Five ideas to capture the essence of Valentine’s Day

It has become a challenge for every holiday: how to honor your intention, not business qualities. This is especially true for Valentine’s Day.

How did Valentine’s Day come to be the most romantic holiday? Well, Valentine’s Day began as a celebration of one or several early Christian saints. There are a number of stories about martyred saints with this name. But the holiday was first associated with romantic love around the 12th century, when it was linked to courtly love. Geoffrey Chaucer, the English poet, popularized the holiday with his poetry on “Valentine” in the 14th century. The holiday continued to evolve until, in the 15th century, lovers commemorated the day by giving each other “Valentine’s” cards and flowers or sweets. Eventually, printers began creating “Valentines” that express affection in creative ways for people to give themselves and, in later years, mail. The style of Valentine’s cards varied over time, from tintypes to lace-trimmed paper to decorative crowns.

What can you do to recognize Valentine’s Day and show your affection for your beloved? Here are some gift ideas that involve more than ordering red roses from the florist (although that’s a wonderful start to the celebration):

1. Make it an opportunity for both of you. Prepare a special Valentine’s dessert. If your Valentine is a chocolate lover, make a mini chocolate cake: one for each of you. Maybe one with a molten chocolate center would make it a really special event! Or just make a fancy version of his sweetheart’s favorite dessert.

2. Find a nice photo of the two of you and place it in a very special frame. You can make one (construction paper and lace trim) or buy one. Give it to him or her with a poem you wrote yourself.

3. Build a Valentine box by locating an old wooden box or a small metal one. Fix it up with glitter, rhinestones, or ribbon. Or even, if it’s wood, take the time to restore it to a shiny, satin wood. Inside, place a special gift. Maybe a gift card or “IOU” for some activity you can do together. After using the gift, your Valentine can use the box for other items. But the memory will last for years.

4. Using heavy paper, cut out hearts and fold them. Inside, place different messages of love. You can even use this gift to make it “Valentine’s Week” by placing heartfelt messages around the house for him to find. Alternatively, you can include photos of the times you’ve spent together and put them in the hearts that you scatter around the bedroom or in the places where your Valentine relaxes.

5. Plan a romantic evening. Make reservations at a romantic or favorite restaurant. After dinner, place candles around the living room or bedroom to set the mood, or continue. Perhaps place a bottle of wine nearby to toast another year of love. Rent a romantic movie for couples and watch it together. Or play soft, romantic music to lift the mood. Remember, this is your time to appreciate each other and the loving feelings you share. Perhaps you can conclude the evening with a sensual massage.

In the busy life that is typical of modern society, we rarely make the time to focus on one person. Make this Valentine’s Day special by giving the gift of time and you to your loved one.

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