By Sheryl Smolkin
St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. However, the celebration of Saint Valentine did not have any romantic connotations until Chaucer’s poetry about “Valentines” in the 14th century.
Today Valentine’s Day is a huge marketing opportunity for florists, jewellers and the candy industry. As soon as the Christmas decorations come down, malls are decorated with hearts and flowers.
It’s actually rather nice to have something to celebrate when spring is till several months away in most of the country. But if you want to give your loved one roses, chocolates or dinner out at the local hot spot, you may have to pay premium prices in mid-February.
When I was researching romantic, inexpensive Valentine’s Day gifts, I found Sheryl Kurland’s list of 50 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Sweetheart (without looking cheap). I’m not much of a “do-it-yourself” person so many of her ideas exceed the time and skills I possess. But here is an edited list of the 10 suggestions I like best:
- Make a framed group of photos (or photo collage) of memorable occasions you have celebrated together, in chronological order.
- Burn a CD with meaningful music like the first dance at your wedding, songs from musical you saw on your honeymoon and the lullabies that were the only thing that put your baby to sleep.
- Leave a love note on your partner’s pillow along with a chocolate truffle or two and a single rose.
- Create an in-home spa day for your mate. Put together a basket filled with inexpensive candles, bubble bath, rose petals, facial mask and scrub. Hand her towels warmed in the drier when she is done.
- Make a marvellous dinner for two. A home-made steak or lobster dinner is much less expensive than a pricey restaurant meal. And you can never go wrong with traditional cherry cheesecake for desert.
- Give your lover Valentine’s Day IOU coupons: I will make dinner. I will do the laundry. I will walk the dog for a week.
- Write new “updated” wedding vows, both serious and humorous and share them with each other over a glass of wine in a candlelit room.
- Make homemade chocolate-covered strawberries: 1) Melt a package of chocolate chips in a double boiler and add a small amount of oil; 2) Remove from heat and quickly dip the strawberries into the chocolate; 3) Place on wax paper and refrigerate for several hours until chocolate is firm.
- Get the kids involved. Help them make cards or print them off the internet. Make a special breakfast including pancakes, waffles or even buttery croissants from the local bakery.
- If you don’t have a special sweetheart, focus on bringing a smile or laughter to everyone you come in contact with on Valentine’s Day.
Can you suggest other inexpensive romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your idea is posted, your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.
If you would like to send us other money saving ideas, here are the themes for the next three weeks:
|14-Feb||Retirement savings||Pros & cons of available savings vehicles|
|21-Feb||RRSP/SPP deadline||How should you invest your retirement savings?|
|28-Feb||Debt reduction||How to eliminate debt|