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Let’s be real: Valentine’s Day has become harder than it ever should have.

Women put far too much expectation on this holiday. But seriously, the reason some women do that is they feel it’s the only time they can force their guy into doing something thoughtful for them. Treat your best girl, you know, like your best girl for the other 364 days a year and she won’t make a scene about Valentine’s Day. True story.

Really and truly, all a girl wants to know—and wants to feel—is that she is worth the effort. Your effort, to be precise.

Say you arrive home from work on Valentine’s Day and forgot to make any sort of dinner plans, forgot to get her flowers and/or you mutter something like, “Valentine’s Day is lame anyways…it’s not even a real holiday.” All she heard is what you communicated: she is not worth your effort to plan ahead of time for a nice evening. And if she’s not worth your A-game on Valentine’s Day, she probably feels she won’t ever get your A-game.

Don’t mistake big and spectacular for meaningful, either. There is a huge difference. A simple but meaningful gesture can go a million miles further than a fancy dinner.

For me, this holiday doesn’t mean much on its own, but has developed into one of my favorite nights of the year because my husband and me developed a little tradition for V-day. Feel free to steal it.

On Valentine’s Day, Bryan and I eat at home; a drink, an appetizer, a main course and dessert. We are each responsible for two of those meal components, with the stipulation that all elements pertain to something we did in the previous year.

Last year, my husband did margaritas for a drink (a joke from our honeymoon) and breakfast burritos, which was our first breakfast together while in Vancouver for our honeymoon. I put together a cheese platter for an appetizer—a shout out to my birthday picnic Bryan prepared for me in the summer—and made bread pudding for dessert. We ate a knock-your-boots-off bread pudding a couple of months earlier at Perini Ranch, a mouthwatering steakhouse in non-mouthwatering West Texas.

It makes for a fun night, because we don’t tell each other what we are making, and when the big reveal happens, we get to laugh, maybe cry a little, and relive good memories from the last year. I also love eating the weird food combinations.

I can’t tell you what I’m making yet; that would ruin all the fun! I have the drink and main course this year.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. If you try this as your V-Day celebration, let me know how it goes!

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