What does Valentine’s Day mean to you and your significant other?
If we trace the history of Valentine’s Day, we probably would be surprised at the evolution of the occasion we give so much importance to today.
Beginning in Roman times, a celebration in mid-February known as Lupercalia was a fertility festival. In 400 AD, February 14 was declared by the Pope a day to honor Saint Valentine.
It wasn’t until 1300 AD that we attached a romantic significance to the occasion. In the US, we began giving manufactured Valentine’s cards in 1850. Today we send 150 million Valentine’s manufactured cards expressing our love and affection.
In one Valentine’s Day in the US, we spend $448 million on candy and give 58 million pounds of chocolate!
Each person is estimated to eat about 24 pounds of candy a year, which equates to about 57,600 calories a year — for candy!
I know there are a few people who don’t like chocolate, are allergic to nuts or avoid caramel to protect their dental work, but these statistics seem to put them in the minority on February 14!
A Healthier Valentine’s Day
There are options for giving the give of love and showing someone your affection in a way that doesn’t involve derailing their wellness routine and tempting them with calories.
I have begun telling my spouse “please don’t buy me any treats this Valentine’s Day” because I love chocolate and will only eat it all at one time to avoid the ongoing temptation.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to have some kind of reminder of his commitment in the form of a gift!
You can always cook a special and healthy meal that is designed to feast on whole foods that are nutritious without being calorie and fat laden. That won’t be very special since I try to accomplish this all year long.
There still needs to be some token of remembrance.
Out of the Chocolate Box Gift Ideas
How about some of these calorie-free options? The best gift comes from the heart don’t you think?
- Flowers – a bouquet with a variety of colorful blooms, a single red rose, or a favorite flower that tells your story of love like forget-me-nots will show your significant other how much you mean.
- Plants that can go into the yard or patio – finding a plant that can be replanted into our yard like a hydrangea or azalea or one that we can put into a special pot on the patio that will bring joy not just on February 14 but all year long.
- Handwritten card from the heart – skip the mass produced version and write your own. Add special thoughts that caring meaning in your relationship. Add a few touches like ribbons, sparkles or colored paper or even a snapshot of you!
- Overnight trip – plan a quick getaway for you two. It doesn’t have to be far just enjoyable. While away, include a special trip to a location in the area that you both like. It could be a botanical garden, a river walk, a beach walk, a mini-golf game, a museum or art gallery, or a scenic drive. It is time to reconnect, share your thoughts and get some quality time together.
- Exercise incentives – it could be big like a treadmill or rowing machine or small like hand weights, it could be a new jogging suit or shoes or it could be the entry fee for a fun run you can do together. Make a deal to take a walk every night after dinner hand in hand and stick to it! Celebrate health and wellness as a team!
- Special perfume or cologne – old favorite or a new scent it doesn’t matter.
- Jewelry – find a piece that signifies your togetherness, perhaps start a charm bracelet with symbols of you and your family, something sparkly or even functional like a running watch or fitness band.
- Picture of yourself for their desk – use your favorite pose or take a new selfie, put it into a frame that is fun that is a conversation piece like a Hawaiian shirt or a dog bone or a traditional one like brass that will complement the décor. Your partner will appreciate having a view of you to enjoy when the day is rough and they need a reminder of what is waiting for them at the end of the day!
- Donation to their favorite charity – for many people doing good works for others means more than a material gift. Make a donation to meals on wheels, no kid hungry, make-a-wish, a Longest Day event, or Relay for Life. The charity should hold some meaning to the recipient. Give a certificate or card to remember the gift.
Avoid Temptation & Promote Health
Celebrations of life are important milestones especially in relationships. We need to revel in them when they come around but we don’t always need to put temptation in the path of those we love.
We are all trying hard to be healthy, stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Support and encouragement every day no matter the holiday is an important part of a healthy relationship, we shouldn’t be the ones constructing roadblocks to wellness.
This year we can try a new way to show our love with a few ‘out of the box’ gifts.
You can always add one chocolate kiss to get the sweet treat but not the whole bag!
Your partner will love you all the more for your reinforcement of their health efforts!