Every long-term couple knows it takes genuine effort and thoughtfulness to keep the spark alive. You might deliver planned-out birthday or anniversary outings every year, sure, but you also need to remember the tried-and-true goodness of hunkering down and staying home—even on special days like Valentine’s Day.
So far, you’ve managed to dish out a steady flow of charming excursions and romantic dinner for two ideas, but you know deep down that you both just want to be together, without the pressure of getting glammed up and hitting the town.
Ditch the conventional Valentine’s Day ideas and make your night at home together super special . . . without all the stress. Jump-start your imagination with these suggestions, then choose one to personalize for your special someone:
Update Tried-and-True Traditions
Ask yourself: what’s your partner’s favorite thing to do today? Then: how would it change for date night?
Consider doing your sweetheart’s favorite thing (yet again) this Valentine’s Day. Instead of reinventing the wheel, enhance it. If you always watch the same movies, make it a marathon. If you usually revert to playing board games, challenge your partner to an all-nighter.
If you enjoy stargazing together, give your special someone the Starwatcher Telescope by Barska and spend the evening exploring the skies for about the same (or less!) as you’d spend on dinner out.
Turn Up the Heat
Spice things up with memorable dinner for two ideas. Before you panic, don’t worry—this idea doesn’t require hours of recipe searching or ingredient shopping; or chopping, slicing, or dicing, for that matter.
Let a chef do the prep work, and you can simply cook the meal. The magic is in taking credit for both. A Smart and Simple Meal Kit from FreshDirect is the perfect way to score the deal, with dinners that come prepped and pre-measured.
Snag Some Carry Out
Looking to do even less than barely-any cooking? Early Italians put the “Rome” in “romance,” according to lovey-dovey experts at Harvard University, so it’s only right to consider a classic Italian dish among your top Valentine’s Day ideas.
Before leaving the office, phone ahead to your local Italian place and place an order for takeout. Get a truly rich traditional dish, like the classic Fettuccine Alfredo from the Cheesecake Factory. Ask any Italian: fettuccine is more comforting than Pagliacci and requires much less (that is, zero) rehearsing.
Set the Mood
Even the best Valentine’s Day ideas can feel forced without good music. Smart romantics know music can soften any mood, so whether you’re cooking at home, getting carry out, or ordering in, keep Luciano Pavarotti – Pavarotti: The 50 Greatest Tracks on low volume. Something about the tenor’s style romances a dish so you don’t need culinary or conversational ninja skills to set the tone.
Sweeten the Pot
You want to be thoughtful without all the fuss of a fancy outing, so rig the dessert course to ensure you still convey how special the evening is to you. This is no time to grab a candy bar or cookies from the grocery store.
Need specific ideas? Check out 1-800-Flowers, where culinary romantics deliver sexy sweetness when you need it most. Browse the company’s array of Chocolate Covered Strawberries and you’ll feel comforted just knowing they’re on the way. Plus, this may be your favorite part of the evening. Don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is for couples, and that includes the gift-giver, so let yourself get excited for the final course.
When you’re trying to live up to someone else’s idea of a good time, then, sure, this romantic holiday can be stressful for everyone. But with these smart ideas, you’ll simultaneously ease that tension and charm your honey without spending months of preparation—or tons of money.