Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. Some say it’s a holiday designed by retailers to make money from card and flower sales, while some say it’s the most romantic day of the year. Regardless of your stance, it is always nice to do something special with your significant other one night of the year. However, what with booking a table in a nice restaurant (or your favourite local pub), paying for dinner and drinks, taxi costs, childcare − the list of things can go on and on and turn February 14th into a bit of an expense.
The status quo is to go out for a posh meal, and sit in a restaurant with a bunch of other couples who have had the same idea. While that works for some, why not do the ‘wining and dining’ in the comfort of your own home? Sure, it’s nice not to have to do the dishes, but sometimes staying in can be something pretty special. Here’s a few creative ideas to help you enjoy Valentine’s without having a big bill to foot at the end of the evening. Besides, it’s cold outside, so why not stay home and enjoy the warmth?
Side note: candles will improve every single one of these ideas.
Wine and Dine at home
This has already been mentioned, but we’ll say it again - Valentine’s does not mean you have to spend a fortune at an expensive restaurant. Think about your favourite meals, pop into your local supermarket, pick up the ingredients and put your culinary skills to the test. You could make your signature dish, or work as a team to try something you’ve not made before. Have one person chopping onions, and the other on sauté duty so one person is not doing everything. Working as a team and doing some romantic cooking together is much more fun than one person doing all the work. Regardless, cooking can be boring, so have a couple of glasses of bubbly − again bought from the local supermarket. Alternatively, order in from your favourite local takeaway – then you won’t have to do the washing up!
As mentioned earlier, set the mood with a little low lighting - candles will only make this better. You can create all the ambiance of a romantic restaurant with nothing more than a few candles and some imagination. Add some small candles around the edge of the table, or create a romantic centre piece with a tall candle and voila, who needs to leave the house? Not quite romance served up on a silver platter, but romance served up on your best plates.
Clear the kitchen counters of all ‘stuff’ and have a designated side each. Don’t worry about the mess, that’s a problem for February 15th. Bake a cake each and anonymously get your family to decide whose is best. Some healthy competition will bring out your playful side, and while this may cause some drama, it will also cause a surplus of cake, and who doesn’t want that?
There is no reason a picnic can’t be enjoyed in the depths of winter as well as in the heights of summer. Push your living room furniture back against the walls and spread out a blanket on the floor. If you have a fire, light it. Have some sandwiches, some cakes, fruit, Pringles, a pasty − whatever your favourite picnic food might be! It might seem pointless to sit on the floor, but it’s something slightly different to just eating at the dinner table.
It might make you feel silly, but maybe Valentine’s Day is about rediscovering your silly? With all the stress that 21st century life likes to throw at us, sit on the floor, have an inside picnic and laugh about how ridiculous it seems.
Go through your photo albums
Romance doesn’t have to mean food (although the phrase ‘the way to the heart is through the stomach’ would suggest otherwise, and we’re inclined to agree). Now that a lot of photos are uploaded straight to Facebook, the old photo family photo albums might have been collecting dust on the shelves for longer than you realised.
Grab them down, dust them off, and reminisce about the times gone by. Back when the kids were cute, the house was tidy, and you thought it was cool to have that big 80’s hair.
Looking back over your shared life together and reliving all your memories can be much more romantic than forcing yourself out into the cold just to stick with tradition.
Experiences can make much better presents than material things which are likely to be put in a drawer and forgotten about, so why not put together a ‘romantic night in’ hamper as a Valentine’s present? Grab a basket or a box, fill it with your favourite cinema snacks, popcorn, some fizzy drinks – anything nostalgic you can think of.
Film wise, it’s likely that if you’re born this side of 1950, you went to a cinema for one of your first dates. Try to remember the film you watched and put that on to take a wander down memory lane. Alternatively, that film you’ve both been saying you’ll watch for ages? Now is your chance.
Home is where the heart is, so fall in love with your home this Valentine’s Day. A night in at home, be it silly or serious, will give you a February 14th to remember.
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