Worried about having to spend a fortune this Valentine’s Day? You have two options: (1) become single, or (2) realise that, as J-Lo said, love don’t cost a thing.
Valentine’s Day can be as commercial (aka costly) as you want to make it. But really it’s not the size of your Valentine’s Day card that matters, but more the time and thought that has gone into the day. If you dismiss Valentine’s Day because, for your partner, every day is Valentine’s Day, great. If not, then if you can’t make an effort on Valentine’s Day, when can you?
This year, it falls on a Tuesday, so those who work are likely to be, well, working, but you can always set aside the weekend to celebrate love. Maybe make it an entire week of romance! Here are some suggestions of what you can do, all of which are free!
1) Build up the romance
Think of love as being like a fire. You don’t want it so strong one day that the house burns down and then you freeze the rest of the time, so how about lighting the match early and gradually turning up the heat? In the week leading up to the day itself, leave messages of love around the house. In the steam on the mirror. Using the magnets on the fridge. A note in their lunch. By the time Valentine’s Day is here, the fire will be burning strong.
2) Go for a forest walk
To me, this oozes romance. The two of you, holding hands, strolling carelessly through the trees, birds singing, sun shining, simply enjoying each other’s company. Use the Woodland Trust tool to find a forest near you and have a romantic stroll (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/map/).
3) Cook a romantic dinner
I know it costs money to cook, but you’d be eating anyway, right? Just make it more romantic with candles, the telly off and a romantic CD setting the mood. Show that you know their likes and dislikes by cooking their favourite.
4) Watch their favourite film
You know, the one you hate? But you’ll love the smile on their face.
5) Give them a foot massage
Get that baby oil out and give a bit of pampering. Enjoy the fact that you’re giving them pleasure, and please don’t stop after a minute! Keep going!
6) Write a poem
There’s nothing less commercial than a self-written poem. Don’t worry if you think you’re not a good writer either – it’s not really about what you say, but that you say it.
7) Take your partner to a significant place in your relationship
Show that certain events have stuck in your mind. Anything from the place you first kissed, to your first date, to the proposal. The more obscure the better.
8) Make it a family occasion
Does it feel like the kids sometimes dampen that fire of love? Get them involved in rekindling it again! Fill the house with so much love that it overflows. Make cards and bunting together from craft items you’ve got, write poetry, recite poetry, say those three magic words… this is a time to show your emotions.
9) Be involved in their passion
What is it that your partner loves doing? If they play a sport, go along and support them. If they love a certain band, put the CD on and listen to the songs together. If they love dancing, move the furniture and create a dancefloor.
10) Check out free events in your area
A quick Google search can bring up some great suggestions. How about the e-Luminate festival in Cambridge or a stroll down Love Lane in Dublin? Love really is free.
11) Post a card for free (Shoreditch, London)
Find the pop-up post box outside Hoxton Hotel (http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/valentines-pop-up-post-box) and send your loved one a card. If you’ve got any single friends, why not send them one too?
12) Finish work on time
Show your partner that they come first and dedicate the night to them. Give them the present of presence.
13) No mobiles
For just one night, let it be just the two of you. No distractions, just concentrate on each other.
14) Watch your wedding video
Relive the moment you committed your lives to each other, then, if the mood takes you, maybe you can relive the night 😉
15) Breakfast in bed
Pay attention to exactly how they do their breakfast and recreate it. A flower on the tray is a nice touch. None in the garden? Make one out of any paper you’ve got. Simple cut a circle, cut a spiral going from the outside all the way to the centre, curl up the thread starting from the outside, and voila! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeN9_K1xrWQ)
16) Put a screensaver together
When they load up the computer, let them see a selection of photos that you’ve lovingly put together. That’s enough to make anyone’s day.
I hope these suggestions help you get the fire burning bright. Remember, the fire of love isn’t fuelled by money!