It’s an age-old problem: men are expected to read women’s minds. I shed many a tear in our early dating and married life all because my husband did not inherently know what I wanted for special occasions. Of course, I wouldn’t dare tell him (that wouldn’t be romantic, now would it?). So I want to help all the guys there who want to please their loved ones, but just aren’t sure what to do when it comes to flowers, gifts, lingerie, and fancy restaurants. Many mysteries revealed in this post.
(If you are not a guy, stop here and forward on to your special someone; give him a chance to surprise you this year!).
Unfairly or not, Valentine’s Day is really a lopsided holiday. It’s a day when the guy in the relationship takes time to shower his beloved with love and adoration. There are five components to this holiday, so read on to see which ones you need to do this year (I promise it won’t be all of them!):
1. A Card/Letter is a Must
This is easy. Always get a card or write a letter. The important thing here is thoughtfulness. Don’t just sign your name on a cheesy drug store card. Impress her by finding a more unique and thoughtful card like some of the ones I found here.
To be extra romantic, hide a hand-written letter under her pillow, telling her how much love her or why you fell in love with her in the first place. If you do the latter, then notebook paper is just fine:). Honestly, all we want to hear is your love for us in your own words. Doesn’t have to be a sonnet, just a little something from the heart.
Another romantic idea for a card: one reader told me her husband brought home a bunch of pink helium balloons. Attached to each one was a card that said one thing he loved about her. Her children loved it, she said. (It’s so important to show affection and adoration to your spouse in front of your children, so I loved this idea!)
Some more thoughtful cards she will appreciate:
2. Flowers (You will thank me for these tips…)
I know a lot of wives say “Don’t get me flowers, they’re too expensive.” I totally get that. Don’t spend $75 on half-dead roses from a mass-marketed floral delivery company. IT”S A WASTE OF MONEY.
At the same time, however, DO give flowers that aren’t expensive. Let’s say this, if you have $15-$30 to spare, you can afford to get your wife or girlfriend some flowers on Valentine’s Day. (And I would also suggest at random times throughout the year!).
Here’s two ways:
#1 Use your neighborhood florist:
- Call and order a “hand tied” bouquet (i.e. don’t waste money on a vase). It’s the flowers that are important here and she will have a vase at home that she likes better anyway.
- Tell them a specific budget ($15-30-whatever), tell them no carnations (trust me on this one), and ask them to wrap it simple craft paper and a ribbon. (Don’t worry, if you say “hand-tied” they will know what you mean.)
- Be sure to order in advance and pick it up at the store to save on delivery fees. (I think that’s more romantic anyway.)
#2 Take the Plastic off the Grocery Store Flowers
- Bottom line: plastic-wrapped flowers with the bar code on them just aren’t romantic. BUT, if that’s your only option, try buying them from a “market” type grocery store (Central Market, Fresh Market, Whole Foods) where they have better selections and better assistance.
- Wherever you buy them, be safe by choosing an arrangement that is monochromatic (i.e. all the same color). These tulips were only $7.99 for a bunch:
- Then – now this is important – take it to the floral counter and politely ask them to them to take off the plastic and wrap in tissue paper and tie with a ribbon (they will usually do it for free!). See how much better these look:
So much lovelier than plastic and bar codes! And so thoughtful of you!
I know a lot of couples mutually decide not to give each other gifts on some special occasions, whether that be Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. That is fine. Your wife is probably not trying to trick you or anything like that.
Okay I take that back. You can rest easy with that mutual non-gift exchanging agreement UNLESS you are newlyweds (under five years) or are dating. If that’s case, be on the safe side and at least get a small gift on Valentine’s Day.
This is the thing: even though she agrees with you that it’s wiser to spend money on other more responsible things, she may be secretly hoping you surprise her with something because you just can’t contain your love for her. In other words, you just HAVE to do something to show her how much you love her. (How sweet of you!).
For everybody else, it’s okay to not exchange gifts every year, espceially when you want to spend money on taking vacations or stuff for the children. But just don’t let too much time pass between those displays of adoration and affection. No matter what she says, dazzle her every once in a while with something special. She won’t be angry, I promise. And you will have so much fun surprising her!
So if you think you need to go the gift route this year, here are some ideas of thoughtful gifts in many price ranges:
Want an incredibly unique gift idea? (Especially for all those healthy girls that don’t want chocolates/cupcakes?). These Velvet Crate gift boxes are just delightful to receive. How fun for her to receive at work! This might also be perfect for long distance girlfriends.
A Velvet Crate “Love” box (which I think can take the place of flowers) is $78 and includes all these beautiful treasures:
And, if you are looking for some fine jewelry ideas, I just did a post on Cannon Lewis Jewelry (who is offering 20% off with code DOSAYGIVE). She has unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else (also very thoughtful of you!).
Here’s the secret on lingerie: It’s fine to give it to her for Valentine’s Day as long as it is not the only gift you give her. Catch my drift? Pair lovely intimates with chocolates, a gift certificate to her favorite spa, or, even better, a delicate vintage locket necklace ($65) or one of these popular gum ball pearl cuff bracelets ($35) or any of the gifts I listed above.
Another thing on this topic: if you want your wife to wear something other than sweatpants to bed, buy her beautiful things to wear. Most women prefer to spend their money other things than night time attire, BUT that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy wearing beautiful things to bed and appreciate gifts of this nature. So buy her pretty things. Hint: buy something that she will feel good in and want to wear every night, and not just once a year. Here are some ideas of things what will make her feel beautiful:
Need some more ideas for lingerie? Click here.
5. Date Night
This is similar to the gifts issue. If you are newly dating or married, or it’s been a while since you have done anything like this, take her on a nice date. If not, then here are some other options:
- Go out on another night that doesn’t have prix-fixed menus. My husband and I do this and I prefer it actually.
- Since Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, consider doing something during the day – a bike ride, picnic, or a movie date. Honestly, if you have young children, your wife might prefer a day time date anyway. (Give her a break from afternoon chaos and the bedtime drama by hiring a sitter!) Maybe even go to a fancy hotel or restaurant for happy hour and feel extra cool.
- If you opt to stay in, feed, bathe, and put the children to bed while she takes a bath. Then make her dinner or get take out from a her favorite restaurant. Then clean up!
- Breakfast in Bed – always a good idea! Add a little flower and put it on a tray for an added touch of romance.
I hope this post was helpful for you guys. Remember, you don’t have to do all of these things. Whatever you do, the idea is to be thoughtful and think about what your special someone really would appreciate and enjoy.
One last piece of advice: if you ever unsure what to do, you can always ask her sister or best friend (they will be happy to help!). Or feel free to email me if you ever need any specific gift recommendations. I would love to help! (And throughout the year can always check my gift idea categories at the top of my homepage.)
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