If you’ve ever received a hand-written love note, you’ll know how wonderful it is to read words chosen just for you. Why not apply the same thinking to voicemail? If a rendezvous isn’t possible on Valentine’s Day, phone your beloved at a pre-planned time. Leave a message telling the story of your favourite memory together, a secret you’ve never shared with anyone, or the thing you love most about that person. (By the way, any of these can be applied to children, best friends or siblings, because sweethearts come in all shapes and sizes).
Not one for sentimental cards or gestures? Maybe dinner on the 14th of February is too cheesy, too expensive – or it’s simply not possible to head out for the evening. Instead, get up with the sun and spend time meditating or stretching together before the household begins to stir. Twenty minutes of quiet contemplation is the perfect way to connect before the day’s busy current carries you away from each other.
You may have sleeping children or flatmates next door, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking time to gaze at the stars together. Download a stargazing app like Star Walk and perch side-by-side at the biggest window in your home. Together, learn about the constellations and solar system, while sharing a mug of something warm and comforting. And don’t forget to pile on blankets for maximum cosiness.
Take the day off together and map out an itinerary of activities you don’t normally have time for in the evenings or on the weekend. Browse a bookshop, go to the cinema, see an exhibition or stop for a long, lazy lunch – whatever it is that you love doing together, take time out to do it. This might mean using up a day of holiday or booking childcare, but the freedom and novelty of a day off will more than make up for it.
If you opt to exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day, don’t just hand them over – turn it into a game. Write clues on scraps of paper that lead your partner through your home and, finally, to the present that you have so thoughtfully chosen or made. Don’t overthink it – clues can be really simple: ‘Page 24 of my favourite cookbook’ or ‘taped underneath your favourite coffee perch’. Get the kids involved too, if they’re up for it.