Whether you love Valentine’s Day or not, it’s only a week away. How it’s already the sixth of February is beyond me. I feel like when I became a mom, time started moving in hyper speed. My son is about to be nine months old, and the end of my maternity leave is fast approaching. Someone get me a pause button. I’m not ready to go back! I still have until the end of April so I really should count my blessings. I know that we are very fortunate in Canada for being able to take a full year off with our babies. Actually, make that eighteen months now! Unfortunately, that came into effect after I had my son so I wasn’t able to consider it as an option, and we probably couldn’t have afforded it anyways, but I digress. The point is, even though it feels like Christmas was yesterday, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Now, in my opinion, it tops the list of most cheesy, Hallmark-type holidays there is. It’s filled with consumerism and tacky heart-shaped everything that can leave your wallet looking empty. For these reasons alone, so many people refuse to celebrate, arguing that they don’t need just one specific day to show their significant other how much they love them. While I agree with this, I’m also one of those people who embraces a little bit of cheese every now and then. Okay, maybe a lot. I don’t see anything wrong with showing a little extra love on the 14th, so long as you’re not forgetting about the other 364 days in the year. Actually, make that 360 or so days, because let’s face it, there’s your marriage anniversary, your dating anniversary (yes, we celebrate ours… I said I like cheese!), your partner’s birthday, and whatever other holiday is important in your relationship. Or maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t celebrate any of that, because screw commercialism! Well, the great thing about these ideas is that they aren’t specific to Valentine’s Day at all. You can work them into any ole’ day when you just feel like showing your other half you care.
- Let them sleep in
If you have a tiny human you know how precious sleep is. Get up with the baby and let your significant other enjoy dream land for a little while longer. If you don’t have a child, sleep in together.
- Start a letter book
I’ve been with my husband since the ninth grade. Even though we are high school sweethearts, we went to different schools, so we didn’t see each other every day. To keep our letters in one organized place, we started writing them in a note book and passing it back and forth each time we would see each other. I’m not sure what originally sparked the idea, but I think it had something to do with having letters folded up into origami squares all over our bedrooms. Sometimes we filled the pages with wordy letters, and other times it was just little notes or pictures. That trend only lasted a few years during our teens and then we abandoned the idea. Probably because we started seeing each other a lot more once we could drive. Recently, however, I restarted it. I bought a simple notebook at the dollar store, wrote him a letter, and left it on the counter for him to read before work the next morning. He wrote one back. We definitely don’t write in it as often as we did in high school, but it’s still just as exciting to get a note, and it’s fun to look back through the pages.
- Cook them their favorite meal
What’s better than food you love? Food you love prepared by someone else.
- Sneak a Polaroid picture into their lunch box / purse / wallet
Okay, this doesn’t actually have to be a Polaroid picture. You can just as easily print off a wallet-sized photo on your printer and sneak it into something you know they’re going to open that day. What type of picture you put in is up to you, but I would keep it PG if they’ll be opening it at work (or not, whatever floats your boat). I actually do this with pictures of our son. I know how much he misses him at work all day, so I will randomly snap a photo of him with my Instax Mini instant camera and stick it in his lunch box. He always comments about how happy it makes him, and in a primarily digital world, there’s just something special about a real, printed picture.
- Send them the link to a song that made you think of them
Speaking of digital, hear a song you love that you think they’d also love? Share it with them!
- Do something to ease their workload
Bring their car for a car wash, clean the interior, fill it with gas, brush the snow off in the morning, make their lunch, make that call they’ve been putting off, clean the house, pick up some groceries, pay the bills, take the baby out so they can have some time to themselves, ect. The list goes on and on. I’m sure there’s something your partner could use help with that you could do to lighten their load. My husband leaves for work pretty early in the morning which doesn’t leave him with a lot of time to get his stuff together, unless he wants to wake up at 5 am, which I know he doesn’t. So, sometimes when I feel like spreading the love, I will make his lunch the night before so that he doesn’t have to do it in the morning (yes, he could be making it at night every night but he won’t, so be it).
- Show interest in a hobby of theirs
This doesn’t mean you have to love it too, but spending an hour or two with your partner doing something their passionate about is a sacrifice that will let them know you care about their interests. This could also mean watching a movie of their choice, even if it’s something you would never watch.
- Pick up their favorite treat while out shopping
It doesn’t have to be much. Just a little something to say “hey, I was at such and such a place and picked this up for you because I know you love it”. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness show the most love. For example, my husband’s favorite chocolate bar is Kit Kat so I’ll often pick one up for him when I’m out doing groceries or if I have to run to the dollar store for something. It’s such an inexpensive way to let him know I was thinking about him.
- Organize a mini home spa
Spend the evening pampering your spouse. Pour them a bath, light some candles, and give them a massage.
- Make a homemade card
Let’s be honest, where do all of those expensive-for-nothing store bought cards end up? The trash. Or maybe you keep them, in that case, kudos to you. Make it more meaningful by utilizing your creativity to make one yourself. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Some card stock, stickers, and a few pictures is all you really need. Personalize it to suit your recipient.
- Put together a photo album
Again, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, unless you want it to be. A lot of places have machines where you can develop pictures yourself in a matter of minutes. Put together some photos of you and your other half on a USB, print them off, and put them in an album. Any dollar store has some so it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. I once did this as a replacement for a card for an anniversary we had. I just wrote on the inside cover of the album instead.
So there you have it! Any one of these ideas can show your loved one that you care without ever saying “I love you” out loud. For one giant, love-filled day, try doing all of these things together! Kidding of course, but it’s a thought. Whether you embrace the occasion or carry on life as usual, I hope you feel loved in some way this upcoming Valentine’s Day.