So this may be one of those posts that you might accidentally print and leave somewhere sort of obvious but not obvious. Like posted on the fridge. Or the bathroom mirror.
A subtle hint.
Because the big day is almost upon us. And there may be someone special in your life scrambling to figure out how to commemorate the day.
Or you may have someone in your life who has completely, utterly forgotten there is even such a day as this.
Maybe you yourself are hitting a mental brick wall as to how to let your true love know that your heart still goes pitter patter for them.
That day set aside to celebrate all things romance. Big boxes of chocolate. Overpriced roses. Elaborate greeting cards. ‘He Went to Jared’s’ expectations.
Most of us are financially still reeling from Christmas. And we know we’ve got cutesy Easter outfits that are on the fiduciary horizon. Can’t there be some way to celebrate without breaking the bank?
So here are five ideas for cheap Valentine’s Day gift ideas. That, really, can be priceless.
1. You Jar Me
You’ve got one somewhere, back in the cabinet. A small glass canister of some type, maybe left over from when your Aunt Jo made you those sweet pickles last summer. Dig it out, wash it out. You’ve also got some paper and a pen you like, lurking in the back of a kitchen drawer. The paper can be from your scrapbooking stash or you can just grab a sheet from your printer. Get that paper, get that pen, and take fifteen minutes. In short, three or four word phrases, jot down attributes, habits, character traits that you appreciate and love about your significant other. “Great listener,” “takes out the trash bins every week,” “diligent worker,” “brings me coffee in the morning,” whatever little moments that you notice about your love, write them down. Aim to get 25 or so items. Then cut out each of those phrases and place them in the glass jar. You can make this as simple or fancy as you like, cutting out the phrases with border edge scissors, mounting each phrase on a piece of cardstock, using some fancy-schmancy hand lettering…or not. What’s most important is capturing those little moments about the one you love so they can see that you see.
2. Post-It Hearts (Nice and Spice)
For a couple of dollars, purchase sticky notes in the shape of hearts. I’ve been able to find these at my beloved Target and a variety of office supply stores. Write down a little romantic thought or spicy suggestion on a number of the hearts. See if you can write a collection of 20-25 hearts. Then start sticking those little hearts in your sweetheart’s sock drawer. In the medicine cabinet. In a shoe. In the pages of their planner. In the glove box of their car. Hide them in a variety of places to be found throughout the next few weeks. And if you’re worried one of your kids might find one of the spicier ones…so what? From long experience, I can tell you, it’s so, so good for your kids to ‘discover’ that Mom and Dad have the hots for each other. So there.
3. The Book of Love
This is one that takes a little more long term vision, but you can get it started now. Several years ago, my husband Michael handed me a gift, a simple journal. I thanked him, but then he told me to open it.
For several weeks, he had been recording his thoughts about me, favorite memories, dreams he has for us, little written celebrations of my quirks. It remains one of the most precious, intimate gifts I’ve ever received, and he has continued to add things to that journal through the years. It sits close to my desk, where I can take a look at it from time to time.
Inexpensive. Not flashy.
Rarer than diamonds. Sweeter than roses.
Go get thyself an inexpensive journal. And start writing.
4. Memory Lane
If this year’s budget for Valentine’s Day is mac and cheese, awesome. Simply pair it with the finest. Get out that wedding album. Dig out those baby books. Open up your tablet and get on your photo account. And as you nosh on that mac and cheese, look again at the life you’ve been leading together. Remember where you’ve been. Celebrate the challenges and the progress. Make a date with all the dates that have made up the history of your lives together.
5. The Tried and True
Sometimes in our marriages, we can just be going through the motions, if you catch my drift. You’re tired, the baby’s teething, your elementary school kiddo has a science project due, that project at work is looming. That foundational act of romance (ahem) gets lost in the shuffle or veers into the routine.
Leave the phones in the kitchen.
Park the kids into their beds…or in front of a movie. No shame.
And take that valentine of yours into your room.
And lock the door.
Actually focus on that person you’re with.
You being present, truly present, can be the most precious gift of all.
Don’t let the chores and the to-do lists and the expensive expectations and your own inner dialog highjack the holiday for you.
And discover again just how simply lovely this day dedicated to hearts can be.