Valentine's Day Alternatives for the Too-Tired-to-Celebrate
Real-Life Valentine’s Day
What has happened to Valentine’s Day? I seem to remember—though it may be from a previous life—it being a day when my husband and I would go to dinner, maybe even a late movie. And let’s not forget … there were gifts! My favorite: the biggest chocolate-covered strawberries you could imagine from a well-known local chocolate store.
Nowadays, however, the holiday seems to come and go without fanfare (or strawberries). First, I’m too tired to celebrate. Second, just the sight of the latest trend in Valentine’s Day attire in the window of Victoria’s Secret puts me in a panic to get on the treadmill that I neither own nor have time to use.
I would like to propose some new Valentine’s Day traditions for couples who are too tired to make it through a late-night movie, too frazzled to remember to water the bouquet that might arrive, and/or too uncomfortable at this point in their lives to don a see-through pair of thong underwear.
Have Good Food, Will Watch Anything
Go with your spouse to the movie rental store and split up. Each of you can pick out whatever movie you would like to see, but you must agree that you will each willingly watch each other’s selection together. Order your favorite meal via take-out. Curl up in front of your movies—better yet, in front of your movies and in bed, and enjoy an evening filled with food and storylines that have nothing to do with Barney or Spaghettios.
I truly believe that at some point, you have to stop waiting for others to fulfill your every desire. If you’ve been waiting for years for the “little blue box” (and I think you all know to which “little blue box” I’m referring), start saving to buy yourself the most inexpensive thing you can find in that store, have it wrapped, and “surprise” yourself! It’s so important to remind yourself how important you are to you.
I informed my husband last week that this year for the big V-Day, he would be giving me the gift of highlights. We live in Chicago, it’s going to be grey for the next two months, and darn it, I need some brightness in my hair, if nowhere else! Drop some subtle—or not so subtle—hints to your husband as to gifts you would truly appreciate: a manicure, a massage, or maybe even a cleaning service, which leads me to my next suggestion…
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Agree to spend money you might have allocated for each other’s gifts this Valentine’s Day on something that will make your life easier for at least one week. Hire someone to clean your bathrooms and dust your shelves. Hire a sitter for a day and meet girlfriends for lunch and shopping—or go by yourself and enjoy some quiet alone time.
Present your husband with a list of five tasks you’ve been asking him to complete, but have yet to be accomplished. Ask him to complete them—or hire someone to do so—by the end of Valentine’s Day week. This might sound boring, but any woman who has been asking her husband to complete this and that around the house seemingly for years knows what a wonderful gift it would be to actually check them off the list. Your husband may complain that with this type of gift request, you are turning Valentine’s Day into a women-only occasion, but truly, what better aphrodisiac is there than your husband arranging to have some of your daily work taken off of your plate (or finally completing some of his own)? Mention this fact, and I can just about guarantee he’ll be scouring the yellow pages in search of a good cleaning or handyman service.
Write a Love Letter
Handwritten letters have all but disappeared. With the onset of email, fax machines, and cell phones, who needs to write anyone a letter, let alone has time to do so? Make an agreement with your spouse that you will each write the other a letter as your Valentine’s Day gift. Focus on thanking each other for the things each of you does, and on how far you’ve come in your life together. The best parts about this gift: it’s free and it will last forever.
Mark Twain once said, “No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.” At one end of the spectrum, perfect love may be represented by a romantic meal, a sleepless night, and a lot of lace. At the other end, a letter of validation and a clean house may have greater meaning. Neither extreme is right or wrong—it’s all about what works for you on any given Valentine’s Day—but this year, I say bring on the stationery and the cleaning lady!
Cook an “Interesting” Meal Together
A fun idea I learned about from my friend, Barb, is to order a unique dinner that you and your spouse can cook together. Barb and her husband are ordering a Lobster Gram this year. The company ships packages of ocean-fresh, live Maine lobster to arrive the day you wish to cook them. The Lobster Gram dinner for two includes two live Maine lobsters (you select the size), two shell crackers and seafood forks, two Lobster Gram bibs and moist towelettes, fresh whole lemon and butter, and a Lobster Gram cooking manual. If you aren’t a lobster fan, the company also offers a variety of Surf and Turf options as well as Gourmet Steaks and other seafood choices.
Sometimes, it can be daunting to think that we always have to celebrate Valentine’s Day as if we’re a newly dating couple. As couples journey through the years, tougher times, diapers, and tantrums together, perhaps a more appropriate way to spend the holiday now and then is by celebrating how comfortable they have become with one another. Should you so desire, you should absolutely head out to dinner and a movie together. Stop in to Victoria’s Secret if you’re so inclined. But know that there are other, equally romantic (and practical) options should this sort of celebration not float your proverbial boat this year.
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