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Valentine’s Day. It’s a day dreaded by many. Not just those who will be celebrating the holiday newly single or for the eighth year in a row without a significant other. It’s another stressful holiday for those in relationships, too. Sure, the rich and famous can rent a villa in Marbella and pamper their significant other with white sand beaches and fancy food. But if you’re on a more limited budget, it can feel impossible to live up to the hype this holiday creates.
These are eight unique Valentine’s Day ideas to spark the love without emptying your wallet.
Say “cheers” over a bonfire.
Date ideas are hard enough to create on an average day of the week, and Valentine’s Day forces you to up the ante. However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on a five-star restaurant. Instead, head to the beach or into the woods and make a bonfire. You can bring a bottle of wine (or beer if that’s more your style), and cheers to a happy Valentine’s Day together. Bonus points if you bring a meal to heat over the campfire or s'mores.
Travel someplace new.
Whether it involves looking for last-minute flights or simply booking a hotel in a nearby town, getting away can be the perfect way to create a romantic day or even a whole weekend. If you’ve been together a long time, you’ve probably tackled all of your favorite restaurants in town and have been to the movie theater more times than you can count. If your budget allows, check out last-minute flight deals and head somewhere entirely new for a long weekend. And if you’re on a tighter budget, consider a simpler getaway like a historic hotel just a couple hours away or an Airbnb in a neighboring town.
Get cheap seats at a sporting event.
Not all women want to be pampered with champagne and flowers on Valentine’s Day. Some want popcorn, hot dogs, and an extra large beer, and the best place to find those things is at a sporting event. If you live in a major city, it can be easy to find tickets to a professional hockey or basketball game. But even smaller cities and towns have amateur or college hockey and basketball games, which can be just as much fun for couples.
Cook something new.
The idea of cooking a nice dinner at home isn’t an entirely new Valentine’s Day concept. However, you may want to forego your usually fancy offerings of surf and turf or your go-to pasta dish. This Valentine’s Day, why not try to create an entirely new dish together? Try making your favorite Indian dish from scratch, roll your own sushi, or attempt a spicy Thai green curry. Think of something you both enjoy eating but have never attempted to make, head to the store together and create an entire evening of it. If the meals ends up being a failure, you can always head to the restaurant and let the pros do it for you.
Recreate your first date.
It may sound cheesy, but this one is guaranteed to score points with your significant other. Recreating the day you first met—which was likely a special day for both of you—is an excellent way to remember how you came to be together and why you’re still together now. Head to the first restaurant you tried together, or if you met at the bar, head there for drinks before or after a special dinner. The night you met may have seemed meaningless at the time, but recreating it is a surefire way to ensure you both appreciate it more than ever.
Try a new daytime activity.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about dinner, the movies, and nighttime events. You can celebrate this special day long before the sun has set. In fact, the daytime is ideal for making new memories both of you can cherish for years to come. So this Valentine’s Day, hike a new trail, try rock climbing for the first time, take a dance lesson, go strawberry picking—do something both of you have never done before.
Stay in bed all day.
It’s time to call your boss because you’re going to need February 14th off of work this year. Sometimes a romantic Valentine’s Day means doing absolutely nothing at all. Use this as a day to stay in bed all day, order delivery, turn off your phones, and enjoy each other's company to the fullest. Most importantly—don’t even think about putting clothes on.
Hangout with friends.
It seems like a requirement that Valentine’s Day is spent only with your significant other. However, there are no written rules, and if you want to hangout with friends, there’s no reason not to. Head out on a double or triple date, or invite all of your besties out for dinner, a movie, a night on the town, or anything in between. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating friendship and your special love at the same time, and your single friends will thank you for including them in something exciting on this otherwise boring night.
Every year, Valentine’s Day causes unnecessary stress for men and women who are single, in relationships, married, and everything in between. This February 14th you can push the stress aside and have a truly enjoyable holiday with one of the eight unique ideas above. So push all of the stigma and rules aside, and experience Valentine’s Day in whatever way you want to this year.