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10 Valentine Ideas You May Not Have Thought of

10 Valentine Ideas You May Not Have Thought of

Valentine’s Day is approaching once again, and people all over the world will be scrambling for gifts to give their special someone. Whether they’re gifts for spouses, lovers, friends, or family members, these gifts tend to run the usual gamut of plush toys, roses, and candy. Consider something a bit more unique this year—it’ll certainly liven things up, and will stand out in the recipient’s memory far more than that box of chocolate will.

valentine ideas

    Here are a few ideas that you can do to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one:

    1. Put Together a “Date in a Box”

    date in a box

      No, it’s not suggested that you package up your partner, but rather that you create a gift box/basket full of all the things that would make a perfect date night; either for you and your date, or for a couple that you can give it to as a gift.
      For movie-lovers, the parcel could include a couple of DVDs and some popcorn with gourmet toppings to sprinkle over it. Wine aficionados could indulge in a bottle or two of their favourite wine, along with some cheeses, bread, olive oil, and candles. If the recipient’s ideal dates fall into the realm of fly-fishing tournaments or furry conventions, you’re on your own for ideas.

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      2. Sponsor an Animal

      Sponsor an Animal

        Love doesn’t just have to be expressed towards other humans—it can be directed towards caring for any species. If you love animals, consider making a donation to a charitable organization that helps to care for those in need.  You could choose to donate to a local pet shelter or wildlife rehab center, or any number of care facilities worldwide that offer medical care and sanctuary to animals like elephants, dolphins, sun bears, wolves, and countless other species.
        Donations are tax-deductible, and you’d be ensuring that an animal in need receives gentle care and compassion. You’ll often even receive pictures of the animal(s) you helped, and regular updates on their well-being.

        3. Make Chocolate “Sushi” Together

        ChocolateSuSh

          Don’t yarf: these faux sushi bites are absolutely not a mixture of fish and chocolate, so there’s no need to run screaming. Though it may sound bizarre to have dessert in the shape of maki rolls or nigiri, it’s actually a lot of fun, and will undoubtedly surprise the person you’re sharing it with.
          Making these is fairly time-consuming, so don’t leave your preparations to the last minute. The “rice” can be made a variety of different ways, but the most common ones seem to be either grated white chocolate, shredded coconut, or crispy rice and marshmallow mixture—the kind that’s used for squares. The “nori” is made of strips of dark chocolate, and you can use a variety of fillings and toppings to emulate anything you like. Try pieces of mango or pineapple, and use crushed raspberries in lieu of tobiko.

          4. Name a Star After Your Sweetheart

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          name a star

            This one might not be completely legit, in so far as you can’t really prove that the star you’ve named hasn’t been named for ten thousand other people and you’ve just been billed for it, but it’s a cute gesture. You can expand on this idea by getting the star’s coordinates etched into matching jewellery that only you two share.

            5. Have a Midnight Picnic

            125035__walk_l

              This is a really cute, low-key thing that you and your beloved can do together that’s low-cost, silly, fun, and can be put together from stuff you have at home. You can either wake them in the middle of the night to surprise them with a picnic spread in the middle of the living room, or you can tell them ahead of time so you two can plan together and nap as needed so you don’t fall asleep onto your sandwich in the middle of the night.
              This is also fun to do with your kids, if they’re old enough to appreciate it and won’t end up howling and miserable the next day.

              6. Make some Hair Jewellery

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              hair jewelery

                Okay, this one’s a bit weird and might appeal most to the goths out there, but hair jewellery was really popular in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and can be quite beautiful. Though it was mostly worn in remembrance—crafted as it was from the hair of dead loved ones—these brooches and rings can also be created while your sweetheart it still among the living.

                7. Take a Dance Class Together

                dance class

                  Nothing says “I love to be close to you” than forced, awkward togetherness in front of strangers. There’s such a wide range of dance classes to choose from that you two can be flouncing around the dance floor together in no time. Salsa, tango, swing, or ballroom: whatever would encourage you and your partner to have a ridiculous amount of fun together would definitely be a way to celebrate in style.

                  8. Grow a Tree to Plant in the Spring

                  grow a tree

                    Winter really isn’t the time to go planting things in your yard, but you can get seeds and nuts started indoors in a little pot of soil. Consider getting yourself a tree-growing kit (or just be experimental with a nut or pit of your choice) and see if you can coax a tree into growing for you. Once the weather has warmed up and your tree is sturdy enough to move outdoors, transplant it into the ground where you can watch it grow for years to come.

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                    9. Have a Marathon of the Worst “Romantic” Films Ever

                    worst movie ever

                      There are some spectacularly bad romantic comedies out there, and few things can make a couple appreciate how good they have it as watching some of the cheesiest, heart-stopping dreck that the film industry has put out. Make a big bucket of popcorn, pour some drinks (you’ll need them), log into Netflix, and enjoy. The groaning and wincing will bring you closer together.

                      10. Do Absolutely Nothing.

                      sit and do nothing

                        You could always choose to go against the grain of forced, expected displays of affection on this day: take a cue from the “Un-Birthday” party from Alice in Wonderland, and make this an “Un-Valentine’s Day”. Don’t do anything special, don’t make any big fuss… and instead, do something sweet and adorable on each of the remaining 364 days ’til the next time V-Day rolls around.

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                        1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

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                        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                        For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                        If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                        Example 1

                        You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                        You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                        In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                        Example 2

                        You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                        People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                        You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                        Example 3

                        You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                        The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                        Example 4

                        You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                        Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                        If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                        Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                        • Understand your own communication style
                        • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                        • Communicate with precision and care
                        • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                        1. Understand Your Communication Style

                        To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                        In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                        Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                        2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                        Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                        If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                        “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                        This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                        To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                        3. Exercise Precision and Care

                        A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                        On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                        Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                        I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                        I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                        In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                        The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                        Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                        4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                        Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                        In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                        “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                        Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                        Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                        It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                        It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                        It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                        Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                        Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                        The Bottom Line

                        When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                        I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                        Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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