It’s the most romantic day of the year…until you end up basically sitting in the lap of the couple next to you at an exorbitantly expensive Valentine’s Day dinner, wondering if the gift you got your boyfriend was too much or not enough. We have all fallen prey to Valentine’s Day snafus (don’t even get me started on Valentine’s Day 2006)—from lingerie mishaps to dining disasters. This year, to keep you embracing candy hearts and pink cupids, Her Campus has compiled 20 cute things you can do with or for your boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. What are the most unique and romantic ways to celebrate? What does your boyfriend really want? How can you spice up the day without stressing out? We have you covered.
1. Be a snow bunny
I know, I know, we’re all tired of freezing every time we step outside and slipping on ice when we walk to class. But few things are as romantic as playing in the snow with your boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. Channel your inner 10-year-old and head outside for a snowball fight and snow angels—I’m sure your man will be happy to keep you warm.
2. Dress the part
The easiest way to spread Valentine’s cheer is to go elementary school and wear pink and red. Meet your boyfriend for a day date in fitted jeans and a pink top or sport a red mini for your night together. For after hours, try Victoria’s Secret Valentine’s-themed lingerie.
3. Give a gift that keeps giving
As I searched for the perfect gift for my boyfriend last Valentine’s Day I knew he loved two things, beer and lots of beer. It was with this information that I stumbled upon Amazing Clubs. Amazing Clubs is a website that lets you send a 6-pack of gourmet beer to your boyfriend every month for as many months as you choose. If beer is too pricey you can also order coffee, BBQ sauce or ice cream.
4. Go ice-skating
The HC team’s number one recommendation for a perfect Valentine’s date is ice-skating. If romantic comedies have taught us anything, it is that skating rinks breed romance. So go have yourself a Serendipity moment and spend the day ice-skating with your BF—don’t forget the cocoa!
5. (Or skinny dipping)
If ice skating is too tame and your school is in a sunny place, many HCers recommend nighttime skinny-dipping. Seriously, not much is hotter than a steamy late night swim. Just be careful please, getting caught trespassing might kill the mood.
6. Buy him tickets to a sports event
If you want all of his friends to be saying “you seriously have the best girlfriend ever, ” tickets to his favorite sporting event are the way to go. Not only will you make his night and show that you’re into his interests, but you’ll also get to share something special to him, together, and what’s better than that? StubHub is a great place to look for discounted tickets.
7. Dinner in bed
Going out for Valentine’s Day dinner is a tradition that needs to go. Unless you’re Posh and Becks the service is bound to be terrible, the menu limited, and the prices steep. Instead, try ordering in from a favorite restaurant and eating the meal in bed. Spend the night relaxing over good food and cozy company instead of cramped with strangers.
8. Indoor picnic
Harvard collegiette Olivia Ford suggests taking the dinner in bed idea even further with an indoor picnic. To decorate your space, string white Christmas lights around the room, buy some picnic-y snacks, pop the champagne and set up a blanket and pillows for you and your boy to sit on. Oh, and don’t forget to ask your roommates for some alone time!
9. Cook it!
Strawberry bellinis, chicken parmesan, spaghetti and chocolate mousse—nothing will make your man swoon more quickly than a delicious Valentine’s meal. If you are feeling ambitious and extra sweet, cooking dinner for your boyfriend is the way to go. If you are an all-star in the kitchen, check out The Food Network’s Valentine’s Day food and dessert recipes. However, if you’re like me and cooking a full gourmet meal is not a possibility, look at ifood’s simple recipes like heart-shaped pizza. Also, if your boyfriend is up for it, cook dinner together—it will be surprisingly sexy to see your guy move around the kitchen.
10. A classic card
Whether you’ve been dating for a while and want to tell him how you feel or haven’t been dating long at all but want to show you care, a card goes a long way. Get out the construction paper, doilies and stamps and get artsy. For amazing card ideas, check out Martha Stewart’s card projects. When it comes to writing, a cute poem or heartfelt message is always a hit. Cosmo came up with an awesome list of tips for writing a Valentine’s Day card—read them here.
11. Set a budget and make it fun
Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day can get pricey. Instead of stressing about buying an expensive gift, set a budget with your guy and get creative. For 10 dollars you could buy a cheesy V-day themed stuffed animal, bake cupcakes or better yet purchase massage oil to really make his night.
Go the extra mile and let him know exactly why he means so much to you. To really touch him this Valentine’s Day, personalize your gift. A great (and cheesy, but come on, so cute!) gift you can make or buy is Lovopoly. Lovopoly is monopoly customized with memories and photos. Another idea from Tulane student Catherine Combs is to buy your boyfriend a deck of cards and write a memory or inside joke on each card.
13. Head to Victoria’s Secret
To ensure a smile on his face this V-day, the HC team recommends wearing hot underwear that he has never seen before. Let’s be real, what makes him happier or you feel sexier than a new lacy bra? My bra pick is VS’s Very Sexy balconet bra because it provides a lot of lift (and padding!) but still looks flirty.
14. Take him down memory lane
Even though Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the moment, there’s no better day to reflect on what makes you so happy with your man in the first place. A great way to celebrate your relationship is to make a scrapbook—look through old pictures, find cute stickers and paper and then channel your inner Warhol. If making a full scrapbook is too time-consuming, make a collage card or mini scrapbook.
15. Splurge on a hotel room
If you are willing to splurge on a gift, why not get away from roommates and sharing twin beds (no matter how much you love sleeping right next to your boyfriend!). Sometimes, the best way to get in the mood is to invest in a change of space. Spend the night ordering room service, cuddling in a big bed, and taking bubble baths…what could be better than that?
16. Meet him at class with hot chocolate
This year February 14th falls on a Friday, so why wait until nighttime to celebrate? Make him a thermos with hot chocolate (for the record, classic Swiss Miss with mini marshmallows is the best) and surprise him outside of class.
17. Coupon book
It’s true, coupon books are hardly a new concept, but what guy doesn’t want his Valentine’s gift to last all year? Make him a coupon book for things like fresh-baked cupcakes, a movie night or a massage—and feel free to spice it up!
18. Help him out
If your boyfriend is the one planning your special night, channel your inner domestic and help your man out. Do some laundry, make his bed or wake him up with breakfast. It may seem old-fashioned but hey, housewives can be hot and he’ll appreciate the help.
19. Get drunk! (just kidding)
While getting drunk on V-day is probably not the best idea, making Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails with your boyfriend is a fun and festive way to celebrate the day. Make each other drinks post-dinner; after all, ending Valentine’s Day with a homemade Be Mine Mojito doesn’t get much better. If you’re under 21, check out these awesome mocktail recipes!
20. Be appreciative
I know, we can all get a little carried away with a Valentine’s Day fantasy. But even if you spent the past three weeks dreaming of sailing on a yacht with your boyfriend or opening a Tiffany’s box, be appreciative if he gives you a teddy bear. I’m not talking being understanding if he forgets the day altogether, but V-Day can be a little stressful for everyone, so make sure to acknowledge the effort he makes—you will have more fun and he’ll be thankful to have such an appreciative girlfriend!
* If you’re looking for city specific date ideas, howaboutwe.com has compiled a list of top dates around the country (but most of them work anywhere!).