How to Celebrate V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E-S on the Cheap

My love story is not an unusual one. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy and girl get married. Boy and girl have children. Boy and girl don’t have the money to spend on a fancy dinner and night out on Valentine’s Day; instead they spend the evening watching TV with their kids. The End.

That’s sad, but it doesn’t have to be. Some of my favorite Valentine’s memories are the ones I have spent at home with my kids and hub, reading the cards they received at school and sharing in the left-over candy hearts. Here is a Valentine’s anagram on how to celebrate the day of love on the cheap:

V - Stands for votives. These dainty little candles are an easy to find and are an inexpensive way to set the right tone for your romantic evening. Imagine the effect of a few dozen little lights in your boudoir, lining the dressers, nightstands and window sills. Remember, the more votives, the bigger the impact.

But, this mother of multiples gives you fair warning, according to this Chinese proverb, ”It is not economical to go to bed early to save candles if the result is twins.”

Truer words have not been spoken, o’ ye wise one of the Orient.

A - Is for “apology.” What a better day than today to let bygones be bygones and wipe the slate clean? Empty your heavy heart of remorse, regret, and rancor and make peace with someone with a sincere apology. A simple “I’m sorry” goes along way and it won’t cost you a thing. Well, maybe just your pride, but pride never kept anyone warm at night.

L - Light, not just any old light, red light. Perhaps you are a pyro-phobiac and lighting a bajillion little candles will only set the mood for your next anxiety attack. Light up the night with a string of red lights across your headboard. I’m sure you have a set in your Christmas decoration box. What? No red? No problem. Along with the other light bulbs at the grocery store, there are red bulbs for your bedside lamp. I bet you have never noticed them before, because you’ve never looked, but they are there, waiting for you. And everyone, I don’t care who you are, looks better in red light. Everyone.

E - Express your love for your sweetheart with poetry. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a literary or romantic bone in your body. Visit All you have to do is enter in some keywords and it will find a poem to match. I wanted a poem that had the words “field” and “sunflower” in it and I found a beautiful one from a Colorado poet, no less. It was so easy, that I tried to be a little more creative. I picked the words “monkey” and “waffles” and wouldn’t you know it, there was a poem with that exact title, “Monkeys and Waffles.” The author’s other poems include “Table Top Terrorist” and “I’m a Redneck,” so reader be warned.

N - Now that I am a mother of three children the romance factor of Valentine’s Day has diminished, somewhat. I think less about what I am going to wear on my hot date and more about whether my kid’s Valentine’s Day is a special one for them too. But, I love it! I love that Valentine’s Day is a family affair. You won’t find Secret Agent Man and I holding hands across a candle-lit table in an expensive restaurant tonight. Instead we will be dining on a heart-shaped pizza that is easy on the family budget from Nick-N-Willy’s (Insert your own local take-and-bake pizza joint, hopefully it begins with an “N.”) at home with the kids. Saturday is pizza and movie night in the Payne home.

Valentine’s night will be made that much more special with a take-and-bake pizza made not just with love, but in the shape of love.

T - Target has got to be the most romantic store in the world! I was there earlier this week and I couldn’t believe the selection of Valentine’s items: placemats, movies, and even t-shirts. I know what you’re thinking, “But, Annie, can’t I get all the same stuff at Walmart? Why Target?”

Because Target has red carts. And it’s Valentine’s Day! Besides, I needed something for the letter “T” in my anagram. It’s not “Valenwine’s” Day, although, someone might be whining if you don’t go to Target.

I - is for “insane.” Plato said that love is a mental disease. In that case, put me in a padded room because I am completely insane for my Secret Agent Man. Do something crazy and unexpected for your Valentine!

N - Neglect the weekend projects and focus on your loved ones. The mess in the garage will wait and so will your closet organization project. Give the gift of your undivided attention to your sweetheart. Aside from love, nothing is more priceless than time.

E - Every day is Valentine’s Day when you are with the ones you love. Valentine’s Day is the only holiday that can actually be celebrated day after day. Show that your love is more than just a massed produced card with someone else’s words through daily acts of service, thoughtfulness and kindness.

About the Author...
Annie Payne
Watch Annie Payne weekdays on NBC11!

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