Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a romantic. Over the years of being with Xan I’ve loosened up a bit. But, I ’m still not into the traditionally romantic things. And the forced romance of Valentine’s Day generally makes me cringe. Xan and I have never really celebrated the holiday with much fan fare. However, as the years have gone on I’ve developed the opinion that any reason to celebrate the love you share is a good one. Marriage (long-term dating, partnership, etc.) is hard sometimes. Living with someone day in and day out you see all sides of a person. Even the ones that aren’t glamorous and sexy. The ones at the end of bad day when you’re exhausted and cranky. Or, the ones when you’re sick with the flu and for two weeks you can’t think about anything besides getting home and falling into bed.

So, in my opinion, taking a little time and remembering the love you share is always a good idea. Even if it’s on this forced-romance holiday. To honor that idea in our own way we like to do something small but special. Nothing that will break the bank and nothing that will require too much planning. But something that gives us time to connect just the two of us and is a little more special than our “every day.” For us it’s about getting a chance to spend quality time together without the distractions of our daily routines, even if its’ only for a couple hours.

Here are some low-stress, low budget, high quality-time, Valentine’s Day ideas.

  1. French fries and chocolate: two of the best things there are right? This might be my favorite way Xan and I have celebrated. A couple years ago, Valentine’s Day was on a weekday so we both took off work an hour early and went to our favorite place for French fries and then trekked over to another neighborhood to a chocolate lounge type place we hadn’t been before. It gave us some time together devoted completely to us, we had a shared a new experience, and we got out of our ordinary routines. It was really perfect. Next time we do that I would go to Zuni for French fries and The Ice Cream Bar for chocolate shakes.
  2. Picnic at home (or outdoors if you live in California…): We did this one year when we were still living in NC. It was in Italian themed picnic. I made a variety of small sandwiches (my favorite element of which is still the parsley mayo – yum!) and sides. I wrapped it all up in cute paper, threw out a blanket on the living room floor, got some wine and bubble water and we spent the evening together.
  3. Cocktails at a fancy restaurant: sitting at the bar of a restaurant and enjoying a drink and some bites is one of our favorite date-night activities. Why not kick it up a notch and go somewhere fancy for a drink at the bar. All-in-all a cocktail or 2 won’t set you back too far and will make you feel really special in the mean-time. If you’re local try: Local Edition or Trick Dog. Raleighites: my favorites there are Fox Liquor Bar or Foundation. I haven’t been, but Greenlight looks promising as well.
  4. Weekend getaway: One of the best ways to reconnect is travel. Pack up and go somewhere you’ve been thinking about. This could be pricier, but doesn’t have to be. Try camping or visiting friends in another city. Last year we took a day trip to Muir Woods.  
  5. Galentine’s Day: I did this my senior year of college, long before Parks and Rec was on the scene and named the event so perfectly. My roommates and I each invited a few people over. There were about 10 of us and we each brought a dish to share. We dressed up in our favorite pink stockings and red dresses and other Valentine-y attire and made heart shaped pins laced in glitter. It was really fun. And not about the lack of “having someone” (in fact some of us did have someone), more about apply the Valentine’s Day principals to your girlfriends. Those are relationships too, and treating yourselves to a little extra quality time is never a bad thing.