The first time Brad and I celebrated Valentine’s together he basically did all of the work. We made reservations at a nice restaurant, he arrived with a dozen red roses and later gave me an iPod. While it was all very nice and memorable, I think we’ve had just as good, if not better, Valentine’s Days and spent less.
To me, it’s all about the small things that make the day complete. One of the sweetest things Brad ever did on Valentine’s was make me a homemade card while he was recovering from laser eye surgery. It was crafted out of construction paper, had a cute little rhyming poem and he had made illustrations of his bloodshot eyes.
Giving your lady (or man) a good Valentine’s Day requires much thought, but it doesn’t mean spending lots of money necessarily. I’m a big lover of all things handmade since they require thought and are quite endearing. Whenever I’m looking for inspiration I visit Martha Stewart’s website, which usually never fails me. This year was no different. I found a cute little card that required 3-D glasses to read the secret message on the front. Perfect for my geeky little love bug. There are also tons of great homemade gift ideas on there, such as the love note wrapped chocolate bar and the candy and tulip bouquet.
We decided to make supper together this year, which can be quite a fun stay at home option. You can skip the overcrowded, overpriced restaurants and kick back at home, dressed however you like. We made a heart shaped pizza from scratch using the Crusty Pizza Dough recipe that came with my Kitchenaid mixer. We also made these delicious homemade Hershey Kisses we found over at Bakerella’s website. They look so impressive and cute, but are so easy and cheap to make. Our whole supper cost less than $20!
If I could do it again, I’d probably just make supper or dessert together, not both. By the end of the night we were both pretty exhausted from being in the kitchen. If you’re a super busy couple, making supper together will probably only frustrate you. Luckily, Boston Pizza has heart shaped pizzas during Valentine’s Day and Cold Stone Creamery has heart shaped ice cream cakes, among other love inspired treats.
Our first Valentine’s Day together was just short of a disaster. The expensive restaurant gave us panic attacks, the gift I gave her was a dud in the long term (though she was excited when she opened it), and my wallet was screaming for mercy. Lesson learned. Since then we’ve decided to do one of two things.
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day the weekend before or after February 14th. The flowers are WAY cheaper, the restaurants aren’t insanely full, and we both enjoy ourselves much more.
- Throw the typical things you’re supposed to do out the window and just make Valentine’s Day whatever we want it to be.
This year we went with the second option. It was very low key and inexpensive, which was great. We had just come back from vacation so we weren’t looking to spend a lot more money. The idea was this: take all the things people usually do on the big day, and do it DIY style.
Dinner at a fancy restaurant = make dinner together
Giving a box of chocolates = make our own chocolates
Spend $50 to go to the theatre = watch a movie at home
You get the idea.
Making dinner together was interesting. We have an incredibly small kitchen, so it isn’t conducive to more than one person at a time. We made it work though, and our heart shaped pizza turned out great. We also included Himmery (our cat) in the festivities by giving him some wet food, which he loves. For dessert we made homemade (giant) Hershey Kisses. They were really easy, which is obvious since I helped make them, and they tasted great. My only complaint about making dinner together was that I felt like I was in the way more than I was helping. Susan can make an awesome homemade pizza in her sleep, so throwing me into the mix didn’t make her life any easier. We made it work though.
One thing we do a little differently on Valentine’s Day is we make sure it’s not just about one of us. Yes, I make an effort to make Susan feel extra special on that day, but she doesn’t leave me out in the cold. She usually buys me a little gift, and we both have a hand in choosing what we do each year. I think it really helps keep it fun for both of us.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you do for Valentine’s Day, as long as you and the person you’re with have fun. If going all out and spending a ton of money is your thing, go for it. If not, there is no shame in enjoying an inexpensive evening at home.
Finally, if you haven’t entered our Valentine’s Day Giveaway, check it out and enter before the deadline.