10 February 2013

Valentine's Day: Simple Loving

So I am feeling brave and I want to do something different for my sweetheart this Valentine's Day. How do I get off the beaten-track that we have been brainwashed to think is the best way to celebrate Valentine's Day? Do I have to turn my back on red roses and high-calorie candy?

The good news is that a love communication can be simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't need to take weeks of preparation to give your gift or expression of love its value. You don't have to lose the red roses and the chocolate, but you don't have to include these.

Remember when you made those cute homemade cards as a kid? It's amazing what a box of crayons, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, and some card can evolve into. Yes, your expression of love can be as simple as a homemade card with “I love you” in it. And no, you don't need to be a great artist to pull this off. Stop thinking about what you can't do, and focus on what you can do. Think "ransom note" - you've seen them in the movies: mysterious messages created by the old fashioned "cut and paste" method. Grab an old magazine or newspaper and cut out letters or words that can be assembled into your own special love message.

Not in the mood to cut and paste? What about a love letter written by hand (complete with spelling errors and ink splotches). Or add a little old world charm and write your love note on a new handkerchief using permanent ink. (For those readers who are too young to know what a handkerchief is: a small square of soft absorbent material, such as linen, silk, or cotton, carried and used to wipe the nose or eyes.) For added sweetness, wrap the handkerchief letter around your sweetheart's favorite candy bar.

Need more of a challenge? Your love communication can be as sophisticated as treasure hunt complete with a map and hidden clues. Have the hunt lead your partner to a special place instead of an object, and use the destination as a venue for a special meal, or quiet time together.

Fortunate enough to live in a warm, northern zone or the southern hemisphere (which is enjoying summer right now)? Then pack a picnic basket and enjoy lunch in the park or at the beach. No time for lunch? Trade dinner in a restaurant for a picnic under the stars. And keep the picnic simple: fruit, fresh bread, cheese, bottles of water, and something sweet for dessert. And even if you don't live where an outdoor picnic would work well (three feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures can take some of the fun out it), a picnic can still bring a little romance into your day. Just move you picnic indoors: put your blanket out on the living room floor, light some candles, and unpack your picnic basket. You'll be ready for your first Valentine's "carpet picnic" - perhaps the start of an annual tradition.
Use your imagination. Your gift can be as simple as a walk on the beach, sharing a favorite dessert with your spouse while you cuddle in bed, a cup of coffee at the cafe where you first met, or an extra cookie wrapped in a love note and hidden in the lunchbox. The thought of celebrating Valentine's Day with your loved one shouldn't intimidate you. You don't need to worry whether your gift will be good enough, or whether it will be reciprocated. Banish the anxiety of gift-giving, and choose to love simply. Valentine's Day is just one more opportunity to remind your spouse that they are the love of your life.


  1. Anonymous11/2/13 10:12

    The treasure hunt idea got my attention. I don't think I could pull that off for this Valentines Day - maybe next one? It sounds like it would take quite a bit of planning.

  2. It does take some planning, but you will enjoy the planning at least as much as your spouse will enjoy the hunt. Have fun with it!

  3. Anonymous12/2/13 06:08

    We attend Holy Mass on Valentine's Day; our oldest son generally serves weekday Mass especially if it is the early "crack-of-dawn" Mass (which frequently is the only one we can all get to together as a complete family). The cookies and goodies are for the children; we are at a point in life where we need to be honest with ourselves and realize that goodies are just not in keeping with the needs of our waistlines. Mine in particular, since pregnancy is a way of life for me -- and a joyous way of life! but one that comes with its challenges in the glucose level and weight departments.

    Renewal of marriage vows is also a great tradition to start.

    I have a post on my blog with some ideas about Valentine's Day as well, and some suggestions with emphasis on today's culture for any who are interested.

    1. Attending a church service as a couple or a family and renewing marriage vows are great ideas, Mom in the Shoe. Thanks for sharing them.