I will confess up front that this post is a little bit self-serving today.  Knowing my husband like I do {and the fact that he asked me what I want again last night} I am sure that he, like many guys and gals out there, has no idea what he will give me tomorrow for Valentine’s Day.  Now I am firm believer that there is no need to wait for a “greeting card” holiday to profess your love or give your sweetie an unexpected gift but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the fact that tomorrow is a day we Americans have set aside for just that kind of thing.  I know many will say “I shouldn’t have to give a gift because the card, chocolate, and flower companies say so” and you are right but…. you should do something special for the people you love no matter what day it is.  Sometimes  making each other happy is more important than taking some philosophical stance against silly holidays.


So to help all you last minute shoppers out there here are 5 tips to help you figure out exactly how to make your Valentine swoon…


1. Make a Grand Gesture

Everyone enjoys feeling like the center of attention sometimes.  By definition a grand gesture is uncharacteristically spectacular, risky, or involves some kind of sacrifice (think time, money, personal preference) in an effort to demonstrate your love.  That means that no matter your budget you are capable of creating a grand gesture for your loved one.  Are you shy but she loves public attention?  Show up at her office with flowers or a special picnic lunch hand delivered by you.  Think about what he/she likes that you don’t and make an effort to give it to them anyway.  Do you crave a night on the town but your partner would happily stay home?  Skip the reservations at the hottest new restaurant and cook a quiet dinner at home instead.  Are you always frugal?  Splurge on an expensive gift {just keep it within your budget- Valentine’s Day debt is not a grand gesture!}

2. Be Thoughtful About the Message You Send.

The key to gift giving is thoughtfulness.  Whether you give a tangible gift or some kind of service or activity (dinner, a concert, a massage) make sure that your gift sends the message you intend.  It is truly amazing how careful listening and attention to detail can help you find the perfect last-minute gift.  A vacuum for your wife when she’s been recently complaining about your lack of housework is not likely to send the message of love… but if she’s been suffering from allergies and wishing for a special hypoallergenic model- all of a sudden the same gift might be viewed as a message of deep care and concern for her health.  The magic is in the message.  Even the smallest token or handmade gift can become amazing if you are able to convey the right message.

3. Remember Her Love Language.

Speaking of messages… it’s key to be sure that whatever message you send is spoken in her primary Love Language(s).  As Dr. Gary Chapman explains in his classic book, learning your partner’s Love Language can make all the difference in keeping you connected and fulfilled.  If his Love Language is touch then a massage from you might be all that he really wants while someone else whose language is Gifts or Words of Affirmation may be disappointed with a gift like that.  Want to really turn it up… create a grand gesture incorporating their top 2 or 3 Love Languages.  Don’t know their Love Language?  Visit Dr. Chapman’s site to figure it out now.

4. Support His Interests.

In most couples, each partner has a variety of individual interests that are not shared by the one they love.  For example, I have many interests that my husband is not all that interested in, like interior design, pretty paper & stationery, typography, cooking, party planning, good espresso, quality chocolate… well you get the idea.  The point is that having separate interests is great but occasionally it is nice to share those with each other.  One way you can show your partner love is by encouraging and supporting their passions.  Do they love art?  Plan a special date to a museum or gallery {a nice low cost option if you live in the DC metro area!}  Are you in love with a sports fanatic?  Take the to a game or buy some new equipment if they like to play more than watch.  Even something as simple as a Starbucks card can be seen as incredibly thoughtful if you hate coffee but you know that they are addicted to er… enjoy it.

5.  Ask an Expert.

When all else fails… ask an expert!  While you may consider yourself to be an expert on your partner and their interests, the odds are that they have a friend or family member who knows them pretty well too.  A quick call or text to someone that spends lots of time with them or shares their taste and sense of style can probably solve your gift-giving woes.  Ask their best friend, a sibling, or even your children and see what ideas they can come up with.  There is no shame is getting help… there is only shame in not making the effort to show your love.

And if by chance your Valentine shares our taste in gifts here is a our latest Pinterest Board full of gifts that say “I Love You”