Celebrating Valentine’s Day can be confusing depending on if you’re newly dating, or have a February 14th tradition with your steady squeeze.
While ignoring Valentine’s Day will put you in the dog house if you’re in a relationship, the financial and emotional pressure of ignoring the most romantic day of the year doesn’t need to cause so much stress that you’d rather ‘Netflix and Chill’ at home all by yourself.
In fact, a survey from the National Retail Federations shows that about $143.56 was spent on Valentine’s Day last year per person, and $2 billion was spent on flowers alone! Men also tend to spend twice as much as women do on Valentine’s Day, with $4.7 billion being spent on jewelry!
So what do you get that new crush who asked you to be his or her Valentine?
New Relationship Gifts
I’m a believer of keeping it simple when it comes to going on a date with someone you’ve just met. What do you do if it’s just your second or third date, or if you’ve been dating for about one month?
Start the day by sending a Happy Valentine’s Day text or cute meme from Giphy in a text message to show you’re thinking of them.
When it comes to gift giving, you can never go wrong with bringing chocolate, flowers, coupon books, and gift cards.
To stand out and not over-do it, remember to pick up a card, and pen a hand written message, grab a bunch of red tulips to show you’re not smothering your date, and stay away from jewelry and lingerie.
If you’ve waited until the last minute, most grocery stores have terrific floral departments, where you can easily pick up a single rose and a box of candy
Dating for 3 – 6 Months
Couples who have already defined the relationship, but aren’t at the stage of committing for the long haul need to have a conversation with their partner on what Valentine’s Day means to them, and schedule the day/evening accordingly.
I spoke with a single guy who started to complain to his dates about how much he hates Valentine’s Day, and thinks gift giving and romantic gestures should be celebrated on birthdays and Christmas only. I was a bit stunned, and asked him if he liked football. He said he loved watching football. I then asked him if he watched the Super Bowl, and he said he wouldn’t miss it for anything and went to a great annual Super Bowl party.
RELATED: Why Valentine’s Day for Women is Like the Super Bowl for Men
I then brought up my analogy of how Valentine’s Day for women is like the Super Bowl for men. It’s THAT important. He understood, but again said it was a Hallmark holiday and not for him. I asked him if he fell in love with someone, would he celebrate Valentine’s with his partner?” He said no. It wasn’t for him.
I get it. Valentine’s Day can be expensive, but if in the first few months with someone you’re interested in isn’t being honored, you just might not make it to the summer.
At this point in the relationship, sending flowers to women in advance to be delivered before Valentine’s Day is a great idea.
If you have dinner plans, bring a gift or a token of your relationship, such as a framed photo of the two of you from a recent getaway, or a sterling silver key chain, which shows your date that they have the key to your heart.
If you want to give a gift with an experience, give him a gift card for a massage, a shave, or tickets to see his favorite sporting team when they’re in town.
For the woman in your life, add in a gift card for a facial, mani-pedi, or a ten-pack of movie tickets, so you can continue to plan movie dates together
Long Distance Relationships
Being away from your SO on Valentine’s Day can make even the most romantic couples feel lonely. Use technology as your best friend, and set up a Facetime or Skype date, where both of you are dressed up as if you were together IRL, have a glass of bubbly, and order dinner from your date’s favorite restaurant to nibble on during your video date.
It’s a great idea to send a card and care package in advance if you’re not living in the same city, state, or country. One year, my long-distance boyfriend sent me gift cards to Sephora to get a makeover , The Dry Bar for a blowout, before he arrived in town with his dozen hand selected long-stemmed roses. It was thoughtful and showed that he planned in advance, and I enjoyed getting ready for our romantic date.
Dating for 6 – 12 Months
By now, you probably have a toothbrush or even a key at each other’s place. If you haven’t exchanged keys, putting yours in a card on Valentine’s Day shows a level of commitment to the relationship.
At this point, depending on your budget, you could order a sterling engraved money clip or cuff links for him, and a sterling heart for her. It shows the sentiment, and ramps it up on the most romantic day of the year.
Since Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year, and right before the long President’s holiday weekend, you can plan a trip away, or celebrate Valentine’s all weekend long, when the restaurants aren’t as booked up.
The folks at Pinhole Press came up with this fun Infographic, if you’re stumped on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, and as an early adopter of the Internet, has been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades.
FOLLOW @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram
Julie Spira is America's Top Online Dating Expert. She's an award-winning dating coach who's been helping singles find love online for 25+ years. Follow @JulieSpira on IG.