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Phoenix Forward

5 creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

It’s time to think outside the heart-shaped chocolate box. Those red roses, chocolates and dinners out aren’t just trite, they’re expensive — and in today’s tough economy, who needs that? Instead of resorting to clichés, consider some of these creative Valentine’s Day ideas to break out of your romance rut without breaking the bank.

1. Create shared memories.

Create shared memories

Whether it’s going on a picnic, spending an evening by the fire or cooking a meal together, these simple shared activities can not only be very romantic, they can help solidify your relationship for the long term. “I’m a strong proponent of ‘creating memories’ through shared experiences,” says Marilynn Irvine, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist and area chair for the Master of Science in Counseling degree program at the University of Phoenix Sacramento Valley Campus. “Anything that communicates ‘I love you, I’m thinking about you and want to spend some quality time with you’ is very romantic, and healthy too.”

2. Honor the past.

Honor the past

If the restaurant where you went on your first date is no longer in business, far away or just too expensive, try creating a version of it in your own kitchen. You can design a menu, cook and serve the same dishes you both ordered. Better yet, recreate all aspects of your early relationship. “Make a list of all the fun things you did when you were courting, then make plans to do those things again,” says Paul Fornell, MS, LPCC, a counselor and an instructor in the University of Phoenix Master of Science in Counseling degree program.

3. Get crafty.

Get crafty

Instead of buying the traditional bouquet of red roses at high Valentine’s Day prices, make paper flowers instead. You can try your hand at origami (instruction books are available at your local library, or search for how-to craft videos on YouTube℠). Choose unusual paper to personalize your gift — for example, if your sweetheart is a reporter, use newsprint; restaurant menus if she’s a chef; math worksheets if she’s a teacher.

4. Make a “love list."

Make a “love list"

University of Phoenix School of Business student Mary Peck says that her most memorable Valentine’s Day ever happened back in high school. “My boyfriend at the time and I were both pretty tight on money, so we wrote down all of the things we loved about each other, then exchanged lists,” says Peck. “He wrote romantic phrases like ‘I love it when you crinkle your nose when you’re deep in thought’ and ‘I love the way you hum little songs when you’re happy.’

5. Put each other on the calendar.

Put each other on the calendar

Couples in long-term relationships — especially couples with children and demanding jobs — often don’t have a lot of alone time. Show your love and commitment by blocking off an hour or two each week just for yourselves during the month of February. Make it even more fun by taking the calendar off the wall and picking the days and times together while you share a meal or a glass of wine.


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YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.

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