I am veering off of my standard topics today, this is less about style and more about lifestyle. I've been thinking about the upcoming "holiday" and all the pressure it brings. The general hype for February 14th is that we are all supposed to be in perfect form that day, have the best long stemmed red roses delivered by noon, and have a romantic dinner for two booked for 7pm at the most chichi restaurant in town. Not to mention the jewels, the chocolates, the lingerie. WHAT? The pressure of it all. Why do we do this to ourselves and our significant others. Maybe instead of roses paired with baby's breathe, you would prefer some bright orange tulips or a new basil plant for your kitchen. Instead of the fancy dinner out, dressed to the nines, you would rather do takeout and watch netflix in your jammies. Spending lots of money, running around looking for the perfect necklace or cufflinks is a great gesture but perhaps your lady would rather spend some time alone relishing in an amazing, much needed massage or he would prefer some down time with his buddies to go watch a sports game or spend the day in the river, fly fishing. Showing your significant other that they mean the world to you can be just as much about doing something for them vs. with them.
Having kids also throws many for a loop as there are only so many sitters available for guilt-free sitting on February 14th. Instead of trying to re-create the wheel with sneaking in a dinner for two, why not make it a group thing. In past I have organized a few group dinners that turned out to be fun for both the adults and kids alike. When my oldest was 2, we gathered a collection of families with the same family dynamics and booked a room at a family style Italian restaurant downtown. Because we had our own area, the kids were free to move about and yet we were in adult company with good food and wine for the evening. Another dinner a number of years later, 5 couples came to our house (kids in tow) for a Valentines fondue. The kids were given their own easy dinner, movies and activities while the adults took over the dining room and had our own evening. The kids were happy to be with their friends and the adults likewise. Personalized placemats made with some markers and a trip to Kinko's were a treat for the kids and winetags, candles and a couple of boxed truffles for each of the couples were a welcome surprise. Nothing over the top, nothing too expensive, just a great evening out in celebration of each other.
And for the singles. Embrace it. No need to sit at home and think of all the perfect couples out there having such a PERFECT night. Please. Gather a group and head to a new haunt. In the Seattle area, I am constantly reading about new bars, new restaurants and think, if I only had the time to gather some friends and head out. Seize the day! Get your friends from work, from a book club, where ever and have each person bring one other. If not out on the town, perhaps a themed potluck and game night at someone's home. With each person bringing a friend, you never know who you might meet.
I guess my thoughts today are merely suggesting a different way of looking at Valentines Day. Instead of feeling the pressure to do what's expected, have a chat with your partner and discuss what a better, more realistic approach would be. Instead of pretending to love the carnation bouquet you receive for the 15th year in a row, why not mention that you really love dahlia's instead. Cancel the high pressure, high priced meal out and have a family Italian deli night on a checkered table cloth in the middle of the living room. Singles, grab your best buddies and head out for the 11pm disco themed bowling night and have a blast.
Here's to some happy, low maintenance Valentines Day planning!