7 Valentine’s Day Ideas That Aren’t Terrible

Roses? Boring. A box of chocolates? Overrated. Do you want to really make this Valentine’s Day special? Here are 7 alternative ways to celebrate February 14 with that special someone.

1. Make Dinner Together

Don’t waste time (and money) in an overcrowded, overpriced restaurant. When it comes to a Valentine’s Day meal, you want to go for a unique, memorable experience. Imagine how many other people simply go to Yelp and type in “Romantic” and “takes reservations.” You’re better than that! So think outside the box.

Don’t worry if you aren’t a Michelin-starred wizard in the kitchen. Spend a little time researching recipes your partner may like (YouTube is a great place to start) and do your best. They will appreciate the sentiment and the thoughtfulness of the gesture. 

Or better yet, make dinner together! Sharing kitchen duties can be a fun way to work together, and makes actually sitting down to eat that much more rewarding.

Here’s a list of some recommended meals to get you started.

2. Don’t Buy a Card…Create One

Don’t get me wrong – cards are nice and all, but the store-bought variety represents the bare minimum of effort. You’re basically outsourcing the job of expressing your feelings to Hallmark .

If you’re going to give a card, make it yourself. Again, don’t worry if you aren’t Henri Matisse. It’s the thought – and the message inside the card – that counts. Take some time to craft a personalized message that gets to the heart (cringeworthy pun intended!) of what you think about them. Don’t rush it – really think about what you want to say, and try as hard as you can to avoid the standard love clichés. In other words, don’t simply Google “love poems” and crib some Tumblr poet’s work.

Need more ideas for a Valentine’s day card? Pinterest is always a great place to start.

3. Make a Mix-Tape…90’s Style

*Shaking a cane* Back in my day – the decade commonly referred to as 1990s, we didn’t have iTunes or Spotify. We bought CDs and cassettes, and carried around awkwardly bulky Discmans (Discmen?)  and Cassette Players in our enormous JNCO jeans. It was quite a time to be alive.

We also used to make mixtapes for our special someone. These were curated mixes on tape of our favorite love songs, complete with lovingly-sharpied tracklists. Nowadays, most people just create streaming playlists, and if they do want to share the love, they’ll just text you a link.

Thankfully, some companies are bringing back 90’s mixtapes with a 21st century twist: USB flash drives in the guise of a blank cassette, loaded up with your favorite songs.

Simply download a playlist and add it to the flashdrive inside. Wrap it nicely, include a tracklist, and voilà – you’re romancing like it’s 1999.

4. Buy a “Things I Love About You” Notebook

If you’re having trouble putting your thoughts into iambic pentameter or sonnet form, no problem: go the Buzzfeed route and make a list.

Urban Outfitters sells cheap notebooks that allow you to fill in the blanks with all the things you love about your flame. It’s like Madlibs, but for lovebirds.  Maybe not the centerpiece of your gifts, but it’s a nice thing to throw in that they can (hopefully) treasure for many years.

5. Book a Couples Massage

While it may be tempting to give your partner a massage, you should probably leave it to the professionals. You don’t want to hurt anyone, after all.

Booking a couples massage at a spa is a great way to share a relaxing experience without breaking the bank. While you’re there, you can enjoy a steam, a facial, a rock…bath? I don’t know, I’ve never been to a spa.

Either way, it’s a fun way to spend an hour or two and set a comfortable, chill mood before dinner.

6. Buy a Bouquet of…Reese’s

Okay, this may be the fact that I haven’t eaten yet today talking, but Reese’s is now making a Bouquet (available at Walmart, of course) for that special sugar fiend in your life. Ignore all the 1-star reviews, and simply look at how beautiful it is.

If Reese’s isn’t their thing and you want to go a bit more classy (or healthy), you can always try Edible Arrangements or chocolate-covered strawberries. Make sure you have a clear idea of what your partner likes, however. You don’t want to send them to the hospital because you weren’t paying attention when they talked about their deadly peanut allergy…

7. A Night at the Museum

Museums aren’t for bored middle schoolers on a field trip any more!

 Get dressed up and take your partner for an evening at the local art museum. Many museums (like the Guggenheim in NYC) offer evening tours, complete with cocktails, wine and cheese. It’s a lovely (and educational) way to spend a few hours strolling about, looking at beautiful paintings and discussing what you see.

Most art galleries are within walking distance from excellent restaurants, too – just in case, you know, you’re not brave enough to follow Number 1 and attempt a meal of your own.