With the day for love just around the corner--tomorrow already!--we might be thinking frantically about what to give those we love. Those of us here in commercial America tend to think of gifts as store-bought items--heart-shaped chocolate boxes, a bouquet of long-stem roses, a squishy teddy bear. Not to say that those things aren't valuable, but maybe you should consider:
Making valentines for each other together. Sitting together with a craft project in front of you and talking as you create can be a great way to enjoy each other's company--especially if your loved one has trouble doing this sort of thing on their own.
Going for a short walk outside. Bundle up--because it is still winter, but enjoy the crisp air and the feeling of braving the chill. When you get back in (and only stay out long enough that you are both just pleasantly chilled), grab a cup of hot chocolate.
Taking a drive. Sometimes January and February can be bleak-looking months, especially if there is no snow. Make it a goal to find the beauty in the dreary landscape. When you find something beautiful, stop the car and snap a picture. You could create a collage of pictures from the day (including a picture of you and your loved one in the center, of course) and get it printed and framed. Or instead of snapping pictures, stop and gather the pretty things you see--a ditch full of dried grass, a clipping from a berry bush, an evergreen tree sprig, feathers, and pine cones can make a beautiful--if eclectic-winter bouquet.
Asking them on a date. Many older people don't get to go out with family and friends very often. Make a point to get them out with you. Another way to communicate love to them? Take the time to get licensed to drive our handicapped-accessible vans so that you have the flexibility to take them when it suits you (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details). What to do on your date? Going out to eat is a classic. Or maybe take them to that black and white movie that's showing. Or take them to a flower-arranging class, a pottery painting place, a drive-in restaurant where you eat in your car. There are lots of options depending on your interests.
Giving a plant. Cut flowers wither and die. Plants are growing and vibrant, and if you get the right kind, it might even flower.
Writing a letter. For those of you who live far away from your loved one, this is probably the simplest. But just because it's simple doesn't mean that it doesn't take effort. A real, meaningful letter includes pieces of your heart encapsulated in your words. Don't settle for a greeting card with your signature on the bottom. Trust me, it's not the same. Write a letter on old-school notebook paper, seal it up in an envelope, and put a stamp on it. Our modern world is full of emails, texts, and communication apps. Take the time and the effort to write a real, honest-to goodness, snail mail letter.
Valentine's Day is simply a day to be more intentional about love. You know your loved one. Use these ideas as a springboard to create your own. Customize them to work for you both.
And have a happy Valentine's Day!