Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday of the year, narrowly beating Thanksgiving. I know, I know: “Brunnie, how can you love V-Day? It’s a Hallmark holiday driven completely by consumerism!” Whatever. It’s so trendy to hate Valentine’s Day that I have to retort: “Be original!” Yes, you should tell people you love them every day of the year, but Valentine’s Day not only reminds you to love those around you (wow, I sound like Delilah), it also sets the perfect stage, what with red and pink paper mache hearts hung in every store window and your tummy full of conversation hearts...cinnamon hearts...sour gummy hearts. Four words: Get in my belly.
Love it or hate it, Feb. 14th is a fact of life. You don’t need to buy into it and drop money on flowers, candy or cards if you don’t want to (although Love just had a bouquet of flowers and balloon delivered to my office, which made my day!), but your 1-800-Flowers purchase may be just what the economy needs.
According to the Washington Post, the National Retail Federation's spending survey found that Americans plan to put up a total of $15 billion in the name of Cupid this year, or $103 per person. Granted, that's $20 less than last year, but it's still a far cry from macaroni-necklace territory, the paper says.
But if you’d rather take your left eye out with the nearest ballpoint then spend a lot of money on anything even remotely related to Pink Paper Heart Day, here are some of my favorite low-key, budget friendly ideas from MSNBC:
Stay in and relax. Valentine’s Day conveniently falls on a Saturday this year — and that means you could put your heads together and dream up the most ideal day at home ever. This Thursday or Friday, you could stock up on your favorite foods and drinks and rent movies that you both want to see. Tidy up the house ahead of time so you’ll be able to resist the urge to wipe down countertops and fold laundry all day long. If you have children, make baby-sitting arrangements for at least part of the day if at all possible.
Dinner doesn’t have to cost a bundle. There’s really no need to drop $90 to $250 on a romantic dinner at a restaurant. In fact, with some advance planning, you could have a fabulous candlelit dinner at home — and, heck, you could even get all dressed up for it! Again, be sure you have every single food item on hand before Saturday. You don’t want to be bothered with having to run out to the store to pick up lemons or onions.
Get all gussied up for a low-budget night out. If the two of you really want to hit the town on Saturday night, you could simply have coffee or a drink and dessert at a dark, romantic bistro or an expensive cafe or restaurant. At any time of the year, this avoid-the-entrée trick is a surefire way to savor the atmosphere — and your date — without busting your budget.
Write your feelings down. With the help of a package of inexpensive Valentines from the drugstore or grocery store — or, for that matter, any kind of paper — you could write out dozens of reasons why you love your mate. Leave the messages all over the house, in both noticeable and hidden-away places. This is another one of those gifts that could keep on giving for several weeks, if not months, down the road. [MSNBC]
And if you’re feeling the love but single, the International Falls Daily Journal has some fabulous ways to show someone you care:
- Donate some time at a retirement home. Plan some type of entertainment for the residents, center on love.
- Invite someone on your block over, someone who really can’t afford anything right now. This will give them the chance to forget about their problems — at least for a day.
- Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk. If you have some feeble neighbors, or ones that work all the time or care for children and really don’t have the time to shovel, do this good deed. Offer rides to those who need them — to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the clinic. Help carry things. It will be remembered.
- Help someone find a job. If you have a depressed friend, sit with them and help them with a job search. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to look for a job because it’s so easy to become discouraged. [Internationational Falls Daily Journal]