Image: By Natalia

Whether you are dating, in a new relationship, or you’ve been married for nearly 30 years like us, celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to break the bank. It’s about expressing yourself authentically in your relationship. Consider these ideas to celebrate with the whole family or your significant other without incurring great expense.

Reasons to celebrate Valentine’s Day:

  • Social Norms: Most women (51%) and men (68%) are disappointed if they don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with their partner.
  • Ideas for the whole family celebrating Valentine’s together 
    • Baking Valentine’s Day cookies together
    • Hosting a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt
    • Doing Valentine’s Day crafts
    • Hosting Game night (unless your family is super competitive)
    • Having a family discussion based on Moments Generations
    • Playing cards or poker with wrapped candy or chocolate prizes
    • Enjoying Karaoke evening with chocolate prizes for the winners
    • Wearing matching PJ’s and popping popcorn
  • Ideas for couples celebrating at home 
  • Hosting a romantic comedy movie marathon
  • Preparing a romantic meal together
  • Ordering in advance from your favorite restaurant
  • Ideas to create a romantic date night at home
    • Dress as if you are going out on the town!
    • Ordering or making a fun dessert
    • Lighting candles
    • Setting the table with china (if available)
    • Playing music

Ideas for Long-term Relationships or Married Couples:

  • Married or in a long-term relationship? – 3 ways to wow
    • Consider Our Moments Couples to create meaningful dialogue
    • Load images (or enlist family help) of fun travel on VIDDAY and add personalized Valentine’s Day thoughts
    • Locate your virtual wedding images, videos, or physical wedding album and relive the humorous times together
    • Plan future travel, potential vacations, and agree to ask for time off
    • Ideas to create a romantic date night at home
      • Dress comfortably
      • Include favorite desserts
      • Light romantic candles
      • Use china, your best dinnerware, or borrow some
      • Set the vibe with music

Social norms: Newly Dating? Frugal Ideas for Celebrating

  • Social Norms from Science 

The Majority of women (85%) and men (76%) celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone they have been dating for at least 6 months.

  • Newly dating? Celebrate without breaking the bank
  • Enjoy a car date with pre-ordered dessert, music under the stars
  • Make it game night unless you are super competitive! Consider Original TableTopics, Charades, Pictionary
  • Enjoy a romantic comedy movie marathon
  • Cook a romantic meal together
  • Order in advance from a new restaurant

Social norms: Long-term Dating & Proposing:

  • Long-term dating – Is Valentine’s Day the day to propose? Social Norms from Science: Proposing marriage
    • Customized proposals to marry are popular, with very few guidelines about how to pop the “the big question.”
    • Some days and seasons are just more popular, specifically:
    • Every year, 40% of marriage proposals happen during the months between November and February. The most popular days are:
      • December 25 (19% of engagements occur in December)
      • December 24
      • January 1
      • December 22
      • February 14
    • Historically, this has been a romantic time to propose with a ring
    • Today, many people customize proposals
    • Some couples just aren’t ready yet, find the process too pressure-filled, or aren’t interested in rushing, or have a personal plan
    • What’s most important: make it a meaningful and genuine moment
    • Social norms evolve and it is a personal preference

How to Graciously Accept a Valentine’s Day Gift

  • A few elegant guidelines:
    • Look at the gift giver, specifically in their eyes
    • Smile with your mouth and eyes
    • Say “thank you” immediately as you receive the gift
    • Warmly thank them for their thoughtfulness
    • Open the card first because the sentiment has more than the gift
    • In the US, open gifts in front of the giver who went shopping
    • Express your gratitude verbally by:
      • Thanking them for this specific gift
      • Complimenting the gift giver as well as the gift
      • Mentioning the gift giver’s name
      • Saying the specific words “thank you”
    • Gently handle the gift, and avoid roughly tossing it to the side
    • Avoid removing the gift from all its packaging
    • Write and mail a handwritten note of thanks

Valentine’s Day may look different again this year in 2022. Let’s view this as another opportunity to be creative. Build on these tips and customize your own Valentine’s Day 2022.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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