Valentine’s Day among my friends is a love-it or hate-it holiday. Some of us, generally with the more romantic of significant others, love the holiday and love the excuse to get sappy with men who have seen us more often at our worst than we care to admit. Others, who may be between S.O.’s or with husbands whose idea of an acceptable Valentine’s gift is a card with a hastily scrawled “Love, John” at the bottom, it is low on the list of holidays to celebrate.
But for all of us (even those who love it), and especially those who have been with the same partner for many years, Valentine’s is something added to our long list of to-do’s, because unfortunately great gift ideas are harder to come by than a woman who can fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. And it’s likely you used those great ideas when you were in the early years of your relationship.
Well, ladies, never fear: MomsOutLoud.com has done a lot ofresearch for you and we’ve compiled a list of our favorite romantic Valentine’s gifts. Several of these won’t break the bank, either. So, browse our list, check out the links, and put a plan in place to make your man’s heart flutter on Valentine’s Day.
1. Wallpaper a room with construction paper hearts. My husband will cringe that I am sharing this with you, but it is one of the sweetest present he ever gave me. We were dating, he was between jobs at the time, and money was tight. He bought a pad of construction paper, some markers, and papered my living room walls with big paper hearts that said “I love you”, “Be Mine”, and various other conversation-heart sayings. I was overwhelmed when I came in the house, cried (of course)…..and left them up until May. Cost? Somewhere around $5 for the paper, markers, and tape.
2. Photo book of your relationship. Even if you’re not into scrapbooking, this is a pretty easy idea to execute. Just take some of your favorite pictures over time in your relationship, and put them in a mini photo album (many styles available at Joann.com like these). You could customize it easily by simply putting a favorite photo on one page and handwriting a little note that sparks a memory on the facing page. This will surely be a treasured gift for years to come, as is the one I made for my husband last year (pictured here). This entire project will cost you around $10 – $20…around $8 for the album, $2 for the 4×6 prints, and anywhere from $0 and up for embellishments (if you desire).
3. Dinner and a Movie – In. Want to save your date night for a less-busy night when restaurants won’t be so full? Plan a nice quiet evening in for you and your guy – for after the kids go to bed. One way to make it more special: remind each other of special times together by selecting food that has meaning from your history together. For instance, for my husband and me, this might include an appetizer from Cantina Laredo (first date), soup from Green Papaya on Oak Lawn (a favorite spot from dating years), dinner from Mango Thai (a frequent take-out item from our time remodeling our first home together), and a dessert of Italian Creme Cake (our wedding cake). Oh, yeah, and if I weren’t pregnant and he weren’t trying to support me by being “on the wagon”, we’d have wine from King Estates, our favorite winery from a trip to Oregon (where we got engaged). Writing up little cards for why you chose what you did and the memories you have of the time will add to the evening.
4. Dinner & A Movie – Out. This is generally a great option for Valentine’s Day. Studio Movie Grill, with locations in Addison, Arlington, Dallas, Lewisville, and Plano, has put together a special Valentine’s gift package. For $45, you get 2 Movie Admissions, 1 popcorn or chips & salsa, 2 entrees (excludes build your own appetizers), 1 dessert & 2 soft drinks (all of this is normally $69). OK, now here’s the kicker – not sure what you and your hubby may want to see. The only romantic options I could find that should be showing at that time are comedies He’s Just Not that Into You (based on the book by the same name which was great, but basically described why my first marriage failed…not why my second one is so wonderful), New In Town (which, though I am proud of native Texan Renee Zellweger‘s success, does not look that engaging), or the drama Two Lovers (whose synopsis read like a downer, though Joachim Phoenix is always a pleasure to watch).
5. A Cultural Experience. The King Tutankhamun exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the world’s premiere historical exhibitions, seen by 4 million people when it last toured 4 U.S. cities between 2005-2007. It’s encore trip to America started in Dallas in October 2008 and will run to mid-May. The 130-artifact exhibit from Tut’s tomb and other ancient Egyptian sites will fascinate you and make for some stimulating dinner conversation between you and your significant other. (It will certainly be more stimulating than discussing King Rootin’ Tootin’ Kitten Kabootin of SkippyJon Jones fame…oh, sorry, that must have just slipped out since I’ve read that book to my 3 yr old about 30 times this week.) Adult tickets are $32.50/each, last ticket sold on Saturday is at 5:30pm, plan for about 90 minutes to see the exhibit. See the exhibit’s FAQ’s page for more details. You are strongly encouraged to buy tickets ahead of time as this is a popular event.
6. Symphony for Two. Several area orchestras will be performing special romantic selections for Valentine’s weekend. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will be performing Valentine’s Pops from Feb 13-15, with some classic Broadway tunes from favorites like My Fair Lady and West Side Story ($28-92/ticket). Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra brings “An Affair of the Heart” to Bass Hall Feb 13-15, with well-loved romantic music like Moonriver and Unforgettable ($26-78/ticket). Finally, the Plano Symphony Orchestra will host their 2009 Valentine Gala “A Star Studded Evening” with Max Class and Class Act on Feb 14, which includes dinner and entertainment ($125/ticket).
7. Live Romantic Performances. If your husband is like mine, getting him to an opera or a ballet is a once in a lifetime experience. So why not pick Valentine’s Day to exercise your chit? Called the most romantic opera of all-time, La boheme, will be performed at The Music Hall at Fair Park on Feb 13 and 15. Ticket prices range from $27-over $200/each. If ballet is more your thing, Swan Lake will be performed by the Texas Ballet Theater at The Majestic in Dallas Feb 13-15. Ticket prices range from $19-99/each.
8. Dinner Cruise for Two. Being on the open water in February may not sound like a good idea…at first. But what if we told you the boat was heated?!? Yes, you and your sweetie could go out on Lake Lewisville for a romantic cruise on a *heated* catamaran for a very special evening. The Chamonix II will be sailing their special Valentine’s evening dinner cruises on Lake Lewisville on Feb 13 and 14, 7:30-10:30pm. Dinner is catered by Texas Chefs and includes seafood, filet mignon, and Valentine strawberry shortcake. $75/ticket (BYOB).
9. Couples massage treatments. Many spas around town gear up for a very busy Valentine’s week, and several run specials for the month of February. Years ago, I lamented that there were no good spa options for those of us north of 635, and certainly none that could compare to the Spa at the Crescent. I’ve been proven wrong with some of the great spa options that have opened around the northern ‘burbs, particularly Stonebriar Spa (Frisco) and Pranaa (Plano). Stonebriar Spa has several romantic packages available all month at special rates. For instance, for couples, they have a “Three Wishes” package, which starts at $287 for two 60-min massages and two pedicures. Their couples massage room is already booked for Valentine’s Day itself, but this package is good for other times during the month, too. Make it a VERY special evening with a special discounted rate at the Marriott Hotel in Legacy Town Center or Nylo Hotel at Parkwood/Preston for $85/night on February weekends, when you purchase any treatment at the Stonebriar Spa (must book through the spa). Pranaa, a gorgeous eco-friendly spa in Lakeside Market, whose entire offering is based on the timeless principles of Ayurveda and Yoga has several special packages for couples this month. Their “Romance” package, for instance, is $300/couple and includes two massages, two foot massages, and two facials. Their “relaxation lounge” is shown at right…makes you just want to sink back into those luxurious pillows, doesn’t it?
10. Helicopter ride around DFW. My friends who have been lucky enough to experience this say it is one of the best dates they’ve had. There are several options, and rates vary dramatically, so check around. Starlight Flight runs out of Addison Airport and charges $180/2 passengers/30 min ride; they also have several “romantic” add-ons you could buy like flowers waiting for your honey in the cockpit. Metroplex HeliTours runs out of Garland and charges $295/30 min (up to 3 passengers). Epic Helicopters runs out of Ft. Worth Meacham Airport and charges $295/30 min (up to 3 passengers).
I hope you find at least one of the ten great ideas helpful as you’re planning a romantic Valentine’s Day with your significant other. Enjoy!