Valentine's Day has been set up to be about blowing a bunch of money on bad chocolate and expensive dinners. If you do the holiday properly, you'll be a bigger hit with your SO and your wallet will be happier, too.
Cancel your reservations at the fancy dinner. Do that now. Then you can plan.
Cooking for your SO, or preferably cooking for each other, is a great way to draw closer to your loved one. Cooking a dinner together puts both people on the same level. Valentine's Day is typically men treating women well (and they should), but by preparing the meal together, they share time and the experience.
This link says the average Valentine's Day dinner is $135 and offers to cut that cost in half. Not to seem cheap, but you could make a nice romantic dinner for a lot less if you put some personal thought into the process.
You may not have the desired ingredients, and if you're caught in a polar vortex, you may not be able to get what you want. Then again, in a polar vortex, you may not be able to get to the restaurant anyway.
In that case, you could do a picnic. A picnic blanket will produce warm thoughts, if nothing else. Your food can be simple; it's more about the environment and the company than the food. Cost isn't an issue; eat simply and embrace the romantic gesture.
If you aren't trapped in a polar vortex, you can still go the expensive route, but save money on that meal by cooking it yourself. And the bargain kicks in even before restaurants mark up prices for that special day.
You can get better chocolate; dark chocolate is better for your heart in more ways than one. And you can splurge since you are saving money in other areas. Think of what you could buy with the valet cost alone.
One meal that can bring people together and force them to talk is fondue. Cheese and chocolate can definitely be romantic. I grew up with butter as the fondue choice. No matter what I might think about family dynamics based on my own experience growing up, we did talk more and better during a fondue meal.
The warmth of the Sterno and knowing you all cut up all the food can be highly romantic. Plus the cooking process forces conversations in between bites.
But what if you want to be served? Having someone take care of you feels romantic. But maybe the waiter spills soup on your loved one. You could make the same mistake but you are only worried about one person on that day; servers have many tables, especially on a hectic day.
If you do insist on eating out, how about going to that place where you first met, or the first time your loved one said, "I love you." That could have been Denny's; and if you don't want to eat at Denny's anymore, you can always get coffee.
You might be surprised that all your SO wants is to be appreciated for who they are. Cooking a favorite dish with love is a great way to acknowledge uniqueness.
When you break it down, love can be eating TV dinners if that is what you really want to do. Valentine's Day is supposed to be about appreciating the person across the way from you.
Putting your own personal touch on a Valentine's Day meal is a great method to spell romance in a way to make the holiday more memorable for many years to come.
And if you're single, make yourself a nice dinner. Eat your dinner in front of a mirror, saying nice things about yourself to yourself.
Yes, that is a picture of Nancy and Ann Wilson of "Heart," now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Heart = Valentine's Day.
photo credit: Heart