Expressing affection on Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank

valentine's day cookies

By Michelle Scheu

Bah Humbug. Oh, you think I am in the wrong holiday season, do you? Nope, Saturday is Valentines Day. The commercialism of affection and appreciation is rampant and alive and well in 2015. Unfortunately, this often sets unrealistic expectations for millions of American women and warps what could be a great opportunity for people to genuinely express their appreciation for each other.

One of my guilty pleasures is a teen chick flick John Tucker Must Die. In the movie, three girls who discover they have all been told they were “the one” by their high school heartthrob, band together to get revenge by making him fall in love with a fourth girl, who is to break his heart. One of John Tucker’s first steps to woo this girl is to send hundreds of roses to her, delivered in the middle of chemistry class. Every girls’ fantasy for romance, right? Unfortunately, this sends a message that the level of care and affection someone has for you is directly related to how much money they spend and how lavish the gift is. Call me crazy, but I would rather receive a single daisy from someone who never sends flowers than to be inundated with expensive bouquets.

So, how can you express affection and appreciation to those you care about without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas:

  • Make cards. They don’t have to be fancy. Nothing says “I love you” like taking the time to make something. Think you are not creative enough to make your own? Go to Pinterest where you can poach other people’s ideas or just do what I do and cut out red and pink hearts and glue them together.
  • Write a note of appreciation. It only takes a few minutes to let someone know how you feel about them. In a world where most of what we hear is negative, a few moments of positive feedback can make all the difference.
  • Buy an individual candy bar and tie a ribbon around it to give as a gift. Really, who needs that whole big heart shaped box of chocolates anyway?
  • Bake cookies. Everyone likes cookies. And if your special someone can’t eat cookies, there are plenty of small snack ideas to give that are vegan, gluten free or ideal for the person with diabetes. I have found that tailoring your gift of food to special dietary needs is always appreciated. Food is nurturance in the most basic sense.
  • Make coupons. One of my favorite gifts from my kids was a set of coupons made on scrap paper that offered to take out the trash, stop arguing, etc. that I was to use when needed. Cost-$0. Meaningfulness-priceless.
  • Spend time together. You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant. A picnic in the middle of the living room or going for ice cream works too. It is the time together focused on each other that is important, not the setting.
  • Tailor your flower giving. Did you know that different flowers have different meanings? . Say what you mean and mean what you say. An accompanying card with a note about why you chose this particular flower for this particular person speaks volumes.

And if you want to learn about the history of Valentines Day to somehow include in your message to that special someone, check this out:

Remember that good feeling you got back in the third grade when you got to open your nicely decorated Valentine box to read the Valentines you got from everyone in the class (because back then your mom made you give a Valentine to everyone whether you liked them or not) and then you got to eat sugar cookies and talk to your friends instead of doing math? To me, that is how Valentines Day, and every day, really, should make you feel.

Happy Valentines Day!

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