Tips for a Successful Valentine's Day

Valentines Day Couple

Valentine's Day is supposed to be a day of romance, but it's often a stressful time instead. Flowers are expensive and restaurants are booked solid. You might feel you have to live up to your partner's expectations. Or, if you just started dating, you might not be sure if anything's expected at all. Fortunately, there are alternatives to the Valentine's Day frenzy. Whether you're single, dating or celebrating your 50th anniversary, you can make it an enchanting day.

Valentine's Flowers

Anyone who's ever tried to send roses on Valentine's Day knows that the florists raise their prices on February 14. The roses are sometimes of poorer quality too because so many must be shipped at once. How to get around the Valentine's Day rush? Here are some ideas:

  • Send flowers early. Have roses delivered before the Valentine's Day prices kick in. Just make sure you have something special planned for the actual day, too, so your partner won't think saving money was your top priority.
  • Choose just a few stems. Two or three flowers, along with some pretty greenery, can be a lovely gesture. If money is tight, stop by your local florist and pick out just a couple of roses.
  • Be your own delivery person. Instead of paying big bucks to have the florist deliver roses, don your best suit, prettiest dress, or sexiest outfit and do the job yourself. The personal touch just might mean more to your date than the extra money spent to have them delivered.

Couples Valentine's Day Traditions

Some couples have long-standing traditions for Valentine's Day, like returning to the restaurant where they got engaged. Other couples are less naturally romantic. What can you do to show your love if romantic ideas don't come easily?

  • Do something your partner has always wanted to try. Give your wife a gift certificate for the snowboard lessons she's always joked about. Surprise your husband with a DVD you'd normally refuse to watch.
  • Write your partner a letter. People often forget to tell their loved ones how much they're appreciated. Write a heartfelt note, even if it's only a page, and tell your partner how wonderful he or she is.
  • Do something you haven't done in ages. Did you once love to salsa dance together? When you first met, did one of you love to cook? Recreate a happy memory together.

New Relationships and Valentine's Day

When you've just started dating, Valentine's Day can be tough. How many dates constitute a "relationship"? If you've only been out a few times, can you expect him to send flowers? Is she going to be mad if you don't plan a romantic evening? In a new relationship, there are only three ways to deal with the Valentine's challenge:

  • Ignore it. This makes it clear that you don't consider it a relationship yet. When both people are on the same page, ignoring the day is a great way out. How can you celebrate love when you're not even sure how much you like each other? The pitfalls: If the other person did consider it a relationship, they're going to be hurt and angry. Ignoring Valentine's Day can make you look callous and commitment-phobic.
  • Talk about it. If you bring it up, you might find that you both feel the same way about the day. Maybe you were both secretly hoping the other wanted to celebrate or to skip it. The pitfalls: Talking about Valentine's Day can expose inequalities in your approaches to the relationship. A casual dating situation can get heavy pretty fast if a Valentine's Day conversation leads to talking about deeper feelings.
  • Go for it. It's just a silly holiday, after all. Make romantic plans, give flowers, have a wonderful time. Roses and romance don't have to mean you're getting married! The pitfalls: Making too big an effort can give the other person the wrong idea. Make sure you don't do or say anything you'll want to take back later.

Single Valentines

Being single on February 14 can be depressing. What if you're the only woman in the office that doesn't get flowers, or the only man who doesn't have a date that night? Luckily, singles can have fun on Valentine's Day, too.

  • Attend an event. Bars and clubs are starting to have parties just for singles on February 14. Grab another single friend and go check out the possibilities.
  • Throw a party. Make it "singles only." Rent romantic tear-jerker movies and pass around a box of tissues. Serve pink champagne and cupcakes with hearts on them, or create a silly ritual for the day. Have everyone bring a photo of someone they're glad they're not dating anymore and destroy the pictures together.
  • Celebrate yourself. The best way to attract love is to feel good about your own life. Cook a delicious dinner or get takeout from your favorite place. Take the night off and read a favorite book, curl up in front of the TV, or do whatever else you like. Hey, you can even buy yourself some roses.
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Tips for a Successful Valentine's Day