Six weeks after the big year end holidays, another gift-giving holiday appears -- Valentine's Day. While this day is limited to only one gift for a loved one, it can still present financial and emotional challenges, particularly when buying gifts for women.
If you have the means to buy a gift for a woman, you might go the traditional route of chocolate, flowers, jewelry or dinner out. For me, after a long and happy marriage that actually started on Valentine's Day, none of those sound unique or desirable. I'm very particular about both my chocolate and jewelry and prefer to buy my own. My home already has flowers in it, and I don't care to face the Valentine's dinner crowds at restaurants offering rigid seating times and a limited menu.
I do usually celebrate my anniversary and Valentine's Day with a dinner out on another day that week or a weekend away, although I don't feel either is necessary. Despite the ever-increasing desire to decorate life with the most expensive luxury items we can afford, I prefer consumable gifts that provide an experience. While this type of gift can be expensive (vacation, cooking classes, club memberships, etc.), it can also easily be free.
If you're a woman, and the idea of a free "experience" gift resonates with you, give a list like this below to your partner for those upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and, yes, Valentine's Day. Your list may look different than mine. If you're a man reading this, ask your partner how she feels about receiving something free and from the heart. Use the list below as a start and come up with your own free gift list. Of course, you can always package a free gift with a paid gift too.
1. A body or foot massage.
2. A free day to herself without the kids.
3. A home-cooked dinner, including clean up.
4. A playlist of her favorite songs.
5. A cleaned house, including laundry.
6. A offer to completely plan your next vacation.
7. A love letter (read aloud).
8. A "chick flick" movie night.
9. A digital album of her favorite photos.
10. A walk or hike together.
The simple things you do for a loved one are often the most appreciated and welcomed. And don't forget, words can be gifts too. For example; "I love you," and "Thank you for everything you do," are priceless.