Non-Consumer Valentine Ideas

by Katy on February 11, 2009 · 20 comments


McDonald's Valentine


Valentines day is just around the corner, and with it comes opportunities for  thoughtful gestures of love and friendship. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a special home cooked meal and a handmade valentine. In fact, it’s actually preferable. Valentines day is a great opportunity for exhibiting your creative talents, however hidden they may be.

Unsure about making your own valentine? I have my kids draw one special picture, which we scan into the computer and then print out as many copies as we need. My husband and I have made elaborate valentines for each other in years past, but we kind of have been forgetting lately, (which is actually fine with me,) as I like to think we express our love year round.

Whatever you do, just say no to the movie and television theme valentine packs, which are meaningless and teach our kids brand recognition at an early age.

What about the food?

You don’t need to spend the evening in an overpriced swanky restaurant. Put away the phone and dust off a cookbook, or at least Making a nice dinner for the people you love is an extremely pure way to express your feelings. Of course eating a meal prepared by someone who loves you isn’t half-bad either.

C’mon fellow Non-Consumers, I want to hear your Valentine’s Day ideas!

Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

hustler February 11, 2009 at 3:00 am

We will also try to keep it low-key. We are going to eat a nice home cooked meal and play games or watch a movie from netflix. I’m thinking about making a special dessert, but as far as gifts go, we long ago decided not to celebrate holidays with gift buying. (not even christmas.)


Stacey February 11, 2009 at 7:25 am

I’m going to make a decadant (but thrifty!) chocolate cake and give my dh “coupons” for things like “sleeping late” and “breakfast in bed” and other things that he doesn’t often treat himself to, but will, I think, given the nudge. 🙂


Alison February 11, 2009 at 7:25 am

My kids are young (4 and 7) and I’d like to do something special for Valentine’s Day for them. I was thinking of having my husband help me make special Valentines for each of them with a list of all the things we love about them. I was also thinking about making a special treat for breakfast or a special dessert — any suggestions?


Mandy @ New Patriotic Homefront February 11, 2009 at 8:04 am

I remember the year mom made me make valentines from scratch for my classmates. She bought me a book and everything (still have it somewhere). It was time consuming, but I did it all by myself and gave them all out. I like your idea much better!

I have a special friend, but we are not in a relationship. So I found myself looking for anti-valentines day cards. But then stopped myself when I realized I was about to pay $3 for some paper to give to a guy who was not my boyfriend.

I actually went home found some paper and a box of crayons and decided to make some witty anti valentines day card myself.

I’ll also bake a chocolate cake, he passed on some chocolate shavings that a friend from starbucks gave him. So I thought I’d use them for him since he gave them to me.


GLM February 11, 2009 at 8:19 am

I’ve never been too big on Valentine’s day – I think it’s another one of those holidays that people have decided to spend money on. Except for the fact that it’s easier to find chocolate covered cherries at the store.

Personally, I think we would be better served for people to take a look at how they treat others, and decide to treat everyone in a more loving manner.


Kristen @TheFrugalGirl February 11, 2009 at 8:36 am

My hubby and I do splurge on a takeout seafood dinner for the two of us, but aside from that we’re pretty low key. We each make cards for each other, since what we write in them is most important anyways.

My husband did come home yesterday with a bag of chocolate covered marshmallow hearts, which pleased me greatly. lol

And of course, we do show our love to each other every other day of the year, but we look forward to our Valentine’s Day seafood dinner all year.


Jeanine February 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I’m not a non-consumer, but seeing as how the bulk of my VD spending goes for a >servicething<, I think I’m ok.

My DH and I will go to a seafood buffet on Valentines Day…It’s a great resturant with excellent seafood. We are using a comp for one dinner, and paying for the other. At 11.23 for both of us, it’s very inexpensive, way more variety of food and much more aptly prepared than we can do at home.
**Have you seen the price per pound of Alskan Snow Crab legs lately?**

We will also spend the night at the same casino, the room also comped, from a friend that gets them by the envelope full. This night will include a free concert.

We have indulged in his and her spa packages, 50.00 for both, with massages, and free, unlimited sauna and steam room usage.

So for less than 75.00 bucks, I think we are doing pretty good.

Like I said, I’m not a non-consumer, but I am starting a journey of frugality. Previous years have seen 100s of dollars spent on this day.

The girls get video cards, all the candy and such from school, and a night with their auntie, who will, I’m sure, induluge their every whim.


Jinger February 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I found this recipe and will make these tomorrow. Can’t wait!


Lisa Whipple February 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

We acknowledge Valentine’s only sporadically, but the best thing I know of is my brother’s in-laws’ tradition. They were broke students when they were first together. On their first Valentine’s Day, he wanted to get her some chocolate, which she loves. The only chocolate he could find that he could afford was a Hershey’s bar. For over 40 years, he’s given her a Hershey’s bar for every Valentine’s day, and she loves it. My brother says, “The man is a GENIUS.”


CanadianKate February 11, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Funny you should post this today. When I got home from being out today, there was a phone call from a teenage neighbour (age 17.9) asking if he could come over and cook for us tonight. He is cooking Valentine’s dinner for his girlfriend but wanted to practice and since it is a steak dinner (recipe from Allrecipes!) and his parents are vegetarian, he wanted to try it out on us.

He has great parents but doesn’t cook at home so we had to teach him how to peel a potato and press garlic, but he learns fast and we had a wonderful dinner prepared for us this evening! I cleaned up while he made detailed notes (like start the potatoes first, then par boil the beans, while they are boiling prepare the garlic and lemon…)

While we ate, he asked for recommendations for romantic films (we came up with IQ and our favourite, Love Actually but told him to vet that with her parents first due to the rating.)

It’s nice to see that not every teen today is hooked on commercialism.


Pennie February 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Such thoughtful ideas all!

DH and I will be heading to the coast in our travel trailer with the dogs to spend a fun weekend with friends. Will cook in, play cards, and enjoy each other’s company.

As a hobby, I hand-make cards from craft paper and “found objects,” i.e. used buttons, shells, cutouts from old cards, bits of ribbon, etc., so I enjoyed a couple of recent evenings making special valentines to mail and give to my friends and loved ones.


Non Consumer Girl February 12, 2009 at 1:00 am

We decided in our first year together that we didn’t want to indulge the commercial side of Valentine’s Day. This was 8 years ago.

We spent our 1st Valentine’s Day in Bankok Thailand. We were backpacking together. I remember that we ended up going into a Bangkok Starbucks ( I know, I know… but it was very hot outside and Starbucks was airconditioned!) and when we ordered our coffees, the waitress also gave us handfuls of heart shaped chocolates! When we went outside we handed them out to whoever we passed in the street, to very surprised and happy faces! So we shared the love……

More recently, we have done a variety of things. for the next few years of our relationship, we would celebrate the spirit of Valentine’s Day by going out for breakfast together. This commemorated the first time we met , which was at a professional breakfast seminar. I thought he was really hot, and in my embarrassment, I managed to spill orange juice all over him! What a first impression!

Another year, we decided to do something nice for each other, rather than buy something. My husband played hairdresser and straightened my hair for me ( I think he called himself “Sebastian” and affected an accent) I gave him a Swedish massage ( we had done a massage course and purchased a massage table ).

These days, we don’t celebrate on the actual day.

But we do make sure that either before or after the V day, we do something special together.

Last year, it was a night away in Sydney city and dinner. This year, we are exchanging babysitting favours with a friend and going out for a special dinner ( just the two of us) somewhere in Manly overlooking Sydney Harbour.

So no gifts, but the gift of each others time and company, and a lovely experience together…


marianne February 12, 2009 at 4:39 am

the first year my husband and i were dating we didnt have much money so we said we were not going to buy each other gifts. i cleaned out a spaghetti jar and filled it with little folded colored pieces of paper. each one had a memory of a great time together, a line from a poem, a love note, and even a note from my friend about what a great couple we were! i put a bow on it and whenever he was feeling down he could pull a note out to cheer him up. what did he give me? a diamond heart pendant-so yeah, i married him!


rachel February 12, 2009 at 5:09 am

Im now a single mum and havnt had a partner for a few years but I still make a lovely dinner and over the last few years sent myself a card!!!! This may make you smile and even though I know whats coming, its still important to remind myself Im worth appreciating – even if Ive had to do it myself!

Now my youngest child still at home is 5years old and we are making cards for each other to exchange. Tonight at her school they are having a valentine disco with a ticket that cost a small amount but its going to finance the schools project twinning with a Ugandan school so I dont think that counts too much.

On saturday I shall do a lovely dinner and have a candle on the table and my one consumer extra has been a chocolate heart on a stick for her.
not too un-frugal i think.
however you celebrate (or not) have a great weekend.xx


Julie February 12, 2009 at 8:26 am

My son and husband have some sort of plan, I can tell from the whispering. I told them I just want a homemade card, that will mean more to me than anything else. Okay, also some chocolate, hopefully from either See’s (my childhood favorite, but they have to drive 20 minutes to get it) or from the small local shop a woman opened nearby. We will all be together for dinner—we don’t have any babysitter but it wouldn’t feel right for us to leave our son now anyway, as he’s going through a difficult time. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!


Magdalena February 12, 2009 at 8:51 am

My husband asked me about Valentine’s Day this year and I think he was expecting the usual lecture about St. Valentine, martyrdom, and Christian witness. Instead, I said, “It’s all about chocolate.” He asked if he got to share the chocolate…We’ll see if he remembers.


Angela February 12, 2009 at 10:34 am

One of the best gifts I’ve ever given my husband is a free pass on Valentine’s Day. We usually don’t even celebrate it. I know a lot of people would be resistant to that, but like Katy says, I like to believe we celebrate our love all year round. And we do- right now he’s actually painting a portrait of me. And I love it- it’s gorgeous!
We don’t have a law against celebrating the holiday, it’s just not required. I think we’re both resistant to the idea of someone else telling us when to express our love. And we definitely do not go out to eat that night- if you’ve ever tried it you know there’s nothing romantic about it.
But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating your love with non-consumer gifts. One time I baked my husband a cake in the shape of a heart. I did have to buy the tin, but now I have it whenever I feel the urge to bake him a heart-shaped cake, and it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day.


Barb February 12, 2009 at 11:48 am

I’m in agreement with Angela! Going out to dinner on V Day is definitely not worth the trouble. And I’m not really comfortable with someone else telling me when to express love.

Throughout the year, we buy each other plants or flowers whenever the mood strikes, the prices are low, or the person seems like they could use a pick-me-up (we are both big fans of flowers and plants). No reason to spend a fortune on flowers at V Day.

I’ll probably bake something — special cupcakes or muffins or something that I think the kids and boyfriend will enjoy. I do this mostly because I love to bake, and will take any opportunity to do so! Other than that, I might not even remember that it’s V Day 🙂

I found a lovely stationery set at a yard sale a few months ago, still sealed in the original box. My daughter used this set to make personalized cards for her classmates. In the past, she’s made hearts out of construction paper and decorated with markers. She spends a lot of time making them, and tries to write something unique to each person. I find it a much better project for her than just writing names on TV- or Movie-themed pre-made cards! And I love the pride she feels in her work.

I especially love Alison’s idea (above) of making cards for the kids with lists of what we love about them. It will be a long list! I think this might be just the ticket for my kids right now.

Happy V Day, and weekend, to all.


karen February 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm

I trained my husband early on that as much as I enjoy the idea of valentines day ( the emphasis being love is important in all it’s varied forms of expression) it is not a ‘required holiday’. I DO like heart shaped things so I indulge in the post holiday sales by getting a couple heart shaped boxes to repaper with designs of my choice while he can enjoy first dibs on the chocolate. We end up giving alot of the candy away to co-workers so it’s a win- win for everyone for very little money.


Jean Linghor Pittsenbarger February 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

My first Valentines Day with my now husband was when we were dating. It was very nice. Not expensive. He asked me out to dinner months in advance and it seemed very important to him to have someone to share the day with. We exchanged some small gifts and went out to a nice dinner. We got married in June of last year and this year being it was our first Valentines Day as husband and wife and truly my first Valentines Day as anyone’s wife I wanted to make it a little extra special. I did go out and buy him a fairly expensive gift and bought some lingerie. I didn’t expect extravagance by any means but was hoping for some thought into the day. I was hoping for a piece of jewelry. I don’t care about expensive, just thoughtful. I was hoping for some flowers and maybe chocolate. A happy Valentines day would have been nice. I got jewelry but picked it out myself. We went out to dinner which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t asked him what he wanted to do. When I put on the lingerie he said it was cute but he was to sore for anything more as he had been painting the livingroom. I got flowers after I tryed to not let things bother me but he could see I was upset. When he asked me what was wrong of course emotional me started crying. Needless to say our first Valentines day as husband and wife was a huge flop. I really had hoped for it to be special. Men change a lot after marriage and it does have to do with they have you now so they don’t think they need to put anymore effort into the relationship. I’m now his wife and I have a role and I need to do what is expected as being his wife. I love him and he is good to me in many ways but I thought we had something special and unique. It turns out its just another marriage.


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