Valentine’s Day, the day for love and romance and evenings filled with candlelit dinners and whispers of sweet nothings. As wonderful as this sounds, perhaps it isn’t entirely possible. With schedules more hectic than ever before, the truth is that many couples, especially those with children, just don’t have the time for fancy restaurants and exotic Valentine getaways.
Most couples are barely able to squeeze in a quick “I Love You” over frozen pizza and juice boxes let alone standing in line at a restaurant because you forgot to make reservations. This year, why not try an at-home Valentine’s date. Here are a few quick and easy ideas to still have a romantic evening, without the hassle. You can even wear your pajamas!
Make dinner together! Put the kids to bed a little early, they need the rest anyway, and make dinner together. The menu doesn’t have to be extravagant to be fun and romantic. Break out the “good” dishes and utensils. You know the ones you got as a wedding gift and are reserved for company. Open a bottle of wine or sparkling cider and have fun trying something new together. Take a look online at Pinterest or Google for romantic dinner ideas and put those culinary skills to work.
Keep in mind that there is nothing romantic about a trip to the emergency room or a visit from your friendly neighborhood fire department, so if the idea of either of you in the kitchen conjures images of a Valentine’s Day disaster, then turn the oven off and step away from the stove. Use those fancy dishes to serve up some amazing take-out or delivery from your favorite restaurant. Light some candles and turn on some of your favorite tunes and enjoy a peaceful meal together.
The best part about Valentine’s Day is that it gives couples an excuse to take a break from their everyday routines to let their partner know how much they mean to each other. Of course, this is something that can be done any day, but it can be difficult to prioritize with all of the other responsibilities we have on any given day. Make it a point on Valentine’s Day to go radio silent. Turn the volume down on your phones and close up the laptop. Take time to talk to one another about subjects other than kids, work or bills.
For a little inspiration, here are some ideas for enjoying your time together:
Make your living room a dance floor. Turn on some music and dance like no one is watching. Slow dance or disco, or both! Have fun and be silly together.
Look at Pictures. Take out the wedding album or photos from your childhood and reminisce and laugh about all the memories you have made together.
Play video games. When was the last time you had complete control over the gaming system in your house? Take advantage of your time alone and see if you can beat your high score in your favorite game.
Snuggle by the fire. Throw down a blanket and some pillows and sit and talk. Have some coffee or hot chocolate on hand and enjoy each other’s company.
Watch a favorite movie. Who says Star Wars isn’t a romantic movie? Just because it is Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to break out the romantic tear-jerker with the predictable ending. Find something that you have seen before that has special meaning to you or something new that you’ve been waiting to see. You can even pop in your wedding video or videos of the kids when they were little…those might produce some tears all on their own!
All the Single Ladies…and Gentlemen
Who says Valentine’s Day is for couples only? Grab your girlfriends, guy friends, sisters, or even your kids and have a celebration of your own. Love isn’t reserved for couples. Take this day to let those in your life know how much you love and appreciate them. Have a “singles only” Valentine’s Dinner and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. Enlist your kids to help with baking some desserts and decorating.
If you want to poke a little bit of fun at the thought of Valentine’s Day, try making it an “Anti-Valentine’s Day” party. Ask your guests to dress in black or wear pajamas and bathrobes, not the cute silky kind, the terry-cloth and flannel kind. Decorate appropriately, think black roses and hearts with a crack in the middle. Serve drinks like “dark-n-stormy” or “the black heart.”
The point of Valentine’s Day isn’t to see who can spend the most on a gift, or reservations to the fanciest restaurant in town. The goal is taking one night out to enjoy each other and tell those you love how much they mean to you. Use this night as a time to remember what it was that brought you together in the first place and to create memories that last well beyond February 14.