the door for the next seating. I hate the crowds. We try to treat it just like any other day but since it is on a Saturday we decided to splurge just a bit on dinner but no gifts. I might bake some brownies. In my single days, it was just another day or the girls will go out for a drink.

  18. Rob says:

    I go to the craft store and get supplies to make something. You can always google for ideas. You cant get any better than something handmade from someone you love. One year I got pink construction paper. Cut out about 20 small hearts and folded in half. Wrote on each one something different ( Your the prettiest in the world, Your the smartest, etc ) Put them in a small glass bowl I picked up at walmart for about 3 bucks. Every morning she still picks on out, and tells me which she picked. She told me it was the best valentines she ever received. ( Plus she cried )She never received something handmade.And I believe her. Put away your macho B.S. and make her something.

  19. liv says:

    I suppose I neglected to mention that this year, we decided to invite our friends (single or coupled) out to a movie instead of making a big deal of V-day (which from my last comment, is being celebrated the day before). We may also do a morning brunch too.

  20. Melanie says:

    My sweetheart and I started a silly/bad gift tradition last year when his homemade gift for me went awry. He called me during his frustration and said his gift-making wasn’t going so well. I said, “Well then, make the gift as terrible as you possibly can, and I’ll do the same with yours. Let’s make this FUN!” He wrote and recorded a silly-sappy love song waaay off key on purpose and I made him a LOVE Octopus out of pink and red yarn. Then we went out to dinner. I don’t know how we’re going to top that this year, but we’ll have a lot of fun and laughter trying. Without any stress!

  21. Tyler says:

    For V-day, my girlfriend and I love to eat at our favorite cheap-Mexican place and then paint pottery afterwards. The pottery place isn’t exactly cheap, but the couple hours we’re there are really fun. Last year we double-dated the pottery and it was so much fun we’re doing it again this year with a different couple.

  22. Good ideas for going on the cheap for valentine’s day. It is probably my least favorite holiday because of the pressure to buy things. I hate it. I came up with a new idea for valentines day this year:



  23. EngineerMom says:

    My husband and I went on our first date on February 18, so we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. Instead, we do something special for our “dating anniversary”.

    I, too, don’t like the idea of all that time spent cooking and cleaning up afterwards for a fancy stay-at-home meal. One year, rather than go out, I went and bought two nice bottles of wine (hubby and I don’t have the same taste in wine, so one for each of us!), 4 different artisan-type cheses, some fresh fruit, really good bread, and two fancy desserts (slice of cheesecake, slice of chocolate cake, piece of tiramisu… you get the idea).

    We had a picnic supper on hubby’s futon (we were just dating at that point, he was living in a studio), and other than the wine glasses, cutting board, knife for cheses, and forks for desserts, there were no (huge piles of) dishes to clean afterwards!

    To prepare the “mood”, I had put a fire-engine red sheet on the futon and made a big heart on the wall next to the futon with white Christmas lights. My little gift to him was a plain white picture frame decorated with those cheesy little stickers that come with Valentine kits.

    It was a relatively cheap meal, we didn’t have to worry about one of us driving after consuming an entire bottle of wine, and we were free to be completely goofy and watch silly, sappy movies while “snacking” the whole evening!

  24. Adengappa says:

    Well, making love is absolutely free. Me and my husband enjoy multiple rounds of love-making all-day on every Feb-14th, since 1995!! And on V-Day, we are very happy that we don’t have kids ;-)

  25. lee says:

    Okay,I am all for frugality but I am involved in Downtown revitalization. Instead of dinner out (if you really think the restaurant will be crowded), try lunch (at a locally owned, maybe Downtown) spot which offers a value priced alternative. Take a stroll after your meal, have coffee and dessert somewhere and maybe even stop into a specialty shop…you don’t have to buy (and at some point you may need a bday gift idea). Try a matinee theatre(live) production or stop into a museum—broaden your experience and share something new. Variety is the spice of life.

  26. Kira =] says:

    I used to want/expect my husband to do something extravagant for me for Valentine’s Day. After dealing with this for 3 or 4 years he confronted me about it by asking, “Don’t I express my love for you throughout the whole year?” “uh, well, yeah you do.” “Then why does Valentine’s matter so much? I’d rather celebrate everyday in little ways, then just focus on 1 HUGE time only once a year.” Sounded good to me! And since our last child happened to be born on Valentine’s Day, we celebrate our little sweetheart instead. =]

  27. DB Cooper says:

    Thank you, Kira! Valentine’s Day comes and goes and neither my wife nor I notice. It’s just another day – definitely NOT a day to blow money on roses or go out to eat when we’d rather not spend our dimes that way. We don’t “celebrate” this day, sweetest day, or any other Hallmark holiday.

  28. DB Cooper says:

    …By the way, we’ve been married 23 years this coming June…and going strong. So criticize us when you make it that long (more than 50% of you won’t – then you’ll wish you had that flower money back!)

  29. Cyllya says:

    I appreciate the ideas, but more for variety than frugality. What’s this about a dozen roses, chocolates, and dinner out costing so much?! $100?!

  30. Caroline says:

    My Husband is not the romantic guy around (although he surprises me at times). We have done different things – several years we made things for each other (once he hollowed out a tree stump in the shape of a heart for a planter for me.) We have ignored several V-days, had fancy meals at home for some V-days.

    We have bought a new home in the mountains and seldom go out together. Right now I am so into going out to a restaurant we have not been to before, for the experience of it all, and to get out of the house! Plus we hardly ever go out to eat together (yep, I married a homebody)

    But we will go NOT on V-day …. we will go the Thursday before. Avoid the crowds…

  31. Melissa says:

    When hubby and I were dating we would go to McDonalds on V’day. (it’s practically empty…) Last year we went to Steak and Shake and got milkshakes. It’s really all about spending time with your love.
    But I am loving the cheese/wine/fruit idea. Anything that keeps me from washing dishes.

  32. Penny Holder says:

    I would much rather spend time with my hubby than anything else. We do exchange cards but that is all.


  33. Mike Sty says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips and stories. My one-year is coming up on valentine’s day :)

  34. Bad Spender says:

    You gave us some great advice for Valentines day last year, thank you.


  35. Carmen says:

    Love this post! My husband is great at giving thoughtful, often low cost gifts. This past Xmas, he asked me if there was anything I would like. To which I asked for a love letter. Having been together for a long time, including our time at separate universities on opposite sides of the world, he often used to write letters which I loved. And occasionally miss. Whilst he wasn’t thrilled at my gift request (it’s easier to buy one!), my wish was granted. And as you said Trent, whilst it was only a few sentences long, it did indeed melt my heart.

  36. Carmen says:

    I forgot to say that about 5 years ago, hubbie sent me a dozen red roses on Valentines. Whilst I really appreciated the thought, I politely requested that he not do that again, since I hate the fact that florists hugely inflate their prices for this one day! £60/$90 on roses; what a waste!

  37. Solid post– Doing is always better and more meaningful than buying.

  38. Lenore says:

    Thanks for the TICKETS suggestion! My sweetie and I go to movies all the time, but we rarely see a live performance of any kind. I’m going to find a concert or play we’ll both like in March or beyond and tuck the tickets or a description of the event (if I need time to save up) into his Valentine. I’m sure we’ll go eat somewhere nice the 13th or 15th, and this will give us something special to discuss and look forward to.

    I don’t care whether it’s one rose or a dozen carnations, all women like and deserve flowers for Valentine’s Day. Lots of guys enjoy them too! Aldi’s is the absolute cheapest source for roses, but also check Wal-Mart, gas stations and open air markets. If you don’t like the wrapping they come in (clear plastic is kind of tacky), get some tissue paper and ribbon from a dollar store and tuck in a small card. I just thought up layering pink, white and red tissue paper for a really distinctive presentation, but green and white are classic. The key is not shopping at fancy floral shops or big grocery chains where every other lemming goes.

  39. Battra92 says:

    I am single (whoo hoo! :) ) so I’m not spending a dime. Oh, I may go out and do any other Saturday activity but it depends on the weather.

    Us single people have it rough that day. We’re either supposed to be in a relationship, finding love or being a blubbering self pitying idiot. Various “self help” sites or counselors tell us we should go out and do something special for ourselves but that just leads to impulse spending and the like.

    I’ve only gotten 1, yes count them, ONE Valentine in my life and we broke up the next week so Valentine’s day and relationships and all that fake lovey-dovey stuff always makes me rather ill. I raise a toast to those like DB Cooper, Kira et. all who reject the stupidity of Valentine’s Day.

    Now can we have a frugal Mother’s Day? ;)

  40. I certainly don’t think V-day is a necessity, and I know it’s a Hallmark holiday, but my husband and I have a lot of fun celebrating it anyways. And of course, we do tell each other that we love each other every single other day of the year(we’re on year 13 here).

    I do a “14 Days of Valentine’s” for my husband, which he LOVES. Every day from February 1-14th, I have a small surprise for him, ranging from a chocolate treat, to a t-shirt, to a CD, to a favorite meal that I rarely make, to umentionables. ;) Nothing is terribly expensive, but I have a lot of fun planning the surprises, and he really enjoys being on the receiving end.

    I do agree with the idea that it’s much better to have love all year round than some big bash once a year. I’ve seen relationships where the husband treats the wife like crap all year and then sends a dozen roses on V-day. No thanks.

    In our case, though, it’s a both/and kind of thing…we’re nice to each other all year and we do something extra special for each other in February(because we want to, not because either of us pressure the other into it).

    I think that was my longest comment ever. Sorry. =P

  41. partgypsy says:

    I HATE getting roses for Valentine’s day because the prices are so inflated (though I don’t mind getting them the following day when they are 50% off : )). Hubby and I are going out to eat this Saturday for Valentine’s day. We have two little ones that we dearly love, but a dinner at home while nice is NOT romantic for us. Since we rarely use a sitter it is a big treat to have some one-on-one time to ourselves.

  42. Anna says:

    The first year I was with my boyfriend he joked about taking me to McDonalds for Valentine’s Day and than said that no he had planned to make reservations somewhere nice. I laughed and said I would much rather have McDonalds, 4 years later we are still planning on doing McDonalds for Valentine’s Day. We always get it to go and sit on the couch with candlelight, no expensive meals, no messy clean ups and candlelight always makes every meal feel special.

  43. Wendybird74 says:

    As someone who used to work in the floral industry, I applaud all of you who do NOT do roses. The roses are (as said above) inflated in price and probably old (since the florists are ordering in extreme bulk for the week leading up to V-day)
    Tulips are usually very plentiful and rather cheap this time of year, so if your spouse expects flowers (or for those in the dating scene)they are definitely a less expensive, non-tacky (sorry but carnations are tacky) floral gift.
    I love the fish bowl with heart messages idea Rob! That is my idea of a perfect Valentine gift….and no dish washing required! :)

  44. EngineerMom says:

    To all the singles out there:

    I was single on Valentine’s Day all the way through high school, college, and for 3 years after college. In high school, it wasn’t a big deal. In college, it wasn’t a big deal, either, because I was introduced to a great tradition:

    On or near V-day, the guys in our group of friends would get together and cook a nice dinner (salad, main course – usually pasta, and dessert) for the gals in our group. During the cooking and in between courses, some of the guys would entertain us – usually with a 3- or 4-part skit that they had written themselves. One year, all the guys who played an instrument, knew how to sing, or could read a poem just gave us a little mini-performance instead of the skit. The songs, poems, etc., were directed at ALL of the gals, not just one or two.

    The point was to show affection and appreciation to all women, not just the one you happened to be involved in at the time.

    We tried to get them to let us reciprocate one year, but to no avail. Apparently the guys enjoyed the whole planning, cooking, and entertaining process too much!

    After college, I started my own tradition of celebrating “Singles Awareness Day” by sending a personal letter to one of my single friends letting that person know how much I appreciated his/her presence in my life. That was a tradition I ended up continuing even after getting engaged/married because the single friends appreciated it so much!

    Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a painful or embarrassing experience. Use the opportunity to do something nice for ANYONE in your life – parents, siblings, friends, etc.

    The holiday is supposed to celebrate the saint of Love, not just romantic love!

  45. stephanie says:

    This year I’m spending more than usual, but for good reason. My SO loves to swim, but that’s impossible during the cold months here. I booked a hotel for Saturday night (this weekend, since we’re both off work, rather than on Valentine’s Day). It was $70 (including tax, and after discounts), but the hotel has an heated indoor pool and hot tub. Since neither of us are working, I think we will check in during the late afternoon or early evening, and swim to our hearts’ content. Then we’ll just hang out, watch movies, and spend time together. The hotel is in my town, so we can bring food from home (the room has a mini-fridge and microwave) or just head back to my place for dinner if we want. The price is more than I originally intended to spend, but since we will get there early on Saturday and don’t have to check out until Sunday at 11, I think the per hour rate is more than justified. :)

  46. MB says:

    My husband and I will probably do homemade cheesburgers, which is a meal that we love, and then go to a friend’s annual Valentine’s day zombie movie party. I’m not crazy about zombie movies, but my husband likes them, and this is an old tradition among his friends. I can tolerate the zombies for one day a year.

    I honestly don’t know how I would react if he gave me flowers. That’s not how our relationship works at all. I would much prefer getting a pineapple or something in he was feeling botanically inclined.

  47. Sheri says:

    I’m with Shaun, DBCooper and anybody else who doesn’t celebrate valentine’s day. Though I keep having to reassure him every year, hubby still gets nervous when he hears those radio ads that have one guy saying to the other: “Dude, you got it wrong. When she says she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, it means she really does.” Those ads burn my butt. They make women sound like conniving liars, and they guilt men into spending a lot of money. And anyway, Saint Valentine was martyr who was beaten to death with clubs when after he tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. ROMANTIC, huh?

  48. KoryO says:

    Sheri, you know perfectly well that is not the reason that St Valentine is associated with romance. If you don’t want to celebrate the story, fine, but no reason to go out of your way to rain on those people who do want to celebrate it.

  49. Eve says:

    This year I will be my second Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend and future husband. I plan to wake him up with banana pancakes, give him a box of homemade caramel-filled milk chocolate hearts and make him his favorite dinner. None of this is difficult or expensive to make and it’s everything he loves. Definitely more meaningful than anything store-bought!

  50. Battra92 says:

    Sheri, a lot of women are conniving liars. Of course a lot of men are as well. :P

    Also KoryO, you might want to look into the history of Valentine’s Day. It’s really a day honoring the she-wolf that Romulus and Remus were supposedly raised by. It may have been turned into a day of forced romance by a made up story (even the Vatican denies that there is any proof to the story and has since 1969)

    EngineerMom, he was also the patron saint of plague, epileptics and Beekeepers. Maybe we should have an excuse to eat some honey. Nothing like fresh honey. :)

  51. BigMike82 says:

    All holidays are marketing ploys to “force” people into buying things they really don’t need. My fiancee (wife in 2 months) both agree that there isn’t just one day in the whole year where you can express your love for one another. I like these simple ideas that say, “hey, do something you normally wouldn’t do for eachother.” That’s Love! Cook a meal, drink some wine, cheap and easy, and sure as hell says, “I love you,” more than a $250 meal and a bunch of roses that will welt in 2 days.

    As for the day itself, yea, it is a lot of pressure for men, especially with all the dumb marketing that goes on that essentially spells out that if you don’t spend a certain amount of money on this woman, you really don’t love her.

  52. Jen says:

    @Melissa: Steak and Shake milkshakes sound like an excellent idea. (Hee hee, you could get one side-by-side shake with two straws if you wanted to be goofy about it!) Sadly, I now live in Chicago where S&S does not seem to exist…for someone who went to college in Normal, IL, the birthplace of Steak & Shake, this is unfortunate. :-)

  53. Jen says:

    Ok, I stand somewhat corrected: there is a Steak n Shake (official spelling) in Evanston, and it’s even accessible by public transportation! Woohoo!

  54. KoryO says:

    Battra, I guess you are talking about Lupercalia, right?

    There’s also some debate as to the extent that Chaucer more or less started the whole idea of February 14 being associated with romance, since he insisted that was the day that birds paired off (and it just happened to be one of the seven or so St Valentine’s Days on the Catholic calendar at the time.) It kinda makes me laugh to hear about this whole “Hallmark Card forced holiday” thing, since the first valentines date back to the fifteenth century.

    Yep, I know about the background of the day, more or less, since I had to do a report on it for my catechism class. I just didn’t think Sheri had to include that snide little last point in her otherwise intelligent comment.

    Gotta agree with you on the fresh honey thing, though….or tupelo honey if you can get it.

  55. Steph says:

    Great ideas! This year my honey and I are doing a “day off”, just like you suggested. Our birthdays also fall very close to Valentine’s Day so everything just gets rolled together.

  56. valletta says:

    Love the article.
    As a happily married woman (19 years of bliss:) I can attest to the fact that, especially on VDay, creativity matters.

    There is nothing I hate more than red roses. Ugh! They always remind me of the Addams Family (YMMV)
    Homemade Valentine, homecooked dinner (my husband is a chef so that’s kind of cheating), a day at the beach or a long hike are my favorite Vday activities.

  57. Melissa says:

    @Jen… that’s crazy that Chicago doesn’t have a S&S! Champaign has 2 that I know of!

  58. almost there says:

    I’m glad I got the roses on the 1st at $14.99/dozen. They are now up to $34.99, same roses, same florist. So, $85 more a week later. Whata markup!

  59. John says:

    Roses and dinner. Wow, how thought consuming. How original. Must have taken taken people the other 364 days to think of that one. Make you other half something. Rob is right. A handmade gift is way better than an unoriginal carbon copy of the masses.

    I say a relationship needs to be thoughtfull and completly unselfish to last.

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