If Valentine’s day brings out the cynic in you, it’s probably time to look at things a little differently rather than abandon it completely.
Don’t get sucked into the shallow, commercial tat that gets churned out of the high street every February. Use this time as an excuse to stop for a moment and do something special for the one you love, or even better…the people you love.
This time of year shouldn’t be exclusive to those in a relationship, just a time for showing some affection and if you can stomach it, extend that beyond the month of February. Forget trying to be ‘romantic’, try to do something that’s genuine and loving. If you stick to that rule of thumb you’ll probably find that things get a little less cheesy and what you give or do on the day may have a little more substance than some heart shaped chocolates and a teddy bear that says ‘I love you’.
With this in mind, I tried to think of the a valentines gift that does just that. Something that is truly about giving and is solely about the person you’re giving the present to. The first thing that sprung to mind was an idea that a friend had created for their first wedding anniversary present…the gift of dates or tokens.
There are a few versions of this that I love. Some are more expensive than others but all are personal and could work just as well as a birthday present or a gift for a friend as well as a loved one. The dates or tokens can obviously range from the sublime to the ridiculous depending on the person you’re giving them to. That’s the beauty of this present. If you really put your mind to it, it can either be hilarious, or lovely, or both depending on your approach.
I’ve seen some pretty inventive versions of this in terms of presentation, but even the least creative among us could pull this together easily. All that’s needed is a bit or thought, some envelopes and paper or card (nice ones if possible!) and then to follow these basic steps…
Firstly, decide which approach you want to take….how many gifts do you want to give? It could be a date a week or a token a month depending on what your budget is or the amount or time you have together.
If you’d like to plan dates or events that you and your partner can do each month, get them booked or stick a place holder in the diary to get them booked. Then write down the details in a sealed envelope with the month written on the outside.
If you’re veering towards this option, think about seasonality when you’re coming up with the ideas; a gig ticket in spring, a boat on the Norfolk Broads in Summer, Ice-skating in at Somerset House in December, for example. They’ll get to open this present at the start of every month, so you’ll be earning brownie points the whole year through!
Getting those dates booked in might feel like a lot of work initially, but it’s a great way of creating a structured, pre-planned excuse for you and your partner (or friend) to get out of the house and have some quality time together. Especially if you have kids of busy schedules to deal with.
Alternatively, if a date a month seems a little expensive, tokens are a great option. You can handover tokens in envelopes too, spacing them out into monthly tokens or just hand them over in one bundle and let your partner or friend decide when they want to cash them in.
You could even make it a lucky dip. We’ve found some great examples of ‘date’ or ‘token’ jars like the one above…you put your hand in, grab a piece of rolled or folded paper, and what you pick is what you get!
With either option you just need to think carefully about the things they like doing or the things that would make them feel truly pampered or special.
You need to be a little mindful that if your relationship is new, a years’ worth of dates might be a little overbearing. In this instance, I’d opt for tokens!
If you’re struggling to think of ideas, here are some simple and cost effective tokens suggestions we found…
Dinner cooked every night for a week
Date night at a venue of your choice
1 x Babysitting voucher – night out with the boys
Breakfast in bed every weekend for a month.
Washing up for a week.
Foot massage for 30 minutes.
Hoovering for a week
Chocolate on demand for a month!
For lots more inspiration on presentation and ideas for dates and tokens, take a look at our Pinterest board ‘Love Fool’ and get creative!