Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in a New Style!

As St. Valentine’s Day approaches each year, I can’t help but question why, in many cases, the burden tends to fall on the guy to surprise his sweetheart with a piece of fine jewelry, a designer bag she has hinted about, a five-star fine dining experience or that Ecuadorian bouquet of red roses. What if the tables were turned and the burden fell on her to, say, book and pay for a surprise weekend at a lavish resort, purchase brand-new snowboarding equipment for her love or break her piggy bank open to afford the latest technology gadget he’s been talking about. Either way, the pressure to celebrate with lavish gifts and surprises can get a bit out of hand.

Rather, shouldn’t this be a time for both parties to honor the couple’s relationship, whether it's still in that sizzling-hot, brand-new discovery phase or has been road-tested for some time, and simply needs a jumpstart to get it back on the fast track?

Instead of stressing about whose responsibility it is to do what for whom on Valentine’s Day, both the guy and the gal in the couple could have fun deciding on ways to enjoy that special day without breaking the bank.

Here are five tips for celebrating Valentine’s Day that won’t blow your budget!

1. Meet for a sushi lunch in the middle of the workday. Each person brings a red rose, and a romantic note that lists 10 things they appreciate about their special someone.

2. Leave work early and meet at your favorite wine bar. Clink your glasses, enjoy a couple of appetizers and head home for a cozy Netflix evening.

3. Plan an Ugly Valentine’s Day Sweater pizza party with friends. Give your love First Prize in the contest, but don’t tell him or her what that “after-hours surprise” will be. Wink, wink!

4. Plan to do an activity on Valentine’s Day evening that you’ve never tried before, i.e., a cooking class, indoor rock-climbing, bowling, go-karting or ice-skating. Finish the evening with a champagne toast to being adventurous and in love.

5. Prepare a picnic and drive to your favorite lookout point. Enjoy your romantic experience outside the car on a picnic blanket in a warm climate, or inside the car if it's cold. Who knows what could develop later in the evening?

So, instead of dropping hints to your lover in hopes of receiving a lavish gift you’ve been wanting, remind yourself that Valentine's Day is not just about you! It’s about both of you!

Break that pattern. Collaborate with your sweetheart on how best to spend Valentine’s Day to honor your relationship. Whatever you choose, do it with sincerity, authenticity and most of all, with love.