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Alternative gifts for Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day is almost upon us again and every year I struggle to embrace the ‘holiday’. On a material level, I reject the idea because you shouldn’t need a particular day of the year to express your feelings. That said many still use it as an opportunity to ‘give’ something to their partner or loved one. In recent years it’s become equated with buying something. If you have a fair amount of money to spend then buying chocolates, flowers and dinner at a nice restaurant is easy. It’s nice but it’s far from original and doesn’t require any creative thinking.

Here is our list of other ideas for giving something a bit different:

1) Write a letter of appreciation and gratitude. With e-mail, text, Facebook and Whatsapp, letter-writing has become a lost art. You can’t delete what you’ve written in the same way that you can with technology. It feels more authentic and heartfelt when you write something in a letter.

2) Choose an experience that you can share. Create a new memory. Sports fanatic? Try hiking, rock climbing or a sky dive. Foodie? Cooking class, picnic or make a three-course meal at yours.

3) Offer your skills either to teach to provide an experience. Offering to teach your partner a skill needs to be done with some care. It may not be well received if you’re trying to get them to learn your native language, when they’ve showed no intention or interest in doing. Be tactful. Perhaps you can offer to build something that has been sitting in packaging for a while.

4) Be a tourist at home. You don’t have to whisk them away to somewhere abroad at a high expense. Enjoy the attractions in your home town or city. Find woods to explore or a lake to have a picnic by.

5) Give an alternative bouquet. It feels like a waste to get flowers and have them only live for a few days before they die. Get your partner an alternative bouquet made of something edible or a house plant so that it can be enjoyed in a different way for longer.

6) Have a group date at someone’s house. If you have any other couples in your group of friends who don’t like the traditional dinner date out at a packed restaurant charging premium prices for the ‘holiday’ then suggest a group date at someone’s house.

Or don’t celebrate at all. Tell your partner you love them at other times during the year and appreciate them in ways beyond giving a gift. Be original and thoughtful. Happy Valentine’s Day.