By Natalie Bahadur
Valentine’s Day comes but once a year and it’s the perfect time to show your loved ones just how much you care. Stumped for creative ideas? Instead of relying on the typical (and predictable) Valentine’s Day cards and candies, we’ve come up with 10 unexpected ways to surprise family and friends.
1. Make a calendar
Choose 12 of your favourite photos of you and your loved one and assemble them into a calendar. Choose photos that represent special times and memories. Be sure to mark off special days including holidays, birthdays and anniversaries (get creative, think first date, first kiss, etc). For help assembling your calendar, check out genuineclass.com.
2. Bake homemade chocolate treats
Let the kids in on the fun by setting a few hours aside for baking some chocolate treats. Let them choose what they’d like to make and let them get as involved as possible. This, of course, includes everything from adding flour and stirring batter, to licking the ooey-gooey goodness out of the bowls when everything’s finished. The messier, the more fun! Visit our food section for great family-friendly recipes.
3. Design your own love coupons
Either using your computer or drawing them up yourself, create a stack of love coupons that your loved one can cash in, any time during the month of February. Coupons can entitle the recipient to anything from an evening of hugs and kisses to a romantic dinner a deux.
4. Create a personalized CD
Use music to tell your loved one just how much you care. Think back on special times you and your partner have shared and make a compilation CD that represents those memories.
5. Be spontaneous
Sure, everyone loves flowers and candy, but this year, think outside that box of chocolates. Make this Valentine’s Day a day to remember by doing something totally unexpected and unpredictable. Maybe that means heading to the airport and taking a last-minute getaway (Bora Bora, anyone?) but whatever you do, make it a day you’ll both remember forever.
6. Renew your wedding vows
If you’re married, you probably remember your wedding day as one of the happiest days of your life. But after settling into the routine of your everyday partnership, does the romance of your wedding feel like a lifetime ago? Relive the magic of that day by renewing your marriage vows to one another. It’s a meaningful expression of your love and is a wonderful way to remind yourselves just how committed you both still are to your relationship.
7. Recreate the day of your first meeting
How did that fortuitous event happen; that fateful day when you met the person you would fall in love with? Maybe you can’t mimic the exact circumstances of your first encounter, but you can recreate some of the elements of that meeting. Perhaps your eyes met over a plate of jumbo shrimp? Then make this oxymoronic delicacy the star of your evening. Whatever the case, have fun with it and relish the memories of the day that brought you together.
8. Devise a treasure hunt
Surprise your loved one with small, but meaningful tokens of your love. But don’t make it easy ““ hide these treasures throughout the house with clues that will take him from one gift to the next.
9. Plan an at-home honeymoon
If you can’t afford a luxury vacation, spend the evening at home planning a vacation you’d both love to take. If your dream destination is Thailand, for example, pick up travel brochures and guide books and spend the evening enthralled in a fantasy that one day could become a reality. Don’t forget to order Thai food in, to complete the experience!
10. Count the ways
It’s not always easy to remember ALL the reasons why we love our partners. Day to day anxieties can often overshadow the good stuff. This Valentine’s Day, present your partner with a list of 100 reasons why you love her (OK, maybe 50 will do). Your list should include some reasons that are serious, some that are silly, but all that will touch her heart.