Valentine's Day typically involve dinner at a restaurant, flowers, candy, stuffed animals, or jewelry given on February 14th. The pressure is always on to get something for that day, but everything is more expensive, restaurants tend to be crowded, which means service is hurried, and it's all a bit contrived. Many consider it just another Hallmark holiday.
Instead, why not use any day to express your feelings toward a loved one. Make a gift certificate to give on that date for a gift to be received on any date in the future. This adds an element of surprise to an otherwise predictable day, and makes gift giving more natural.
- Mystery Date - Both you and your valentine each write down six romantic date ideas on nice paper before Valentine's Day. Seal them in identical envelopes, and hide them. Starting February 14th, one of you pulls a random envelope from the pile, and go on that date. Alternate who chooses the monthly dates for a year.
- Getaway - This could be an overnight at the Inn at Glencairn, a weekend at Skytop Lodge including dog sledding, or a Caribbean cruise leaving from Jersey's Cape Liberty. Just disclose how many days you'll be away, and whether to bring clothes for warm or cold weather.
- Random Surprise - This could be a surprise of the month gift or just a one time act of kindness. The receiver will get a gift once a month on a random day. This could be flowers or balloons to the office or home from Monday Morning Flower & Balloon Co., a car cleaning from Major Car Wash, take-out from a special restaurant, a movie rental during the week, breakfast in bed, a massage, etc.
- Guys' or Girls' Night Out - Arrange a gathering with all the friends. This could be poker, a pot of chili, and beer for the guys, or heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine, and watching the Oscars for the ladies. If your budget allows, plan a night out on the town or a getaway. Read this post for Girlfriend Getaway ideas, or this one for Mancation ideas.
- Fill-in-the-Blank - The certificate will read: My favorite gift for Valentine's Day would be...
The recipient fills in the blanks, then you choose one item to purchase.
If you'd still prefer to celebrate the old-fashion way, check out Unique Valentine Gift Ideas.