7 Ways to Save Valentine's Day When—Oops!—It Slipped Your MindBy Lisa Palac
It's here, February 14th. And that means you're pretty much required to show your lover some serious love. But perhaps you have a resistance to this holiday because you feel it's not a real holiday, just some made-up thing by the greeting card industry. Or maybe previous Valentine's Days have been let-downs or screw-ups, so you're pretending you don't care and telling yourself that your beloved doesn't really care either. Or maybe you do love candy hearts, red roses, and love poems from Shakespeare, but somehow, here you are completely empty-handed. Whatever your reason, you've waited until the last minute to think of a way to celebrate, yet you want it to be something amazing and absolutely perfect that shows you really put a lot of thought into it. No problem. We have you covered.
- Romance in a bottle. This is the accompaniment to all of the suggestions below. It's a crowd-pleaser. First, get a bottle, any kind: empty or full, refilled or new—as long you can open and close it. Make a label that reads, Romance in a Bottle. Blind-fold your partner and then place it in their hands. When the time is right, have them take off the blindfold and at the next perfect moment, have them open the bottle. You, of course, create the magic that will spill forth.
- Hike to a beautiful place and pack a gourmet picnic. Think of a new place with a gorgeous view, a lush setting, or a magical off-the-beaten-track location. Make a plan to hike there with her. Shop for all of her favorite foods and load them into your backpack. Bring a blanket, some flowers, and instructions for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation so you can brush up on your life-saving skills. Here's the key to success: Come prepared. Think of everything. Love is in the details.
- Travel around the world. What if, in your part of the world, you can't hike to a beautiful vista? Then pick a place on the globe where you know he's always wanted to go, and travel there in your imaginations; Beijing, Bombay, Baja, and Baltimore. First on the list, food. Using the Internet, find out what the local cuisine is, then either cook it yourself (fresh or frozen), order in, or take-out. Even if it's not exactly what a native would eat, remember that your heart is in the right place. Next, create the atmosphere. Find a streaming radio station that plays music from your chosen spot. Make signs that say "128 Miles to (insert location here)." Write up a list of words or phrases that embody local color and practice them together. And how do you say "kiss me" in Zapotec?
- Try a new workout together. Take a break from your regular exercise, and give yourself over to what she likes best. You could surprise drop-in on her favorite class, or make a date for a P90X2® workout together. Alternately, you could make February 14th the day to finally try the new thing she's been so curious about: vinyasa yoga, surfing, stand-up paddling, kickboxing, Tai Chi, pilates or a power walk at sunrise.
- Put on a show. Displays of love that include a bit of vulnerability are the most deeply appreciated kind. Going out on a limb for the one you love has a profound impact. Seriously. So, especially if you can't sing, sing a love song. You don't have to memorize the words. (You can print out the lyrics.) Whatever you do, you must put your soul into it. If you've never read poetry, recite a poem. If you don't dance, put the needle on the record and give it all you've got. Creative attire and candlelight are encouraged.
- Try a 3-minute love meditation. There are all sorts of meditation practices designed to evoke various states of consciousness, but this quickie is all about love. It's a simple meditation that can heighten your sense of well-being and open your heart. First, get comfortable. Sit across from each other in an upright position—in chairs, on the floor, with pillows or support if you need it. Next, close your eyes and begin to slowly breathe in and out. When you're ready, say, "I am love." It's helpful to say, "I am" on the in-breath and "love" on the out-breath. Now have your partner join in. Continue to say it out loud or silently to yourselves. If your mind wanders, just come back to love. You can do anything for 3 minutes, right?
- Rosy foot massage. Ah, the old Valentine's Day massage idea. But this one is scaled down to a manageable size with a few heart-shaped details because, let's face it, giving someone a full-body massage is a lot of work. First, throw a white sheet over a comfortable chair and another one underneath the chair. Scatter the scene with fresh rose petals. Checklist: a large plastic tub filled with warm water, marbles, sea salt, and a squeeze of fresh lemon; a towel; lotion or massage oil; soft music and candles. After the delicious foot soak, rub the lotion in your hands to warm it up. Next, take one foot at a time in your hand and travel up and down, from the base of the toes to the pad, to the arch, to heel, and back again. Remember to be gentle on the toes themselves. When you're done, keep your hands on your partner's feet for one quiet minute.
Done the wrong way, Valentine's Day can seem like an expensive, corporate chore. But if you follow a tip or two above, it doesn't have to be. Even if you wait until the last minute, a little thought and planning can make you a romantic champ in no time, without contributing to Hallmark's lonely hearts club coffers.
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