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Sweet & Simple 



For a day that is supposed to represent love, Valentine’s Day sure brings out the anxiety in a lot of people. Maybe it is because it’s a day when we are supposed to be showing how much we love our folks, and that feels like a lot of pressure.

If we don’t buy exactly the right gift or the biggest bouquet, are we saying we don’t love them enough? Well, probably not. But here’s the thing…

Giving a good Valentine’s Day gift is the same as giving a good birthday gift, or a good Christmas gift, or a good anniversary gift….it’s another chance to prove how well we know our loved ones. How well we are paying attention.

We’ll never get our gifts exactly right 100% of the time. We’re all human. But perhaps on Valentines Day we could begin to think about what would make our person happy in a different way.

Saying I love you doesn’t have to be complicated if you are willing to stop and think for a minute or two about your person.

We all begin brainstorming for Valentine’s Day by trying to think about what our loved one wants as a gift. Which is a  great starting place.

Another way to look at it is to think aboutt their greatest frustrations. What chores do they hate to do? What do they wish they had more time for?

These things can also be fantastic insights into ways you can give to them that will make them happy.

 Now that you have thought about your person, let’s look at some simple and sweet ways to utilize those insights that will make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift!

1. Say I Love You in an unexpected way.

Sometimes our I Love You’s can feel a bit timeworn. So mix it up and try saying I Love You in an unexpected way! Write a Things I Love about You list (here’s how). Write a love letter (some good examples are in this little book) or a poem.

Create a playlist of songs that reflect the way you feel. Make a video message. Rent a billboard or a skywriter! This is a great gift for the loved one who always wants to talk about your feelings. (Especially if they can get it back out to re-read over and over!)

2. Make the Plan.

For those of us who make most of the plans  and the daily decisions (What’s for dinner? being the most dreaded question of all time), having someone just arrange for us to do something nice without us having to think about it can be heavenly!

Choose the restaurant, book the reservation, buy the tickets, plan the girl’s night out. In the name of all that is holy, LOOK UP the directions. Then take us somewhere lovely.

3. Go Exploring.

One of the best gifts you can give someone is your time! Going exploring somewhere new is a great way to enjoy each other’s company and a new place simultaneously. It can be as elaborate as a weekend away in a new city. A girl’s day out to a local museum. Even as simple as a trip to the new bookstore around the corner. Tailor your adventure to your timeframe and your budget.

4. Arrange an Indulgence.

Schedule the massage or a facial.  Make an appointment for your hubs to have a real barber treatement, hot towel and all.  Take your Galentine for a mani/pedi. Or just run a hot bath and light some candles so your person can relax in peace for a little while.

The Valentine who spends all their time taking care of everyone else will appreciate a turn.

5. Plan something New.

One of the best ways to connect with others is to take on a new experience together. So sign up for that cooking class. Schedule a sky diving experience. Rent a canoe or paddleboards. Try an escape room. Find something neither of you has done and try it together.

6. Lighten the Load.

If your loved one does a lot of the heavy lifting in their life, look for a way you can lighten the load for them. And while this may look  like you taking the kids for the weekend, or doing the dishes for a week, it doesn’t necessarily have to be you personally that picks up the slack!

You could also hire someone to mow the yard next month. Or schedule a mobile groomer or car detailer. Or get a group of friends together and clean the house for them while they are out.

You could also simply Venmo the funds to your person so they can pay for someone to do for them what you aren’t available to.*

7. Get Lazy Together.

Being lazy together can be a lovely way to pass some time. You could be lazy together in your own bed, snacking and reading, or…whatever.

If being lazy at home makes you  (or your person)  feel guilty about not taking care of chores, then please go be lazy at a hotel somewhere else. This is also a great way to enjoy a night or two at a fancy place nearby that you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience!

And this idea isn’t reserved for lovers! Getting lazy together with friends somewhere nice can be the best kind of hanging out. Your undivided attention is a priceless gift.

8. Agree to Do THE Thing.

There is always something that our loved ones are passionate about or want to try that we secretly (or not so secretly) have no real interest in.

Now is the time to agree to the Monster Truck Rally. Or the Harry Potter movie marathon. Or the museum tour of our hometown.

With enthusiasm. And no complaining. Maybe we could even arrange for tickets or travel to make it happen. Because we capital “L” love them.

9.  Buy THE gift.

Not the Everyday List gift. But THE gift. That one that they would never splurge on for themselves.

The $50 lip product. The really expensive slippers. The upgraded pedicure with all the extra treatments. Or just the pens that they love but won’t buy in the color they like best because the aqua ones cost more.

Get them THAT. Even if you think it is silly. Or a waste of money. Or something they won’t use but once or twice. (It’s not your job to decide any of that, btw.) Buy them THAT gift and watch them glow.

10.  Get a Dozen.

Lastly, don’t automatically pass up the idea of the Valentine’s Day dozen! You don’t have to give roses to give a dozen. How about a dozen bottles of their favorite wine? Or a dozen mani appointments? Or a dozen books from her Amazon wish list? (Husband, I hope you are reading this.)  The magical Valentine’s Day dozen can be applied to donuts, stuffed animals, plants… whatever your person is into!

Valentine’s Day is all about showing our people some love…

And the best way to do that is to pay attention to what matters to them. It doesn’t have to be complicated or extravagant…just thoughtful! And you already love them…so thinking about how you can make them happy will be easy.

Happy Heart’s Day!


*a word on Venmo

I admit, when I first read this idea in Rachel Wilkerson Miller’s book, The Art of Showing Up, I was skeptical. It felt like cheating.

She was talking specifically about helping friends when they are going through a hard time, but I think this can apply to other occasions as well. Sometimes the ‘choose-your-own-solace/adventure care package’ is the right answer. Especially when you pair it with a ‘Because I can’t do this IRL’ for you, here’s the money to buy yourself some flowers/pay for Doordash/get your car detailed.

Just make sure you aren’t just using it as a pass for yourself to avoid figuring out another gift idea.

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