Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. My mom would always give us a small gift, normally in a cute red or pink gift bag, with conversation hearts and a cute greeting card. I remember carefully and thoughtfully picking out the perfect Valentine for each of my classmates in elementary school. Valentine’s Day was all about friendship and showing others, in whatever small and simple way, that they matter. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed just how commercialized it can be. You are almost encouraged to go out and buy grand, expensive gifts to prove your love. When this is the case, the beauty of the holiday is lost. Gifts don’t have to be expensive for them to be meaningful. The most thoughtful and treasured gifts don’t cost a penny!
Here are 10 of my favorite gifts that my husband has given me through the years, as well as a few fun ideas that I’m hoping to try this year!
Take out a nice piece of paper or cardstock. Vertically along the margin, write each letter of the alphabet. For each letter, write a word or phrase that describes why you love your partner. This has been one of my most treasured gifts from my husband. I have since framed it and placed it next to my bed.
Homemade “Punny” Card
In our home, we have a tradition of making cards to give to one another! Sometimes we use colored paper to create our cards, while other times we just draw a picture to go on the front. We always include a cute pun. Here are some fun ideas my husband and I have used in the past:
You have a “pizza” my heart
Yoda only one for me
I love you from my head to-ma-toes
Each day I love you a little “mower”
Although they are definitely cheesy, they always make us laugh, which is one of the best ways to keep a marriage strong.
Engraved Keepsake Box
For one of our anniversaries, I bought an inexpensive wooden box from Hobby Lobby and carved our initials and wedding date into the bottom of the box. Inside I placed various letters and cards we had written to one another. You could also use this box to store other keepsake items, such as movie stubs from your first date together or your favorite photos together.
Date Night Jar
Coming up with date ideas on the spot can be rough. Giving your spouse a jar full of ideas can be a fun gift that they can use over and over. Grab some colored popsicle sticks and an old mason jar or flower pot. I like to color code the popsicle sticks based on what type of date you are in the mood for. For example: (Green = outdoor date; Blue = inexpensive/free dates; Yellow = Weekend getaways; Purple = at home dates)
Photo albums will always be one of my favorite gifts I could ever receive! Print out your favorite photos of you and your spouse together and put them in an album. Alternatively, put together a wedding album with your favorite pictures from your wedding day, reception and honeymoon. You could also include your wedding invitations or any other keepsakes from your wedding in this album. Prints can be ordered with same day pickup at many stores, making this an easy and inexpensive gift option!
Love Story Journal
Although this is something that needs to be done in advance, it’s a meaningful gift that will be treasured by both your spouse and kids forever. This is also a great way to help strengthen your relationship. Each day, write something that you love about your spouse or something meaningful they did for you or someone else. After recording your thoughts each day for a year, give them the journal! This is a great way to show them that you notice their efforts and what they do for you each and every day. A fun and easy way to do this is by recording your notes in a blank planner. You can also buy a journal like this one with helpful prompts for you to record your special love story.
Homemade Treat or Dessert Basket
There’s nothing better than a good brownie, cookie, pie or cheesecake. No matter what your spouse loves, make it for them as a special Valentine’s day surprise. I personally LOVE chocolate covered strawberries. Buying the chocolate and dipping them yourself is very cost effective. If you prefer to make the treat together, give them a treat basket instead! Find a cute basket and put the ingredients to a dessert you’ve been wanting to try inside! You can then bake it together! This doubles as a date and a gift. If you want something simple, include the items you need for a treat that requires little effort, such as root beer floats.
“Reasons I love You” Jar
Cut paper into small strips. On each piece, write a reason why you love them. Fold the papers in half a few times and place them all in the jar. Your spouse can put this on their desk and pull out a paper whenever they need a little pick-me-up!
The Classic Coupon Book
Although some may view it as cheesy, this can be a fun and creative way to show your spouse you love them! I like to include fun coupons, like “Date night planned by me” or “Movie night-you pick the movie!”
Breakfast in Bed
Let your spouse sleep in while you and the kids make breakfast. Together with your little ones, take your breakfast in and let your spouse enjoy a nice breakfast in bed. This is not only a great way to make memories with your kids, but is a great way for your kids to be involved and show how much they care as well.
Sometimes we may feel the pressure to spend a lot of money on big fancy gifts to prove our love to our spouse. But since being married, the gifts I’ve loved and cherished the most are often the ones that didn’t cost a thing; they are the gifts that came from the heart, homemade and imperfect as they may be. These are the things that always remind me just how much love we share.