February 13 2010 by Bryson Forbes
If you said Chinese New Year you're correct! However, if you're in a relationship and plan to stay in it, Sunday is also Valentine's Day. This holiday dates all the way back to 496 AD and was named after that famous Christian martyr Saint Valentine, although I believe back then it was simply "Valentine" (kind of like Patrick Roy, the Montreal Canadians' famous goalie before winning the Stanley Cup, now affectionately known as Saint Patrick).
More than one billion cards or "Valentines" are sent every year, making it the second busiest for the postal service only behind Christmas. Regardless, whether you're a hopeless romantic or a sceptical cynic it doesn't really matter, your loved one is expecting something.
Flowers and chocolates are nice, but let's face it--they lack creativity and can backfire. Instead of getting a good reaction, the recipient might feel as though you just "met the quota." Now, I do caution that raising the bar does establish a precedent and will be one that will form the standard moving forward.
During the recent economic turndown, there was a lot of talk about "staycations." In fact, I did a blog last year that highlighted the idea of supporting all things local. I heard from a number of you who loved the thought and had great experiences enjoying a night out without having to travel too far.
The concept works perfectly for Valentine's Day, too. Start by picking a night that works for both of you and, if necessary, make arrangements for the kids. In my case, an email to my ultra-supportive mother-in-law, (and there's no punch line here in case you were waiting for one--my mother-in-law is terrific!).
Next, check out www.bestwestern.com to find a hotel nearby by typing in your home city and searching all properties within a given kilometre range. For us, there are eight options alone within 40 kilometres. The final step in setting up a nice escape is to find a relaxing diversion you'll both enjoy, as well as a good restaurant to end the evening.
A great night away where you took care of all the details will demonstrate how much you care. It's a great gift and you get to enjoy the evening, too! Let me know if you try it and let us know your experience! Happy Valentine's Day!