How to properly handle Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

As holidays and special occasions go, Valentine's Day is a relatively easy one for you to take care of. All you really have to do is to stick with the standard customs of this holiday that were laid out for all us guys many decades ago. Now you may be the type of guy that likes getting creative and doing your own thing (which is admirable), but it's not at all necessary to reinvent the wheel here. The requirements of Valentine's Day are as straightforward as it gets, so follow along and you'll have a plan in place for the rest of time.

On every other day of the year, flowers are a symbol of love...but on Valentine's Day, they're more than that. They're actually the most important part, because Valentine's Day flowers represent "romantic love." They're supposed to let your gal know that you still find her attractive, and that you're more into her now than you've ever been. This doesn't mean that you have to spend your whole paycheck on some huge arrangement though.

It starts with the type of flower...and you can never go wrong with roses. You might think that something like orchids or lilies could have a bigger impact on her. It's possible, but they would likely have only a marginally different effect, if any at all. Also, most of us guys don't know the difference between a well or poorly arranged assortment of orchids/lilies, so you'll have to trust a florist to put something together for you if you choose this route.

Want to keep it simple? Just buy her some roses. They're an automatic winner every time.

A dozen roses is a good number to go for. Two dozen roses won't make her happier, but a half dozen won't being her down any, so don't sweat the size of the arrangement. Just make sure they're done up as fancy as can be.

Go to a legitimate florist for this job (not the grocery store), and have them jazz up those flowers. Let them wrap them in a bow, add a little card, and whatever else florists do for special arrangements. Do not simply hand your gal a bundle of plain roses. That's no way to romance her on Valentine's Day.

Flowers are a start, but you need to get your gal a gift to go with them. Not any gift will do though. Understand that your gal is expecting something romantic that's traditionally given on Valentine's Day. That means jewelry, a bottle of her favorite perfume, and/or candy.

Candy is a good option if you don't make a ton of dough, as heart shaped-boxes of candy have long been associated with Valentine's Day.

Buying her just a few bars of Snickers won't cut it. She may like Snickers, or Pop Rocks, or lollipops, but those aren't romantic, so save them for another time. Get her a beautiful box of chocolates or an elegant arrangement of other candies instead.

Here's a way to tell if you've picked out the right set of candy. Imagine laying beside her in bed and sharing a bite of it with her. If that candy seems to fit well in this scenario without killing the romantic mood, then you're on the right track. If not, put it back and pick out something else.

Another romantic gift idea is a bottle of her favorite perfume. It's romantic because she'll choose to wear it when you take her out on dates.

I've written about perfume in a separate tactic, so I won't go into it all again here. Suffice it to say that gals are very particular about their perfumes, so don't try to break in a new brand or aroma on her. Just replenish whatever brand she's already in love with, and let her explore new scents on her own. (You don't want to accidentally give her some smelly perfume that you thought might be good just because it came in a pretty bottle.)

If you've got the money, then jewelry makes for the best Valentine's gift. Aim for the romantic type of jewelry though, as in something she won't want to wear every day...only on special occasions.

A necklace with your kids' names on it is good for Mother's Day, but not on Valentine's. A charm bracelet is fine for Christmas, but it's not romantic.

Instead, go for a beautiful bracelet, fattened up with a bunch of gems. Get her a long necklace that would only go with a low cut or backless dress. Find her some dangling earrings that would look good while on a date in a classy restaurant. If you're married, buy her a ring with a big rock on it.

Think along these lines and you'll have what you need to navigate all the jewelry options out there. One final note though...the quality of the jewelry matters. Read up on the differences between high quality pieces and inexpensive costume jewelry in the tactic I wrote about how to buy jewelry.

Other gifts
Can you get her a different type of romantic gift instead of the standards (candy, perfume, and jewelry)? I advise against it. The further you get away from the traditions of Valentine's Day, then the less it's going to feel like Valentine's Day. So instead of replacing these gifts with other items...simply add onto them.

You can give her something like a blouse or a sweater, but also get her that box of candy. Give her a photo album if you like, but get her some perfume as well. You could even give her a car, but as good as that gift is, you should get her some jewelry too.

In a gal's mind, cards go hand in hand with gifts, so you can't forget the card. It may not be a big deal to you, but it greatly enhances the gift for her, and that's all that matters. Pick out a greeting card and fill it with a few romantic lines about how much you love her. (This is Valentine's Day after all.) Pop that card in an envelope and your gift is complete.

You could write her a longer letter if you like. But if you decide to do this, you should write it on some nice paper and seal it in a colored envelope. (White envelopes are for the post office...colored envelopes are for greeting cards.)

In the week after Valentine's Day, every friend and family member of your gal who she speaks with will ask her where you took her to celebrate, so you had better make it something special. The last thing she wants is to admit to her closest people that you took her to some dive restaurant, or worse...nowhere at all. Here's your plan to avoid that travesty.

First of all, take her out in the evening for dinner...not breakfast or lunch. Breakfast and lunch are for Mother's Day, and you want this Valentine's Day dinner to feel completely different from that. Remember, you're going for a romantic vibe here.

Second, choose a restaurant that you've never been to before, or a favorite place of yours that you rarely frequent. Basically, when you walk into the restaurant together, it should have a fresh kind of feel, so avoid every place you've eaten at in the last few months.

Third, you don't have to take her out to a super expensive high end restaurant, but it should be someplace where you'll need to dress up at least a little bit. It doesn't need to be a place that requires a suit and tie on your part, but it should at least be a place where a button up shirt would be appropriate. This gives your gal a good excuse to dress up, which is part of what makes Valentine's Day special for her.

Fourth, get your reservations early. Valentine's is a busy day for restaurants, so you can't expect any place to have room you if you haven't planned ahead. I guarantee you that getting turned away because you didn't have a reservation is about the most unromantic thing you can do on this day. Plus, any guy who has his act together should be able to handle a simple dinner reservation. (And in case you didn't know this obvious fact...gals are impressed by guys who have their act together.)

Missing in action
If you know that you'll have to to work in the evening and can't make it for a Valentine's dinner, tell your gal way ahead of time so she won't feel like an "afterthought." Let her know that it's an important night for you and that you want to make sure the two of you can celebrate it properly. Assure her that even though you're shifting dinner to another night, it will be every bit as special.

And if you won't be able to see your gal at all on Valentine's Day (not even in the morning), then you'll need to find some other way to connect with her on that day (February 14th). Write her a note and leave it for her to open that morning, arrange for her flowers to be delivered to her in the afternoon, and call her if possible in the evening. Spreading these things out lets her spend the day knowing that you're thinking of her. And then when you finally make it out to dinner...that's when to give her the gift(s) you bought her.

Last thought
Could you do something extra incredible by taking your gal on a weekend getaway for Valentine's Day? Of course you could, but you would still need to make that special dinner, flowers, card, and a traditional gift part of your weekend.

The bottom line is that handling Valentine's Day is pretty easy to do, because sticking to the basics is all that's required to make your gal completely happy.  

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