How To Navigate the Valentine’s Day Minefield

How To Navigate the Valentine's Day Minefield | www.TheHeavyPurse.comEditor’s Note: I’m celebrating my husband’s birthday today, so Tanya from Eat Laugh Purr is sharing some great ideas on celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day brings out a variety of emotions in people. Many dislike it for it’s overt commercialization while others love being showered with red roses and dark chocolates. Some breakout in hives over finding the perfect gift and a few get indigestion from all the happy coupling.

In other words, it can be a real minefield and one false step could land in you hot water. But it doesn’t have to be that way because celebrating love is never a bad thing and should be fun too. There are a few keys to making the holiday a great success. Let me show you how.

Valentine’s Day Gift-Giving Rules

It begins by laying down some ground rules, so everyone is on the same page and no one ends up with hurt feelings. After all, we’re celebrating love, not disappointment!

Don’t Play Keep Up

Many of us get caught up in the hype of the holidays and spend more than we should because we are influenced by what others do and want to be competitive. Good marketers know this and put pressure us to demonstrate how deep and true our love is through expensive gifts. Savvy people don’t fall for this gambit.

So be smart and ignore what everyone else is doing. Instead figure out how you and your special guy or gal want to spend the holiday.

Set Expectations on Gifts

It may not be sexy or spontaneous but setting a dollar amount on gifts can actually lower the odds of disappointment. The amount should reflect what money you have to spend AND want to spend. This isn’t a mandatory holiday, so don’t feel obligated to spend much or anything for that matter. Figure out where it falls within all your other goals/priorities/wants and set an appropriate amount together.

Note: You can also agree to not exchange gifts too. But before you suggest this, read the tip below first.

Heart-Breaker Tip: You may not enjoy the holiday, but your significant other might. Be mindful of his/her feelings and work together on how to celebrate the holiday in a way that makes both of you happy. Otherwise you may wind-up sleeping in the doghouse.

Remember The Golden-Rule of Gift-Giving

Regardless of the holiday, this rule always holds true. The value of a gift IS NOT its price-tag. It is the love and thought that went into the gift that makes it priceless.

Determine Who Is In Charge

Beyond gifts, many couples also tend to enjoy a night out as well or in lieu of gifts. Decide now if one should plan it and surprise the other or if you prefer to decide together. Just like with gifts, set a dollar amount and decide who is in charge of making reservations and/or finding a babysitter.

Heart-Breaker Tip: Remember, you don’t have to celebrate on Valentine’s Day either, so if your favorite band is going to be in town two months from now, attending the concert could be how you choose to celebrate the holiday.

3 Fun Ways to Demonstrate Your Love

There are countless ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day. Here are just a few ideas to help romance your sweetheart.

Recreate Your First Date

This a sentimental favorite, especially if you’ve been together long enough where you really have to put some effort into this. Obviously, you may need to make a few tweaks to pull this off, an indoor picnic versus freezing your tushie off outside, but you’ll still score major bonus points if you can pull this one off.

Heart-Breaker Tip: Consider some minor (or major) upgrades too. Your first date was at McDonalds, which is probably not as impressive today, so upgrade to a nice Pub burger and make a playlist with the songs from the era of your first date to cruise around to afterwards.

Be Mindfully Indulgent

Even though overindulgence seems to be more a common problem today, there are still many people who struggle to give themselves permission to spend their money on things other than practical needs. This is your chance to help them let go a bit. If your spouse has always wanted a massage but worries it’s too frivolous, book a couples massage.

As Shannon has always said, money is meant to be a gift, so consider finding something a little indulgent (but still within your budget) to do that you both would enjoy.

Create a Private Treasure Hunt

This can take a little bit of time, but is so much fun. I suggest using a few old mementos (class ring if you’re high school sweethearts, wedding garter belt etc.) and some new gifts too. Hide them around the house and leave notes with hints. If both of you want to do this, divvy up the house, so you don’t accidentally use the same hiding spots.

Bonus Idea: Love Notes for the Family

Shannon shared this idea for a Valentine’s Day Love Box a couple years ago and I love it. Everyone in the Ryan household has their own Valentine’s Day box and they leave each other special notes throughout the week. A great, low-cost way to celebrate the holiday and involve the kids.

Love is in the Air

Valentine’s Day is considered a joke or money-grab by some but it can be a meaningful and enjoyable holiday if you follow the rules and do a little planning.

Are you a fan of Valentine’s Day? What’s been your favorite gift? Or worst?

TanyaTanya is a freelance writer, web designer and blogger. You can find her at Eat Laugh Purr where she and her ginger tabby, Max, enjoy simple pleasures every day and at TV Fanatic reviewing Madam Secretary and more. Connect with Tanya on twitter and Pinterest. And please, no judgement on the number of cat pins I have.
February 6, 2015  •  14 Comments  •  Miscellaneous

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  1. Friday, February 6th, 2015
    I agree that the thought that goes in the gift is the important thing. I love to receive and give gifts that have a special meaning behind them.
    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      Me too, Petrish. I've received really expensive gifts that had little meaning behind them and always felt a bit letdown over them. It's the meaning and your knowledge of what would matter to me that makes a gift special, not how much you spent.
  2. Friday, February 6th, 2015
    Great point about being mindful about what your significant other wants. That is why communicating about it is so important as the last thing you want to do is hurt their feelings. That said, we're pretty low key with V day and really don't do much to celebrate it. This year we're having a sitter take care of the kids and we'll just make dinner at home. We also make a little treat for the kids for them to enjoy so we can include them on it as well.
    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      I tend to be low-key about V-Day too, but I've had friends where it is there favorite holiday and no acknowledgement upset them, so communication is definitely key!.Have a nice night with the just you and your wife, I imagine is a rare and special treat and something you both are looking forward to!
  3. Friday, February 6th, 2015
    These are great ideas! My hubby and I avoid all of the Valentine's Day costs and craziness by not celebrating it at all. We choose to celebrate our love for each other whenever we feel like it and not because we feel pressure by an industry built around a day.
    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      Love should definitely NOT be reduced to one day, so it's great that you and your husband have similar values and don't have to stress over figuring out how to celebrate. :)
  4. Friday, February 6th, 2015
    Great article! I'm pretty neutral about the "holiday" as I don't have a SO. But sometimes friends have get togethers for us single folk so that's always fun. I just don't like when the women of FB (WOF) feel like they have to parade what their hubby/SO got them just to show that they are loved. That to me screams major insecurity, or just lack of good taste. I think there are many frugal things couples can do and be frugal at the same time. But I also think it doesn't have to come down to that ONE day.
    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      I hate it when people have to "brag" about their gifts too and agree it smacks of low self-esteem. I know plenty of people who get really nice gifts for V-day and don't feel compelled to brag about them. There is a lot of pressure of the holiday and it's kind of sad. It should be fun!
  5. Friday, February 6th, 2015
    I am not a fan of v-day, but it might be because our anniversary is so close to it. Feels overwhelming. You gave some great tips, Tanya.

    I like the treasure hunt idea. This would be something good to get the kids involved with as well.


    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      Oh yeah, that would be double the pressure having your anniversary and V-Day so close together! :) Yes, the treasure hunt would be fun to do with kids too. They would love having to solve puzzles to find the next clue, etc.
  6. Monday, February 9th, 2015
    I am a fan of Valentines Day! It's like I am challenged to formulate a very cool concept for date. This is once a year, so I'd better be my best. It's like every year is like our first date though we've been married for 4 years. That's what my wife loves about me, I am full of surprises.
    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      Awwww … I love that you put so much effort into surprising your wife on Valentine's Day. I think it can be and should be a real fun holiday and it sounds like you make it that way for her.
  7. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
    Recreating your first date is such a great idea. My fiance and I just did that and had a blast. We did everything the same right down to where we hugged goodbye in the parking lot and sent "i like you" texts after the date!! So much fun.
    • Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
      OMG! I love it, Mike! The 'I like you' texts are the best! :)
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    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan