Celebrating Valentine’s Day when you don’t like Valentine’s Day

Welcome to the 5th year of LoveBlog. If this isn’t the first time on this blog this time of year, you will know that I am one of the biggest detractors of Valentine’s Day. It has come up every year.
This year, however, I find myself in a conundrum: my husband and I never go out, so we have decided to make it a habit to go somewhere special on his first evening off closest to our monthiversary. In February, it happens to coincide with Valentine’s weekend (since the 14th is a Friday), and so with the various initiatives that restaurants will bring out to overcharge you for a meal that isn’t really worth it.M

I know already that I won’t buy cards (I don’t see the point of giving cards to people you see in person for the occasion, it only adds to the waste that is polluting our planet. I only send cards to people I’m not going to see because it’s a way to be present to them that is more special than a text). I already know I won’t receive flowers after I scared the poor well-meaning husband away from bringing me anything that isn’t a yellow sticker leftover at work when I was offended he spent £45 on a bouquet just to let me know he was thinking of me (I truly am the Scrooge of romantic gestures). We might buy chocolates, but it’s more likely going to be a bag of Colin the Caterpillar to share on a late train.

So, you wonder, how am I going to celebrate, exactly?

A nicer restaurant than a normal date night

I may love a little luxury, but I am not a Hollywood star. For that reason, I am sort of the queen of treating yourself spending as little as possible. I know the right price range to buy good wine without overpaying for a brand name (and if I like you enough I will tell you what it is), and I know many good spots from cheap as chips to splurging. On a normal night out, we would go for a pub or a pizza spot, and on very special occasions we’d do something grand, but there are a number of middle of the road restaurants that constitute a step up or two from what we normally do, and it happens we have some gift cards for one of my favourite middle-of-the-road places (Brown’s) so it seems like the perfect compromise.

Dressing up
I haven’t thought about it yet, as I need a day to evening outfit because it’s also the birthday party of a dear friend that day, but making an effort beyond my usual selection of smart casual dresses that come out for more informal occasions seems like a way to get in the spirit of the day without adding to the consumerism. After all, I have a dozen evening dresses in my closet that rarely see the light of d-err, artificial lights at night…

Having dessert
I never have dessert unless it’s a birthday cake or something, so having dessert is something that sets the day apart from other date nights into the special occasion territory.
Homemade present
You know I really care about you if I go to the trouble of creating extra washing up by baking you biscuits, so there’s that. Assuming we get the oven fixed on time! Otherwise I’ll find something no bake to work with. At worst, it’ll be a drawing…

I don’t know how I truly feel about going out to a public place for dinner during this commercialised holiday, it still feels a bit like an endorsement of the whole shenanigans, but I think this strikes a nice balance between being Scrooge and going all in.

Today’s blog post has been part of the Love Blog Challenge 2020 on the subject “Valentine’s Day”. Find the rest of the series here.

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  1. I like your compromises! Dan and I have done our own versions over the years. Last year for Valentine’s Day, we made reservations at Waffle House. That’s a VERY casual American restaurant. Select locations each year do fancy decor for Valentine’s Day. It’s the only time you need a reservation.

    Another year, for New Year’s, we went to a nice restaurant on New Year’s Day instead of New Year’s Eve. That way we could order off the regular menu and not the pricey holiday menu.

    1. You know, I have heard of Waffle House in TV series and the like and never realised it’s a restaurant and not a dessert specialist place like we have some here. Then again, I should have picked up on it since they keep eating at the Cheesecake Factory in The Big Bang Theory.
      This year was the first time I had dinner out on NYE, it was the station branch of a very cheap pub chain and you had so many people in black tie for the cheap drinks. I guess I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to overpay for mediocre food just because of an occasion.

    1. Thank you! It’s a beautiful old building which used to be a Victorian outfitter, and it’s near the London church that appears in Brideshead Revisited so it’ll be like stepping back in time. Perhaps I should see if I can fit one of my more vintage-looking evening dresses!

  2. I love this! I love the monthly date nights and making the date just a tiny bit special instead of going over the top with excess spending and waste! We’ll most likely do a date night at home if we do anything at all. We’re rarely together for the holiday anyways.

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