Valentine’s Day is an annual reminder that love is, ultimately, worth celebrating. But, for many people, taking a foray into a crowded restaurant, even more, crowded bar or a jam-packed movie theater with your partner doesn’t actually sound fun — or romantic.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are some ways you can skip the reservations and the lines and celebrate your romance on Valentine’s Day without leaving home:
Dress to Impress Your Partner
You aren’t going out, but that’s no reason to slouch through the night in your usual baggy pants and sweatshirt. Put as much effort into your appearance (or maybe more) than you do when you’re going out to a fancy restaurant or show.
Why bother? Dressing to the nines makes you feel good about yourself and that automatically uplifts your spirits and helps set the mood. Plus, it tells your partner that they’re special — and that you don’t really care who is looking your way as long as they are!
Make a Fancy Dinner Together
There’s something incredibly intimate about cooking as a couple, so grab a grown-up recipe that serves two and pick up the ingredients the day before. One of you can handle the prep and the other the actual cooking. Or, if your partner hates making dinner, give them the job of opening the wine you’ve picked up to pair with your meal and pouring.
Get out the fine china and good crystal glasses so that you’ve set the stage for romance. Turn off all the lights and adorn the table with candles and flowers. (This is not the night to settle down to dinner on the couch.) If you’re the one planning the night, have your partner sit down while you serve the dinner and make a big show of catering to their every whim.
Make It Pizza and Movie Night
Maybe you and your partner really hate dressing up and find candlelit dinners kind of dull. That’s okay. There are plenty of other options for a romantic night at home.
What’s the first movie you and your partner saw as a couple? What’s your partner’s favorite movie? Get the rentals lined up on the Roku or fire up Netflix and bring home some pizza and a bottle of wine. Grab those crystal glasses and plop down on the floor on a pile of pillows. You and your sweetheart can cozy up together for an evening that’s both tender and relaxed.
Go Camping in the Living Room
Maybe you’re not an outdoorsy kind of person (and it’s still kind of cold outside, anyhow) — but that doesn’t mean you can’t pitch a tent in the living room and pretend you’re out in the wild somewhere with your partner or spouse.
The trick to making this work is to pack a picnic dinner for two, turn off all the lights, kill the electronics and shut out the rest of the world while you and your romantic partner spend time focused just on each other. The best part about this idea is that the close quarters of a pup tent automatically requires some intensive cuddling.
Go Dancing in an Imaginary Ballroom
This idea takes a little planning but it can be a fantastic way to surprise your partner or spouse. All you need is a soundtrack, some paper Valentine’s Day decorations, jar candles and a little extra time to set things up before your other half gets home.
Push all the furniture in your living room up against the wall and cover the big stuff with sheets. Hang your decorations around the room and from the ceiling and light the candles. Be there in your best clothes to greet your partner and — after they have time to change — cue up the music and recreate that romantic ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast in your own special moment. (Don’t worry if your dancing isn’t the best — there’s nobody around to judge you.)
Send Your Partner on a Scavenger Hunt
Have you picked up a few small gifts (or maybe one big one) for your love on Valentine’s Day? Head over to Pinterest and pick out an idea for an adult scavenger hunt (or create your own). You won’t go wrong as long as you keep the process light-hearted and fun.
Start the clues at the front door and make sure that there’s a little treat or gift at every step (even if it’s just a piece or two of chocolate). The final surprise, of course, should be you — waiting with your gift!
Go Stargazing in the Backyard
If the weather is mild on Valentine’s Day in your area, why not indulge in some quiet time with your romantic partner in the backyard looking for shooting stars or picking out the constellations.
If you aren’t much of a stargazer, spend a little time learning a few of the major constellations so you can point out the sights. Or, buy a guide to the stars and turn the process into a game. Just don’t forget to take the wine and chocolate out back with you — along with some warm blankets.
Serve a Decadent Dessert in Bed
Breakfast in bed is boring, so skip it. Instead, pick up a truly decadent dessert from your favorite bakery or restaurant and serve it to your beloved on a tray for two.
If you want to make dessert even more spectacular, don’t forget the coffee. Get an especially fine roast that you both love just for this evening. Remember: Calories most definitely do not count on Valentine’s Day — but you can substitute strawberries and champagne for a high-calorie dessert if you’re worried.
Valentine’s Day can be special without ever setting foot out of the house — and it doesn’t have to break your budget, either. The important thing is that you and your partner spend some time reconnecting.