When you flip to this week in your Happy Balance Planner, you’re going to find that not only is it mid-February already, it’s also the week where there is lots of love in the air. Valentine’s Day always seems like a hot or cold holiday for people, with no in between. People are either a big fan or they chalk it up as a Hallmark Holiday and think it’s a total chocolate scam. What do you think? Are you team Valentine’s Day? As a huge fan of chocolate myself, I do not oppose any holiday that invites the gifting of more chocolate (!!) but Jor and I have always taken the day as just another opportunity to show each other that we care and appreciate the other.

We spent our first Valentine’s day together 11 years ago and it was about two weeks after we started dating. You can imagine that we were both walking the fine line between wanting to acknowledge the day but then not wanting to go over the top and totally creep the other out after dating for a whopping two weeks. Our solution (really Jor’s): he invited me over before my morning class and made me breakfast, which is my favorite meal of the day so it was an easy “Yes”. We had homemade pink pancakes, because why not pink on V-day,  scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and bacon. The best part is that 11 years later, this Valentine’s Day tradition is still going strong and the only change is that we do breakfast for dinner and fresh fruit is swapped out with chocolate covered strawberries. It’s my favorite date night in!

We like to think of Valentine’s Day as a day to shine light on who matters most to you. It’s not about any grand gestures, shiny presents or even the chocolate (well…maybe it’s a little bit about the chocolate!), but instead it’s about taking that extra minute or two to show and tell someone that you see them, you hear them and you appreciate them and everything that they are to you. Of course you don’t need February 14 to roll around each year to remind you to do this, but when it does come around, we see no reason not to take advantage of the day.

In case you are still thinking of what to do for your favorite gal pal or your other half, we put together a few of our favorite gift ideas that are light on the pockets and heavy on thoughtfulness!

  • A Bundle of Favorite Things: Instead of thinking a good gift has to be big, expensive and flashy, we suggest putting together a small bundle of the person’s favorite things. Get a cute box or basket and fill it with all the things that brighten that person’s day and think in broad categories here: food, treats, hobbies, knick knacks, and entertainment. It might help if you pick a single theme for your gift. We’ll give the example of gifting to the person who loves their workouts. You might fill their box with a new snazzy water bottle, a cute new tank, yummy pre/post workout snacks and their favorite go-to items that help them freshen up after class (for your gal pals think rose water spray). The whole point is that you show someone through their favorite things that you listen, you pay attention and you understand them and their passions.
  • Cozy in a Box: Especially right now in the winter months, all you want to do on the weekends is stay inside and cozy up on the couch. If you know someone that would nod their head in agreement, this is for them. All you need is a new cozy blanket, warm socks (think thick wool socks!), their favorite tea/coffee, and even a new cute mug. If they have a love for reading, go ahead and pick up a book you think you’ll enjoy as they cozy up on the couch with all their new cozy gear!
  •  A Meal Cooked with Love: Rather than cooking just any meal, cook your nearest and dearest their favorite meal. I come from a family where food was part of the celebration and taking the time to make something from scratch is truly appreciated. If you’re not a frequent visitor to the kitchen, no worries. The fact that you tried for that special someone is going to be appreciated. If you aren’t up for making an entire meal, no one will ever say no to a homemade dessert! It might sound strange, but in my family of bread lovers we also consider homemade bread as the equivalent of a bouquet of flowers. Either way, trade out store bought with an apron and a little time in the kitchen and get to work making some food with a touch of love!
  • A Love Note…Mad Lib Style: The simplest thing you can give your nearest and dearest are your words of truth about why they matter. It might be the least expensive gift you can give but it also might be the most meaningful. We like to sweeten things up a bit for our Valentine’s Day notes and include conversation hearts. Grab a bag of hearts, a piece of paper and some glue and start putting pen to paper. When appropriate, add the phrases from the conversation hearts into your note, total mad lib style! It’s fun, different and calls for some creativity that is a sure way to bring a smile to that special someone. Bonus: the hearts never go bad thanks to being pure sugar! This was the first Valentine that I gifted to Jor and after 11 years, it’s still going strong with all hearts fully in tact!
  • A Date in the Future: If you are still just not jumping on the Valentine’s Day bandwagon, we’ve still got a gift idea for you. Instead of making a big deal about THE Valentine’s Day, why not gift a date in the future? Plan a fun outing, a special meal, or just a cozy night in with your favorite on a random date in the near future, but you let them know on Valentine’s Day. We totally agree that there is absolutely nothing special about the date February 14th so plan something special, mark that date in your Happy Balance Planner, and just keep spreading appreciation, joy and love all throughout the month and year!

Whether it’s February 14th or February 15th, there is never a wrong or bad day to show someone that you care. There is never a bad day to pour into someone else, to support them and to show them they are seen and appreciated. In fact, maybe you take the rest of February to do one good deed for at least one person each day to spread the love. Maybe you leave a short and sweet sticky note for your favorite at home wishing them a great day (Jor leaves me stickies at least twice a week) and then maybe you buy coffee for the stranger behind you in line.

The takeaway: Little actions that are fueled by meaning and heart truly add up.

So carve out more time to give to the stranger that looks like they could use a hand and to the person that ignites a true passion in you and help spread a little more love and more joy. More of those two things is ALWAYS a good thing!