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Valentine’s Day Alternatives: 8 Romantic Gestures You Haven’t Made Yet

Valentine’s Day is upon us again, and if you’re looking to make a romantic gesture beyond the standard dozen roses and box o’chocolates, you can choose, even now, to spice things up this year! Amp up the romance without even emptying your wallet. It just takes a little forethought and a dose of creativity!
Here’s where we’re coming from: at the end of the day, we all place a higher value on meaningful experiences and small, thoughtful gifts with stories behind them than we do on shiny material goods, don’t we? With this in mind, we’ve got a couple alternative Valentine celebration and gift ideas that won’t break the bank and will serve as unexpected treasures.

Whether you decide to go the experience route or the unique trinket route, the truest gift will be intentional, premeditated time combined with the element of surprise. Trust us, any of these ideas will create memories worth more than any stereotypical item can provide.

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1. Spontaneous Hike!

Brew up some coffee in your Yeti, grab a warm blanket and wake your loved one for an early morning hike! What says romance better than bundling up with a soothing cup of joe with a beautiful view of the sunrise? Yep. Nothing. (Psst – If you’re in Nashville, Radnor Lake is a great location for this).

Or maybe you’d like a more private respite – keep it simple and opt for a morning stroll in the neighborhood or nearby park! Fresh air is proven to automatically improve the mood, and getting outside first thing can set a positive, romanticized tone for the rest of the day.

2. Breakfast of champs!

If your person’s not a morning person, let them sleep in and make them breakfast in bed! Even if it’s a slice of warm toast and jam, the element of surprise is what we like most here. If you’re going for more of a statement though, quietly jet out of the house in secret, and bring back their favorite local coffee or donuts! Fox’s Donut Den? Five Daughters? Yes, please. There’s nothing like waking up to the aroma of freshly-baked goodness. Are we right, or are we right?

3. The Not-So-Classic Picnic!

Scenic surroundings for the perfect afternoon picnic spot in Nashville are about as common as the steeples erected on every corner, but some of the best-kept-secrets are Love Circle (a trendy, hidden hill overlooking Nashville’s skyline), Sevier Park in quaint 12 South, the wooded grounds of the Ellington Agricultural Center in Oak Hill, or even your own backyard!

Sure, go ahead and reach for every cliche here – blanket, candles, wine, cheese, chocolate – but don’t forget to put your own spin on it! A few ideas are adding his or her favorite candy or snack, bringing a hammock for two, presenting little handwritten note cards about why you fell for them, or toting a thermos of their favorite coffee, tea or cocktail to sweeten the pot!

3. Memory Lane (with a twist!)

Of course, many couples revisit a spot that is special to the two of them on Valentines – but what if you went a step beyond and went to see a show at the venue where you met, or you cook the very first meal you ate together, or go to the specific site where you first said, “I love you.” The more unusual and unpredictable, the better! For added commemoration, bring champagne or a heartfelt, handwritten letter for them to read on-site.

4. Build A Fort!

Bedecked with stringed lights, drape a sheet over your living room furniture and use lamps, blankets, and flowers to add to the ambiance! That’s right, turn off those overhead lights, turn on your favorite playlist, and watch your familiar space turn into a foreign, dreamy escape.

This provides the perfect setting for watching a movie, sipping wine, eating dessert (we highly recommend chocolate fondue and strawberries), or even a nice meal. This brings elements of childlike charm and fun to the day that provides the perfect setting for romance!

5. Scavenger Hunt!

Dial up the fun meter with this one, and create a little scavenger hunt! You can go hunt-lite here, and leave little clues or a candy trail around your home that eventually lead to a thoughtful gift or handwritten letter. Or you can go more robust and devise a hunt around around the city, leaving clues at locations that are special to you! Let the last clue bring them to either a meaningful experience like the ones we’ve mentioned here or a special gift or letter they can open. Speaking of gifts…

6. Bouquet of Flowers AND Affirmations!

This one’s so simple, but so straight from the heart! Bundle up little written affirmations with that beautiful bouquet of flowers! Think of the qualities in that person that you appreciate most. While generic virtues like “patient” and “kind” are complementary, we suggest really taking a moment to reflect on what makes that person them. The more specific the better!

What first drew you to them? What are the things you admire about them? How do they make you better? You can even incorporate inside jokes, quirky attributes, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry… Have fun with this, and watch their face light up when they read through each characteristic you hold dear.

7. Unforseen Treasure!

It may sound trite coming from us, but get thrifty! Seriously though. Buying something vintage generates more of a story around the object of choice, demanding an answer for the reason for giving. Go to a local thrift store, and find a vase, whiskey glasses or bar accessories, a piece of art, a book, a tie or a sweater that made you think of your honey. They’ll love hearing about why you picked it out!

8. Home-made = Heart-made!

If you have children, this is a fun one to get them in on! Bust out some paints, markers or even crayons and have everyone contribute to a piece of art! Even if you’re the sole artist of your creation, and you consider yourself a poor artist at that, this is something that costs nothing, but means the world.

Especially since simplistic modern art like this is super trendy right now, even little scribbles in black and white will do the trick! Just make sure to place your handmade gift in a nice frame, and voila! Be it a landscape of a place you’ve visited together, a portrait of him or her, or an abstract image of plain geometric shapes in their favorite colors, your Valentine will treasure this masterpiece forever because of one simple fact: it was made by you.

Other DIY ideas? You could make a finger-painted picture frame like this, bake something delicious, or even put together a DIY adult hot cocoa ensemble. The possibilities are endless, as long as they come from your heart.  Here’s to a happy Valentine’s Day!

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