I love flowers, chocolates and getting dressed up for a special date. However, as much as I like doing Valentine’s Day crafts with my children and surprising my family with little gifts, I don’t like the excessive consumerism that Valentine’s Day brings. According to the National Retail Federation, for Valentine’s Day 2014, “total spending will reach $18.6 billion.” Personally, expensive jewelry, inflated flower prices and the pressure to buy gifts (because everyone else is doing it), takes away some of the romance for me. I still like celebrating Valentine’s Day. However, if you’re like me and want to avoid excessive consumerism, but still be thoughtful, try out one of these tips.
# 1 DIY Valentines and Homemade Gifts
Making DIY Valentines is easy. For kids, you can cut a doily into a heart shape and glue it onto some construction paper with a special message. For a significant other, you can make a photo collage card with some of your favorite romantic moments. Coupons for a massage with essentials oils or a favorite homemade dinner is always nice.
# 2 Celebrate it on Another Day
Sometimes, my husband and I will celebrate Valentine’s Day on a different day. This way, we avoid the crowds and the expensive special fixed menus. I suppose it’s not really Valentine’s Day. However, for us, it’s not about celebrating on the holiday.
# 3 Be Romantic Every Day
In college, I used to work at a flower shop. Valentine’s Day was our busiest day of the year. I like flowers any time of the year. However, it means more to me to receive flowers “just because” than on a holiday where men are expected to buy flowers for their significant other.
# 4 Go Local
If you are going to spend money, consider supporting a local business. For instance, purchase some strawberries from a local farm or roses from the farmers market. It’s likely the price tag will be much smaller. You can also go to a favorite small business to purchase a gift.
# 5 Free Dates
I’m a sucker for a picnic at the beach or the park. In fact, my husband asked me to marry him after a picnic dinner near the harbor. Going on a hike or a scenic bike ride can also be romantic. Or combine the hike and a picnic for a double dose of fun. While you still have to buy the food, a “free date” is much less excessive than a four-course meal at a fancy restaurant. If you do go this route, make the meal special with things like wine, long-stemmed strawberries (local, of course) and a delicious homemade pesto with pasta.
Once in awhile, I like to wear a little black dress, go to the fancy restaurant and order dessert too. In addition, I’m not going to argue if I receive presents on February 14. In fact, I would be a little sad if my husband didn’t do anything for me on Valentine’s Day. At the same time, I like to avoid excessive consumerism on Valentine’s Day. After all, love isn’t about money…at least for me.
More from Melissa:
Unique Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Children
6 “Mom-Approved” Kid Activities for Valentine’s Day
Fair Trade Chocolate for Valentine’s Day