Women love surprises. They do. Any woman who says they don't mind if you didn't plan anything on Valentine's Day is lying. Despite this, many men often neglect special occasions and leave it to chance, making dinner reservations or buying flowers at the last minute. Remember, it will be even more difficult to secure seats on Valentine's Day this year because February 14, a Sunday, also happens to be Chinese New Year.
While a woman appreciates surprises, sometimes, she will take matters into her own hands and plan the date just to make sure something happens. Don’t let her. Give her excuses like it will be chaotic all over the metro because of two holidays landing on the same date, and pretend to write a rain check for your Valentine's Day date. Then go ahead and make a reservation, anyway. Here are a few ideas for husbands to make Valentine's Day sweet and romantic this year.
1. Dinner: In the City, Out-of-Town or At Home
A nice dinner at a good restaurant is always appreciated. Many restaurants will have a special Valentine's Day menu, offer special dishes and desserts for the occasion, or even have lounge singers or bands to serenade their guests. Try to make reservations as early as a week ahead (more popular places might even be fully booked by then) and be sure to ask for whatever special items would be available that day.
Since it will fall on a Sunday, couples aren't restricted to dinner plans. Quiet lunches work well, too. Because the metro is expected to be rather busy on that day, consider making reservations at a restaurant out of town like in Antipolo or Tagaytay but be sure to anticipate traffic. Another alternative, which may even be the most romantic of all, is for you to prepare dinner yourself. Think of a menu ahead, making sure to keep the selection simple and romantic (e.g., pork sinigang doesn't qualify).
2. Gifts: Flowers, Jewelry or Dessert
A bouquet of flowers is another basic romantic gift that should make a woman smile. Knowing that flowers are more expensive on Valentine’s day, it would be prudent to purchase them ahead of time. Most flower shops will take pre-orders and down payments for bouquets, and will also have a list of flowers they'll have available then. Your partner's favorite flower would be best but a dozen roses will do just fine.
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Those with deeper pockets can opt for jewelry. Ensure that you buy ahead of time and hide it away. If you're eating out, you can also persuade the maitre d’ (secretly, of course) to have your gift brought out with your dessert. Unless you are advised by a designer, stay clear of giving clothes or shoes (yes, women love them but they also enjoy shopping for them themselves)!
Ordering a cake or other dessert is also a good option. Many shops and bakers offer special items for Valentine's Day. Look through Multiply to find unique goods from home-based bakers. Make sure to order early as these entrepreneurs are almost always booked with orders weeks ahead.
3. Handwritten Letter: During Dinner, Via Special Delivery or Post-Its
Handwritten letters are a lost art. It doesn't have to run several pages long the way letters did in the old days, but a short letter expressing how much you appreciate your partner will be treasured and conceivably even be the subject of some romantic drama in the distant future. Use nice paper and try not to use a ballpoint pen. Hand this over during dinner after the flowers and you should be on your way to Valentine's Day gold.
Have it delivered or if you have kids, make one of them your special messenger. You can also opt to write little notes on small Post-Its that you can strategically place in her dresser, on the bathroom mirror, on her laptop, or anywhere that you think she might look on that day. Small reminders of how much you appreciate her, or encouraging words and compliments will brighten her day immensely.
4. Digital Ways of Declaring ‘I Love You’: Facebook, Text Message or YouTube
Upload a romantic picture (if it's of you and your partner, make sure she looks her best!) on Facebook and write a romantic note. Show her that you're proud enough of your love to declare it to the whole cyber world. Needless to say, send her a text message, too, maybe even as the clock strikes midnight for Valentine's Day.
One special and romantic gesture you can also do is leave her a video message on YouTube. If you're gifted with a singing voice, why not sing her a song? If you're good enough—or maybe even if you're really, really bad—you might even generate a good number of views.
5. Say It with Handmade Art
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Anything can be a great gift, as long as it's done with a bit of effort and a lot of love. Those blessed with creative gifts should take advantage, too. Many great works of art have been inspired by or dedicated to a loved one, so even though you won't be constructing a Taj Mahal, any creative endeavor made for your partner will always be a special thing.
6. Pamper Her
Try to make it a point not to have your partner do any chores at all. Make sure she's spared the dishes, the laundry, or anything that needs doing around the house. Give her a massage. If that doesn't work for you, you can always treat her to one. Better yet, treat the both of you—there are plenty of spas that offer couple’s massages.
7. Romantic Movies: Out in the Mall or at Home
If you love watching movies, you can also use the day to catch a nice romantic comedy either in the cinemas or cozy up at home with a DVD.
The farther ahead you plan, the better your chances of coming up with something great. Booking a hotel whether in Manila or out of town will take proper scheduling, and many of the best places will be fully booked. Don't worry, though. For many men, expectations will be set low. Most men aren't known for making a fuss out of Valentine's Day. So why not surprise your partner by actually making an effort to make Valentine's Day truly special? Women love surprises, after all.