5 Things: Valentine's Gifts from the Heart

I don't know about you, but Valentine's Day is a little like New Year's Eve to me - lots and lots of expectation for a reason no one really knows. I love the opportunity to tell people i love them, but I loathe the cheesy card/teddy bear/dozen roses cliché. It's just not my style. 

Jordan's and my Valentine's tradition is to write each other a letter, then spend the evening gorging on pizza, champagne, and playing board games. It sounds a little trashy, but it gives us the opportunity to enjoy spending the day with each other without getting wound up in the gift-getting part of things. (It's also because both our birthdays are in January, so the idea of doing a gift per month for three months in a row is a little excessive. Ha!) 

So, in that vein, here are some ideas for the sweetheart in your life that won't break the bank and didn't come from the Hallmark section of the grocery  store: 

1. 52 reasons. 


This idea actually comes from something I saw my brother's girlfriend do for him a few years ago. It's THE CUTEST and so thoughtful! You write a reason on the back of each of 52 playing cards, then bind them together by hole-punching each card as you go. Your Valentine is left with a handmade booklet personalized by you. It's so sweet. 

2. Cook a meal. 

My mom's kitchen as she cooked our New Year's meal three years ago.

My mom's kitchen as she cooked our New Year's meal three years ago.

I mean, this one's a no-brainer, right?? Cooking for anyone is so romantic and such a labor of love - especially cooking something you don't particularly enjoy eating yourself. The other night, I made Jordan a bone-in ribeye because he is a steak person occasionally and I am a steak person absolutely NEVER. I think he appreciated that meal more than most I've cooked because he knew that I'd gone so far out of my way to do something he enjoyed. If cooking isn't in your comfort zone, branch out and give it a shot - more than ever, there are easy, healthy recipes all over the Internet. 

3. Plan an experience together. 

One of my favorite "experiences" with Jordan - wine tasting! 

One of my favorite "experiences" with Jordan - wine tasting! 

Of course, this experience could be expensive (you could choose a concert or a trip), but it could also be something as simple as planning an entire day of activities for you and your sweetheart. Maybe you wake up, eat a diner breakfast, pack a lunch, go on a hike, have a picnic, sneak a glass of wine, come home, play a board game, and watch movies by the fire. IDEAL. The point is, you've put thought into what the recipient would enjoy doing and taken the "Well, what should we do now?" out of the equation. After all, you remember the memories you make, not what the other person spends.

4. Write a letter. 

Confession: I am a letter hoarder. If you've EVER written me a letter (or even a note in middle school, I'm sorry to admit), I probably still have it in a box in my basement. Jordan regularly threatens to put them all in a yard sale because they take up so much space, but I can't part with them! Something about the placement of pen on paper is so romantic to me, even if it's not a love letter. Writing a letter to your Valentine, whether it's platonic or filled with gooey sentiments, is a timeless gift. The act of sitting down and creating mental space in order to put your thoughts on a page is so thoughtful and special, this one is a knockout gift every time. 

5. Sweeten the deal. 

Photo c/o my fabulous friend Caroline, the pastry chef who made these. 

Photo c/o my fabulous friend Caroline, the pastry chef who made these. 

Okay, I know I already listed "cook a meal" as one of them, but come on. We have to talk about dessert. Hand-rolled truffles are some of the most fun (and messiest) things to attempt, especially with a friend or partner. It's worth a shot. In the end, even if your truffles look like they were made by a hyena, they'll still taste great and you'll both be covered in chocolate. If that's not a win, I don't know what is. 

However you celebrate, I hope you jam-pack your Valentine's Day with extra gratefulness for the loves in your life, whether they're romantic loves, Galentines, buddies, or sweet members of your family. You're certainly one of mine, reader!