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My Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day seems to be a somewhat controversial holiday, both from a frugal standpoint and from a relational standpoint, and I thought I’d throw my two cents out there. I have a sort of a love/hate relationship with it, so I’ll share my thoughts on that and then tell you what fun things we do to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

What I Hate

I really dislike the way that marketers treat this holiday. If I never see another jewelry ad that basically says, “If you love your wife, you’ll buy her an expensive piece of jewelry.” or “She’ll love you if you spend oodles on jewelry/She’ll hate you if you don’t.” it’ll be too soon.

(I think being nice to your wife year round is a much better way of showing love, by the way!).

It’s not just jewelry either…I’m not a fan of the tons of heart-shaped doodads that fill the stores in January and February.

Oh, and how could I forget the enormous stuffed animals? Because apparently, you can’t just tell someone you love them…you need to buy a giant red teddy bear with “I love you” embroidery.

Love 365

Valentine’s Day comes around once a year, and I don’t at all think that it needs to either make or break a relationship.

What matters in a relationship is the day-to-day relating, not the size of a rose bouquet or the number of diamonds in a necklace.

If a couple treats each other like garbage the rest of the year but goes all out for Valentine’s day, I don’t think that’s a sign of relational health any more than I think that skipping V-day altogether is a sign of poor relational health.

On a related note, I also think that it’s kind of silly for a person (usually women are the ones who do this!) to have a complete melt-down if the significant other forgets Valentine’s Day or doesn’t come through in the way she/he expected.

Really, what matters more? One day, or 364 days?

What We Do

We obviously don’t go all commercial for Valentine’s Day, and neither do we view this day as the only day of the year wherein we must be nice to each other. To us, it’s just a handy excuse to do some fun things.

So what DO we do?

Well, as I mentioned on our menu plan, my husband and I have a tradition of ordering a more-expensive-than-we’d-usually-consider seafood meal for our celebration. We started this on our first Valentine’s Day back in 1996 and have continued ever since. We get to avoid the restaurant crowds and restaurant prices, and we still have a delicious, special meal that I didn’t have to cook.

I’m really jumping ahead of myself, though. The fun of Valentine’s Day around here starts on February 1st, not February 14th.

A number of years ago, I heard a suggestion that I thought my husband would really appreciate, so I gave it a try and he LOVED it. We call it The 14 Days of Valentine’s Day (sort of like the 12 days of Christmas!).

Starting on February 1st and continuing through the 14th, I give my husband a small gift every day. These gifts range from his favorite candy to a homemade dessert to a fun t-shirt to an MP3 download (and some other spicier things that I will not mention!). I repeat some of the ideas from year to year, but I try to throw new things into the mix too.

This year, my husband decided to reciprocate, and I’ve been getting a huge peppermint patty or a chocolate-covered marshmallow heart each day, which has been fun (and tasty!).

We also make cards for each other with handwritten notes inside (I personally think the handwritten note is the best part!).

We don’t leave our kids completely out of the fun…every year, we get them a little box of chocolates, and I also usually make heart-shaped frosted sugar cookies with them (a disastrously messy but fun activity).

And this year, since Valentine’s Day landed on a Sunday, I made heart-shaped pancakes for them at dinnertime by pouring pancake batter into my heart-shaped cookie cutters.


What do you think? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If you do, share your frugal ideas in the comments!

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Friday 10th of February 2017

I enjoyed reading this and your other blog posts, and agree whole-heartedly. The commercialism is basically emotional blackmail for profits!


Tuesday 18th of February 2014

Unfortunately, my husband doesn't get off easy with a card and roses. This used to be his typical "go to" every Valentines Day but I recently reminded him that I don't even like roses nor do I like him paying $100 for something he can get any other time of the year for $25 at Sams. It also kills me to turn a card over and see that he paid $8-10 for a card. Unfortunately, when I see the price of a card, I can't get over what I could have bought for that $8-10. After all, $8-$10 translates a home cooked dinner for two nights for the family. What I DO appreciate is a gift that costs nothing, but shows that you took the time to think about what I would like and what would make me happy.

My kids have always been good at recognizing my desire for a more homemade Valentines Day with carefully thought out gifts of car washes or something like that. This year, my husband finally got the hint but perhaps in an effort to please me, errored in the wrong direction. So be careful ladies what you wish for!

This year, my husband skipped the roses and card wrote me a hand written card on one of the hearts I had scattered on the walls throughout the house. It was nice but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that I didn't at least get a foot rub or my car washed or something like that.

My 18 yr old son on the other hand bought me an arrangement of 24 tulips (my absolute favorite), wrote me a handwritten card and gave me a "jar of hearts" (a jar filled with origami hearts that he spent hours carefully folding)...and, my son made me my favorite dinner, heart shaped steaks and homemade baked veggie fries. I quickly realized 1)I've succeeded in raising my son to be a good husband 2)my son needs a girlfriend to spoil (although I'll miss him spoiling me) 3)my husband finally got the message on what I don't want but, missed the boat on what I do want (ie. foot rub...bath tub cleaned...floors mopped..etc).

My absolute favorite this Valentines Day was the "jar of hearts" from my son. Because I recognize it took forethought, and I recognize that the entire time he was folding the hearts, he was thinking of me.

So Valentines Day around my house is, the kids cooking; decorating cupcakes as a family; the kids hiding in their rooms for hours making homemade gifts; me staying up late cutting out hearts and decorating the bathroom mirrors, etc. Oh yes...and a husband that's still trying to figure out what the kids have already mastered. Probably because I raised my children to be that way....but my husband was raised by someone else. So our kids have the advantage. But I do love the fact that my husband got the hint and didn't fork out $115 for roses and a card.

Sarah the Happiness Advocate

Friday 14th of February 2014

I actually love Valentine's Day, but not for jewelry or expensive gifts. I have always loved mail, and this was a day to give and get lots of mail -- even in school! I associate the red foil hearts, stickers, and glittery things with that type of fun. I like that I don't have to spend a ton of money on it, but can still feel thoughtful. This year I did send cards to my friends and family, but I found an unopened package of Hallmark Valentine cards at our thrift store for $2.00! So I didn't even feel wasteful about selling them. I also made Valentine's doggies out of pipe cleaners, which you can see photos of on my blog here: if you're interested.


Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Valentine's Day now falls into the category of Christmas--commercialization instead of fun. And it is forced romance so a lot of people can feel left out. Each person needs to make it a simple, do something nice day whether it be for someone else or for oneself. For a small gift for my family and friends, I made peanut butter filled pretzels dipped in chocolate. In the past I have bought chocolate covered strawberries at a local bakery. Do you have any idea how many chocolate covered strawberries can be had for the price of a dozen roses??

Food Waste Friday | It’s Protein Waste Week, apparently.

Friday 26th of February 2010

[...] when I made a Key Lime Pie for my husband (it was one of the 14 things I did for him during our 14 Days of Valentines). I was going to scramble them up for breakfast or use them in baking and somehow, I just never [...]

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