Don’t Screw it Up – Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

I warned you it was coming. All last week I told you to do something. Five days of great ideas. And what did you do? Nothing. You thought, oh, I have PLENTY of time! I’ll do it next week. Well my friend, it’s next week and you’re in a heap of trouble. Go ahead, panic a bit. I’ll be here.

OMG! OMG! OMG! I’ve screwed it up! I’m going to end up at 7-11 buying panties in the form of a rose! OMG! What do I do? What do I do?

Okay, are you back? Feel better now? Probably not. But never fear, gentle reader. I am here to help. Grab a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, a Coke, a cookie, whatever. Settle in and read for a few.

I don’t think I have a lot of dudes reading, but I’m going to make some points for dudes too, so ladies, if you want to forward this to your beloved, feel free.

Mr. Bundt and I don’t do much for Valentine’s Day. Not in the flowers/candy/out to dinner way anyway. I really believe that it’s a good opportunity to celebrate the ones you love, but there’s no need to break the bank. Jean Chatzky, who often appears on TODAY, said that it costs 60% more to eat out on 2/14 than it does on 2/13 or 2/15. Even if the economy were good, that’s way too much to sit and wait for 90 minutes for a crappy dinner at Ruby Tuesday. I’ll be honest, even if it were free I don’t think I’d want to make that my date. But I digress . . . we like to celebrate with a meal at home and some thoughtful, often homemade gifts. Now I’m not suggesting that you need to get your crafty on, it’s a little late for that, but there are generous and appropriate gifts that you can give that will make you a hero and not break the bank.

Where do you start now that overpriced flowers and crappy candy are out? You need to think, really think, and channel your inner Sweetie. What does he or she like to do? Here’s a tip. What Sweetie likes to do is NOT the thing you always SEE her doing. What? You SEE your wife running the vacuum, ergo, she likes to vacuum. You SEE Sweetie cutting the grass, ergo, he likes yard work. WRONG. However, I have received both knives and an immersion blender for Valentine’s Day and I LOVED them both. But that’s because I genuinely love to cook, I don’t think it’s a chore. Tread carefully here, if you’re not sure, err on the side of caution.

And here’s another paradox just for you guys. Your likelihood of getting some lovin’ is inversely proportionate to the sexual suggestiveness of your gift. Huh? I’ll explain. If you run to your local department store and buy something that requires Sweetie get trussed up like a turkey in a get-up that sends her into convulsions about her body image, you will probably be a big Valentine’s FAIL. Get her something that shows you KNOW her and are THINKING of HER (not yourself) when you select it, and you’re likelihood of getting loved goes WAY up. Ladies, back me up here.

Jot down a few things that you know Sweetie likes to do. Golf? Morning jog? Gardening? The Spa? Movies or a show? Make a few notes.

Now that you have a few things in mind, think about what you can do on the internet or at a local store that would be a hit. Lessons are a great idea. Does you Sweetie want to learn more about photography, bird watching, wood working, cooking, dancing? Book a class. Mr. Bundt would tell you that the BEST gift he ever got for Valentine’s (or ANY holiday) was a Beer Gram. He loves local, fancy beer. Maybe your Sweetie does too! Make a friend at the highbrow grocery store or local brewery. Even if they don’t offer a Beer Gram, they can help you select a nice assortment of beer (or wine) that Sweetie will appreciate.

If you’re my age, you have fond memories of the mix tape. Now you can burn a CD or create a playlist without having to stand by the tape recorder and waiting for the radio to play your favorite song. How about creating a playlist for Sweetie? Maybe a CD of love songs? Or, check out her iTunes Wishlist and purchase a few. Create a list around a theme. Mr. Bundt loves to run and cycle, I could create a playlist of songs that would be good for that activity. Or download a book or movie that Sweetie would like.

Cooking a special or fancy meal is a great way to spend the evening. But, during the week that can be hard. If you’re feeding the whole family, get the makings for pizza and let everyone assemble his own. Order a pizza if you’re really pressed for time, even that’s special for a Tuesday. Or, feed the kids and put them to bed while you and Sweetie enjoy a dinner of “favorites.” Pick up all your favorite snacks at the store. For us, that would be assorted cheeses, fruit, a baguette, and a bottle of wine. Pick up a specialty prepared dessert and enjoy those in front of the fire!

I’m sure Mr. Bundt hasn’t read it, but I sent him an email advertising that Alison Krauss is coming to Virginia in April. I forwarded him the email, you know, just in case. That WAY exceeds what I think is a reasonable amount to spend for Valentine’s Day, but it’s something I’ve mentioned that I want to do before. You may not be able to afford tickets to a show or to see a band, but movie tickets might be a good substitute. Or tickets to a local sporting event. Or even a date to see your local college orchestra play, often free! And, if you’re really desperate NOT to go to an event, buy two tickets and tell her the other is for her mother/sister/BFF. You get to be the hero AND you don’t have to go to the opera. I’d call that a win-win. Awesome.

I’d croak if Mr. Bundt spent $100 on the crappiest looking, yet most expensive flowers of the year. And he knows that. I would much prefer a plant that I can keep all year round. If you have a plant lover or gardener in your life, spare yourself the drama of Valentine’s Day roses (unless that’s REALLY her thing) and get a nice assortment of plants for spring, maybe some bulbs or seeds, or an African violet for a sunny window.

And if you really can’t think of or afford anything else? Write a love letter or silly poem. Don’t know what to write? Google some famous verses on love and then put into your own words what you love about Sweetie. Can’t be serious? Go the poem route. Jot down all the things that come to mind when you think of Sweetie. Then put them into verse. Rhyming is nice. Trust me, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Write it in your best handwriting or type it up in a fancy font. I promise that if it’s sincere, it’ll be a hit.

Don’t forget the kids! No kid ever grew up feeling too loved! They’re so easy! Handmade cards and heart shaped pancakes are great. Here’s a link to my FAVORITE pancakes. So easy and a great way to use up some overripe bananas. Or, make the doughnuts I talked about here. Can’t do breakfast? Offer frozen yogurt or ice cream after school. That’s great if you only have a kid or two, but if you have a herd it can be cost prohibitive. Get the makings for ice cream sundaes (with sprinkles, of course) or ice cream sodas and make a special after-dinner treat. A sweet note listing ten things you love about them tucked into their lunch bags can make the day!

I’m listing a few great printables I’ve found around the blogosphere, just in case you need something cute to attach to your gift. I know all the good cards are gone.

Perfectly Imperfect Printable

Mine For The Making Printable

Thank You Cards Shop Printable

Kiki Creates Printable

Push The Envelope Printables on Classic Play

So fess up. Are you ready for the big day? Do you and your sweetie have fun traditions? What’s the BEST Valentine you ever received?

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