Soon after we survive the stress of the holiday season and the initial pressure of returning to normal work routines, Valentine’s Day preparations are upon us. For many couples, this realization triggers a series of potentially stressful questions. How much should we spend? Where should we go? What should I wear? What should I buy him (or her)?
Many romantic partners feel that expectations are high to impress their significant other. Whether these expectations are self-induced or not, they create a level of pressure to succeed, which can lead to high levels of stress.
How did such a simple day of love and affection turn into such a stressful and sometimes expensive, event?
For your 2015 Valentine’s Day, why not forgo the unnecessary stress and opt for subtler romantic gestures that still show how much you care? Here are some easy ideas for a simple and frugal, yet romantic celebration with your significant other:

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

How you start your morning, will set the tone for the rest of your day together. Your breakfast on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be your simple bacon and eggs with a side of toast.  Instead, make heart-shaped pancakes or French toast.  Add some red food coloring to milk for an extra romantic touch. Cut some strawberries into heart-shaped pieces and serve them on top of your pancakes or French toast, or on the side. Then, make some mimosas to top your meal off.

Valentine’s Day Hike/Picnic

Getting away to a peaceful setting, just the two of you, can have a more romantic pull than engaging in the Valentine’s Day crowd at the restaurants, movie theatres, and touristy locations. Research nearby trails and regional parks where the two of you can go for a hike. The mileage and pace at which you hike can be up to you, just make sure you wear comfortable clothes and bring plenty of water and snacks. You can go the extra yard and plan a picnic for midway through your hike. Bring a light backpack packed with a picnic blanket, candles, and previously prepared food in containers. Find a spot where you can settle down for a mid-hike picnic and forget about the rest of the world.

Return to the Place of Your First Date

Often times in our relationship, we forget to reflect on the early stages of what brought our partner and us together. What better way to do that than to return to your first date, without the jitteriness and awkwardness.  Maybe your first date with your significant other was to the local movie theater, a local burger joint or a casual stroll by the river. If you no longer live in the area where you and your partner had your first date, try to find a place near you that is similar to the place where your first date occurred.  Reflect on how you and your partner met and recount the moments of your first date.

Dessert/Wine/Movie Night

While the rest of the world is cramming into restaurants and paying a pretty penny for a 5-course meal, you and your significant other can stay at home, dip some strawberries in chocolate, open a bottle of wine, and pop a movie in.  If baking is your forte, bake a pie or heart shaped cookies together. The process of making the dessert can be just as fun as eating the finished product.
Remember, anyone can order flowers, buy a card or make dinner reservations.  It’s the simple, yet personalized touches that really make a difference on Valentine’s Day.
Image Credits: Lovebirds by Marina Del Castell