My Thrifty Valentine

27 January 2011

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Valentine’s Day has become a multi-million pound industry and the hype to buy those romantic gifts started seconds after Christmas was finished.  There has also been an increase in the Anti-Valentine’s Day movement, with parties held for people who diss the day.

It’s hardly surprising that people are starting to reject the hearts and flowers brigade in favour of ignoring the day completely. It’s hard not to get fed up with the stream of adverts, stickers, posters, displays and shows that shove the idea down our throats for weeks before the day itself.

hugHowever, it seems sad to lose the idea behind the day all together. I mean, there is something to be said about setting aside a special day to look your partner in the eye and say, “I love you.” Sure, you should practise this every day, but having a dedicated day, once a year, can be fun.

Instead of succumbing to yet another bear and wilted flowers, why not do something different with your partner this year?

Recent research done by Multibionta, a probiotic vitamin supplement (no, I don’t know why they are researching Valentine’s Day either) has shown that a simple hug beats an expensive gift.

The list that appeared as the result of this research was informative and funny. Apparently 37% of the men interviewed said that they would prefer to be told a joke, while for women (55%) it was to be paid a compliment.

The second most popular was to have someone smile at you. How lovely is that?

coffeeSo, instead of rushing out to the garage at 10pm so you have a tatty card and some chocolates to thrust at your lover at 6am, why not give them a huge smile, a hug, and tell them how gorgeous they are? Or, make them a cup of tea (this rated at 36%) and tell them a joke? These won’t cost you a thing, but they will make such a difference to your partner’s day.

I also recommend carrying on this tradition for the rest of the year (except for bad mood days and hangovers) as it is bound to improve the mood of your family no end.

If you can’t get by without a little more to give your partner, then there are plenty of free ideas online that can spice up your special day without your having to resort to begging at traffic lights.

How about a heart shaped treat? Shine, a Yahoo! site lists 20 heart-shaped dessert recipes that cover the gamut from sundaes, to cakes to meringue cookies. The picture on the landing page has actually made me hungry. Yum!

Browse through the recipes and see what you can make with the ingredients you’ve already got at home. If you have to go out and buy more items, why not take a look at Supercook. They have this utterly awesome (and I mean, awesome) tool where you can find recipes based on the ingredients you have at home.

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You just enter the ingredients into the search bar and then the system will hunt down other recipes that use the same things. Pure genius. Also a great way to get use up time-sensitive items that you bought especially for your Valentine’s Day treats.

One of my personal favourites for Valentine’s Day card sites is Care2. Instead of spending money on paper and killing some trees, I select a free card from their very nice range. They have some great designs that cover loads of different tastes, and every single card generates a donation to a charity.

lassoHow about giving them a coupon book instead of an expensive toy? You can make a coupon book by using free templates from Microsoft Office, or just search online, printing them out, and making a cover out of cardboard and wrapping paper. Fill the book with redeemable coupons that give them a break from things they hate doing, or gives them something to look forward to.

Ideas include: dishwashing, dinner, vacuuming, an extra lie-in, a day off from all responsibilities, scrummy pudding, and so on.

You can have a lot of fun with this idea and they will love it. I made one of these for Christmas a few years ago and gave my husband two days to play Warcraft uninterrupted. He really appreciated it!

My final thought is one that I have shamelessly stolen from a good friend. Write a list of all the things you love about your partner, include special moments and memories, private jokes and happy times. Print it out and frame it. It won’t cost you more than your time and a frame but it will be something that they will cherish.

Do you have any special ideas for a thrifty Valentine’s Day? Let me know…

What do you think?

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