Guys, if you’re shopping for a lady you love this Valentine’s Day, Jonno Hill has some insider tips on what might make her melt.
By Jonno Hill
So it’s the day before Valentine’s Day, and right now you’re killing yourself trying to come up with a last-minute idea.
Your favorite restaurants are booked solid, and the hostess laughed you off the phone when you even tried to ask. It’s OK — take a deep breath, because you can still nail this, and we’re gonna show you how. Instead of trying to come up with some huge, singular romantic gesture to make it aperfect day for her, your best bet at this point is going to be to try to do a lot of little things that show her how special she is to you. We’ve compiled these little Valentine’s Day hacks so you can turn a few last-minute ideas into what seems like something that you had planned all along.
When you go through this list, try to pick and choose a few of these ideas that you think you can accomplish in the time you have. We’re giving you a great head start, but it’s up to you to bring it home. You’ve got this — you just have to believe.
Plus, if you’re feeling uninspired by activities to do on Valentine’s Day – because let’s be honest, it’s cold out! – you can make up for it by picking up some great last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts.
By cookie cutters to make heart-shaped snacks
If you’re short on time and you want to start the evening off with something fun and DIY, go to your local supermarket and buy a couple different sizes of heart-shaped cookie cutters. While you’re there, pick up a few of her favorite fruits and desserts. When you get home, take a few minutes and create some heart-shaped versions of the items you bought, and lay them out nicely on a plate. The whole thing should only take you around 15 minutes, but she’ll be impressed that you took the time to do it yourself, and it will be a great start to the evening.
Use her Pinterest account like a shopping list
If your girlfriend has a Pinterest account, congratulations, you’ve most likely just hit the jackpot. If you’re struggling to find Valentine’s gift ideas for her at the last minute before the holiday, you can use her Pinterest like a veritable shopping list. She may have pinned items of clothing she likes, but at the very least it will give you a better idea of the kind of things she’s interested in that you may have, well, forgotten about. Social media platforms aren’t all Facebook games and shameless ego promotion — sometimes they actually help you out. Use this to your advantage.
If your girlfriend doesn’t have a Pinterest account, perhaps you could suggest that she get one this year. You know, for totally selfless reasons, of course.
Buy her tickets to something she loves
Tickets are one of the easiest, most fantastic last minute Valentine’s Day gifting options. Spend 10 minutes online finding a show or event you know she would want to go to, and then simply print out the tickets. The greatest part is it doesn’t seem like a last-minute gift. It could have just as easily been something you planned all along. Remember when you’re choosing something that you’re going to have to go as well — so while you should try to pick something she’ll love, it’s probably a decent idea to pick something you won’t actively hate.
Make her a “Mixtape” on Spotify
Whatever happened to mixtapes? Oh right, technology happened. Nevertheless, there is still something really charming about putting together a list of songs that remind you of her. Take this old concept and put a modern twist on it by compiling a “mixtape” for her on Spotify. Like most of the things on this list, this shouldn’t be the only thing you do for her, but it’s one of those little gestures that could go a long way. Make sure to put a little thought into it. Try to think of different songs you two listened to over the course of your relationship and why they’re special to you.
Have a Netflix Rom-Com marathon
Sure, a romantic comedy marathon might not be your idea of a great time, but it might be the price for your last minute Valentine’s Day planning. If your girlfriend is the kind of girl who is a sucker for rom-coms, this option is for you. If she isn’t, you should probably move on. Use Netflix to create a queue of some of her favorite romantic comedies (or steamy Netflix movies) and after you show her you went through the trouble to do it, ask if she wants to watch some with you. The fact that you were willing to make this grand sacrifice will go a long way, and it could help the night go a lot better.
Go nuts with rose petals
Borrowing from one of the biggest romance movie cliches of all time, why not have a little fun with some rose petals? While roses themselves are expensive, a 250-pack of fake but still convincing petals can be found for only a handful of dollars. A small price to pay, in our opinion. Use them to decorate your home and give her something nice to come home to. Better yet, if you have a ceiling fan, scatter some on top of the blades so that when you turn it on, it rains rose petals down from the ceiling. Making it rain — in the most romantic way possible. Sure, it may seem goofy and a little cheesy, but try to have fun with it. It will make a really great story for her to tell her friends.
Get in touch with your inner child
Sometimes the best way to think of great things to do on Valentine’s Day is to get in touch with your inner child. Whether that means decorating home-made cards or taking a trip to the park to goof around on the swings, this is sure to put you in the right head-space. Sometimes the most romantic things are the silly, goofy things we used to think up as kids. Use this to your advantage to come up with some of your own fun ideas.
Buy something handcrafted on Etsy
Etsy is a wonderful repository of all of the most talented crafters around the world. Most of the time you might not be into that sort of thing, but we’re going to go out on a limb and say that your girlfriend probably is. Handcrafted gifts, even if you didn’t craft them yourself, still come off as more thoughtful than most of the generic Valentine’s Day gifts that crop up in major stores every year. Etsy will also help you find something much more relevant to her interests, so use this to your advantage if you’re pushing up against the last minute. Unique Valentine’s Day gifts don’t have to be handcrafted though – there are a ton of fun ideas out there, from Polaroid cameras to vibrators.
Plan a scavenger hunt
If you want to make a few small gifts go a really long way, a scavenger hunt could be the best way to go. You can go as simple or complicated with this as you want, but try to make it fun. Even giving a few small clues around the house that lead her to the gifts that you were going to give her anyway is still a big step up from just handing her the gift right away. Build a little suspense and give her something fun to do and you’re sure to start the night off right. The most important thing is that she’ll see that you took the time to put in the effort, and this is usually what matters most in a relationship.
Have a candlelit dinner for two
While a lot of couples tend to get reservations and head to a restaurant, the at-home candlelit dinner is still a classic for a good reason. You may be terrified at the prospect of doing some of the cooking yourself, so we’re going to give you a good hack to make this go smoother. Pick up a couple of tall candles, and a large pack of tealight candles, which are very inexpensive. Scatter the candles throughout your apartment (making sure you’re not creating a fire trap), dim the light, and put on some music. For the food, try to focus on cooking one simple and light main course, and get a few pre-prepared items for appetizers and desserts, and whip up some Valentine’s Day cocktails. This way, the whole night isn’t riding on your cooking, and you will still have plenty of time to figure out the rest of your evening.
Originally appeared at AskMen.com
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Photo: Flickr/David Goehring