8 Ideas to Get a Head Start For Valentine’s Day

s'more friendsValentine’s Day is less than a month away, which means it’s time to really start thinking about gifts, reservations, and exciting evenings with the one you love. Your kids will request Valentine’s Day cards and baked goods for their classes, and you’ll have to come up with something fun and unique to do with your spouse. Here are 8 ideas to help you get started.

1. Plan a Party

It’s not very common for couples to throw parties for Valentine’s Day, but it can be a really fun way to celebrate the holiday with the whole family. You can make treats, plan games, get favors, and enjoy spending time with the people you really love. If you’re feeling really generous, you can make Valentine’s Day about the kids by planning a fun party for them! Offer to watch your friends’ kids on the big night as well, and you can let them enjoy their time together.

2. Make Reservations

Valentine’s Day is the busiest day in most restaurants, so if you want to take your loved one out for a nice meal, now is the time to pick the place. Check out review sites like Open Table and Yelp to find great restaurants in your area, or just make a reservation at your favorite restaurant in town. Another fun idea is to try and recreate your first date by heading back to the first place you ever shared a meal. You should always make your reservations early to ensure you get a seat!

3. Look for Upcoming Concerts and Shows

Most of us really enjoy going to concerts, plays, and other outings. Now is a great time to see if your significant other’s favorite groups will be in town so you can score great seats. You don’t have to see the show on Valentine’s Day, but it is a great day to present the tickets as a gift!

4. Pay Attention to Hints

Let’s face it; most of us have a way of dropping hints for our partner. We talk about how fun it is to go golfing with the guys on Saturday or receive flowers at the office. Now is the time to pay attention to these little details so you can work them into your Valentine’s Day celebration. It’s not about what you want to do for them; it’s about what they want and what makes them happy!

5. Stock Up on Hearts

A fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids is to put a little heart, Hershey’s kiss, or other treat in their lunch every day in February. Now is the time to stock up on little heart toothpicks or heart-shaped candies for the month. You can even cut their sandwiches into hearts! (Tip: look for fun cheap toothpicks online now and they’ll arrive before February!)

6. Plan a Menu

While many of us want to get out of the house for Valentine’s Day, it can be amateur hour out there! Restaurants and movie theaters are often packed with people who rarely leave their homes, so if you don’t want to fight the crowds, plan a nice night at home. Now is the time to figure out what you’d like to make and serve, and you can even test out a few of the recipes.

7. DIY Décor

You’ve got about a week until February, so if you’re into decorating for Valentine’s Day, now is the time to start! Make tissue paper pom-poms, and heart-shaped wreaths to hang around your house.

8. DIY Gifts

Ah, the gifts. This is always the easiest and hardest part of any Valentine’s Day celebration! A fun twist on the standard gifts is to add a personal touch of love by making something yourself. From mustachioed mugs and personalized beer mugs for guys to photo planners and jewelry boxes for women, there are tons of ways to present a great gift with a DIY touch. DIY gifts are also great for kids who want to make something for their parents! Check out more ideas on Pinterest.

Image Source: Today Show’s Pinterest

The History of Valentine’s Day

Seasonal-Dishwasher-Magnet-ArtValentine’s Day. A holiday filled with love, flowers and chocolate. But before the chocolate, greeting cards and flowers, it was a church sanctioned holiday starting around 498 A.D. Filled with a rich and interesting history, Valentine’s Day isn’t just another made up holiday for greeting card companies.

Who Was Saint Valentine?
Because of its long history, it is hard to say who the Saint Valentine was—there were actually many early Christian martyrs named Valentine (or Valentinus). According to Wikipedia, the most popular of these Valentines was, “associated with [being] imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her.” We still use this saying to sign our cards today.

Enter the High Middle Ages
It wasn’t until the middle ages, that Valentine’s day was associated with love. We can thank the poet/author Geoffrey Chaucer for this. In his Parlement of Foules (published in 1382) he wrote: “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” A handful of other poets in this same time frame also made romantic associations with the holiday during this time.

Fast Forward to the 1700’s
It wasn’t until 1797 that we would see anything that resembles a modern day Valentine postcard. Starting in England, a publisher created The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which were cards written for those who couldn’t express their love as eloquently as they hoped. These Valentines became so popular in England that by the early 19th century they were created in factories to keep up with the demand.

Jump to Modern Day
According to the Greeting Card Association, Americans send 145 million cards each year (this number doesn’t include Valentine’s given at schools). Christmas is the only holiday where more cards are sent. This is a far cry from the beginning of Valentine’s Day. The 20th century is also when giving gifts became the norm for Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that diamonds where associated with the holiday.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? How do you show love to the special people in your life? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 5 Ideas to Woo Your Valentine


Go Gourmet

The saying goes that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but the same can be said for most women as well. Valentine’s day is a wonderful occasion to cook for your sweetheart, and crafting a meal from scratch is the perfect way to show how much you care.

Begin early in the year by gathering information – notice if they order a similar dish at every restaurant you visit, or if they gush about a particular dish they had once in their life. Also make sure you find out if there are any foods on their “no fly list”- hated ingredients or worse, foods that cause an allergic reaction. If you’re not the Top Chef type, consider having a meal catered. That way you and your lover can enjoy a bottle of wine while a team of professionals handle the work, and the clean up.

Finally, many local restaurants and even some artisanal grocery stores offer cooking classes on everything from seafood to gourmet chocolate desserts. Book a class for two and get your hands dirty alongside your valentine.

Make it into a Game
In the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, power couple Marshall and Lily are known for the epic couples’ games. In one episode Marshall creates a game for and centered around Lily, appropriately titled Lily-al Pursuit. The game featured trivia about Lily as well as their relationship, and was a fun and special tribute to his love for her.

This Valentine’s Day you can channel your inner Marshall and create a game for your valentine to play. Maybe it features fun facts about your relationship, photos or miniature recreations of special mementos or gifts you’ve shared, or even carefully planned recreations of special dates from the past year. Make sure the “winner” of the game gets a special prize at the end- a gift or a destination to make the experience a whole new experience to remember.

Focus On Their Hobbies
If you want to ensure that your valentine has a perfect day, then craft your plans around an activity that you know your sweetheart loves or has always wanted to try. If your girlfriend’s Pinterest board is littered with images of horses but she’s never ridden one, arrange a moonlit stroll on horseback and surprise her at the stables.

Likewise, if your husband likes to ride along with his pilot friend you can plan a helicopter ride over the city lights or even a flying lesson of his own. The trick is to pay attention to their interests, even if it seems like a faraway dream. That way you can turn your lover’s Valentine’s day into a real life dream come true.

Put a Little Hands on Effort into it
To make your Valentine’s Day gift extra special, put some work into it. Even if you’re not the crafty type, there are hundreds of step by step tutorials and fail proof projects online for the most novice of crafters. After all, if your seven year old self could create a masterpiece out of glue and popsicle sticks to make your mother cry, there’s no reason you can’t whip up a special something for your sweetheart by February 14th.

The reason you should consider making your gift by hand, even if you end up complementing it with something store bought, is that it shows you care enough to spend something more precious than money; your time. Some dead simple homemade gift ideas include a mix CD featuring love songs and important tunes from your relationship and a photo of the two of your as a cover; homemade baked goods; or personalized coffee or tea mugs (simply write a message on a porcelain mug with a Sharpie and the bake in the oven).

Be a Local Tourist
Even if you’re not in a position to drop big bucks on a vacation this Valentine’s Day, you and your lover can have an adventure in your own town by pretending to be new to the area. Get a free map from the local tourism office and plan your journey; check out a museum you missed when you were in grade school, have dinner at that restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out, and end the night with a walking tour or pub crawl that will point out some fun facts you never knew about the city where you live.

This is a guest post by Kyle Brigham from Personalization Mall specializing in selling personalized gifts for various life’s celebrations. If you’re looking for some great Valentine’s day gifts to woo your Valentine, check out PersonalizationMall.com.

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net