The day of all things red, pink and love is just around the corner. Whether your loved one is at home or deployed this Valentine's Day, we have romantic ways for you to show your love and appreciation. Best of all, these ideas don't have to break the bank.
Here are five date and gift ideas for you:
1. Recreate a favorite menu
Cooking a delicious meal at home and enjoying it together over a candlelight dinner is a romantic way to spend the evening of all things love. However, what if you took that gesture one step further? A hopeless romantic as she calls herself, Raleigh Duttweiler explained to Military.com how she makes each Valentine's Day special for her military spouse, whether he's at home or stationed overseas. One year, she found the menu from the couple's favorite restaurant in New York City and spent days trying to recreate each dish.
Consider a restaurant and menu that means a lot to you and your partner. Perhaps there is a special place where you and your loved one had your first date or maybe it's his or her all-time favorite eatery in town. You can find the menu online or by calling and if you're lucky, you may even get to chat with the chef for a few insider tips. Complete the night by printing out the menu with your own special Valentine's Day dinner.
2. Send a care package filled with love
Holidays can be especially hard when your loved one is deployed. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, you can help both you and your loved one deal with the emotions by creating a care package filled with thoughtful expressions of love.
Military Shoppers suggested starting the box with mementos of your early years of dating, whether it's a photos, concert tickets or old love letters you've been keeping. Next, write a new love letter. When your significant other is stationed hundreds of thousands of miles away, there's nothing like opening and reading a long hand-written letter from a loved one. Including a few romantic movies or books is another idea. Be sure to add lots of Valentine's Day chocolates and sweets. Whether it's a third-grade crush or a husband or wife overseas, the fun and flirty conversation heart candies never get old. Buy a couple boxes of the festive candies and carefully select a few messages you want to send to your sweetheart.
3. Explore military discounts for date night
As military families know, living on a government salary isn't always easy. It's also important to know that a military discount can go far, and often be used in some unexpected ways. As Military Benefits explained, hotels, movie theaters and local events often provide special pricing for military families, which can help fund a cozy date night with your Valentine.
Catch a new movie and spend the night away from the kids at a local hotel for a fun "staycation." If a theater doesn't provide the special price at the ticket window, consider checking in with the MWR, ITR or ITT offices, advised the source. Many flower and chocolate delivery services also offer the military rate for families so be sure to do your research and you could just save on those dozen roses you plan to have sent to the office.
4. Make plans for a future getaway
Even if your significant other is deployed on Valentine's Day, that doesn't mean you can't celebrate your love at another time during the year. In fact, your love is reason to celebrate every day, not just on holidays. Consider planning a special getaway for just the two of you for when your military spouse will be home. Enlist the help of your parents or in-laws so that you won't have to worry about spending more money on a babysitter. By planning far enough in advance, your parents will be thrilled to have a weekend with the kids. Best of all, you and your sweetheart will have a fun trip to look forward to.
5. Find free activities in your area
According to Money Crashers, it's easy to find free, accessible entertainment and activities in your area by doing a quick search on the web. While it may not sound all that exciting initially, these ideas can actually make for very cute date nights: Think ice skating at your local pond under the stars or roaming through an art gallery with a glass of wine in hand. Sometimes local bands or comedians will host shows free of charge for local residents.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine's Day this year, showing the ones you love how much you care is the most important thing of all.