Ahhh, Valentine's Day. It is that special time of year when a bouquet of roses sells for up to five times its regular price. You can't escape it. The store displays are all lined with heart shaped boxes of chocolates and stuffed critters that make a "smooching" sound when squeezed. It's impossible to tell your loved ones just how much they mean to you without presenting them with at least one, if not more, of these costly tokens, right? Wrong! Below is a list of 12 suggestions to help you have a memorable, yet inexpensive Valentine's Day with your family:
Heart Shaped Food - Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine's Day meals extra special. Make heart shaped cookies, sandwiches, ham biscuits, or even pancakes. Get creative! You probably already have one of these cookie cutters tucked away somewhere, if not you can purchase one pretty cheap.
Leave a Trail - Decide where you want your trail to end (bubble bath, bedroom, etc.) and work backwards. Leave heart shaped cutouts, candles, or anything else leading from the end to the front door. To make this a little more interesting, you can make up clues and have the person go from one place to another before finding their surprise.
Bake Cookies - Obviously you can do this from scratch, but for those of us who are not quite as ambitious, I recommend refrigerated sugar cookie dough. This is a great idea if you have kids because they can help from start to finish. Simply roll out the dough, use cookie cutters to make different shapes (that heart shaped cookie cutter sure comes in handy now), and then let the kids decorate with icing, sprinkles, and candy toppings.
Balloons - Everyone likes balloons. These can be the perfect choice for the man in your life because they don't have the same "girly" context men often associate with flowers. Simple red and white balloons are perfect, and you can purchase a large assortment for very little money.
Homemade Cards - Regress to your childhood and have fun. Break out the construction paper, glitter and glue and create a special memory for your loved one. You can find paper doilies in the shape of hearts at discount stores that also make cute accents for your card. Gathering up the same materials for each family member and letting everyone participate in the fun is also an option. Give each person a few pieces of construction paper, markers, etc. and just see how different all the cards turn out!
Write a Letter - I know what you're thinking. You are not a writer. You don't have to be! Simply write why you love your partner (because they support whatever you do, because they help with the dishes, because they have gorgeous eyes). If you can't put it into a letter form simply make a list, write it up neatly, and present it like that.
How About a Poem - Not a poet either? Well, you can either give it a go anyway and see what you come up with, or find a poem that expresses what you want to say. If you find a poem that expresses your feelings better than you ever could, by all means use it; just make sure you credit the poet.
The Gift of Time - This is the best gift you can give anyone, and it does not cost you a cent. Make up a coupon book that entitles the recipient to time alone with you (back rubs or foot massages) or just time to themselves (babysitting, uninterrupted TV time). You can also offer to do household chores for the recipient, such as washing their car, taking out the trash, or doing laundry.
Burn a CD - With today's technology, I have to mention this. Create a CD specifically with the recipient in mind. They will think of you every time they listen to all of their favorite songs.
Send Cyber Cards - There are plenty of websites out there that offer free e-cards, so take advantage of them. Send one or send a bunch. They're sure to make someone smile.
Spread the Love - Hide little tokens of your love for your partner and/or children to find. Children's valentines are perfect as are handwritten notes. Place them in coat pockets, lunches, around the house, in vehicles and anywhere else you can think of. This carries on past Valentine's Day because there will always be a few that you've hidden from yourself also.
Flowers & Candy - If you have your heart set on giving your sweetie flowers and candy, you can still avoid going overboard.
Remember these tips:
A single rose is just as effective as a dozen (especially if you enter with it between your teeth).
Flowers are always cheaper at grocery stores than at florists (and you can't tell the difference).
Candy does not have to be expensive and in a heart shaped box. A collection of favorites is just as nice and more meaningful.
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