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The dos and don’ts of Valentines Day

It’s that time again! Over 1,000 years ago, the Romans gave us this annual tradition to celebrate love. But today, they may be a little surprised at what it has become. On Valentine’s Day in North America, the average cost of a rose goes up by 30%, and 15% of American women feel the need to send themselves flowers to avoid disappointment. More men “screw up” Valentine’s Day than get it right, but these tips for both men and women will ensure you don’t.

1. Do buy a card and write a personal message. Although you may be able to find a card that says exactly how you feel, it will not have the same sincerity as a handwritten message. Take a little bit of time planning what to write on the card, and even write it out on a pad before putting it in the card. An inspiring sentiment written by even the poorest of wordsmiths will go a lot further than a saying preprinted on a card with “Love, John” at the bottom.

2. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Remember, things don’t become cheaper if you wait until the last minute to shop like they do during Christmas. Plus, the options you have to choose from will generally give away the fact that you waited until the last minute. Going out for a card and gift even four days before the big day will reduce your stress, increase the sentiment and quite likely save you some money in the process.

3. Do talk about your expectations ahead of time. It is more than likely the product of plentiful advertising, but the truth is that Valentine’s Day is generally more important to women than men. This is likely the cause of annual disappointment for some but it doesn’t have to be that way if you talk about your expectations ahead of time. Need a clever way to bring it up? Start by setting a limit to spending (which implies spending, gifts, dinners, flowers and other signs of affection).

4. Don’t pressure your potential valentine. Stereotypes aside, even people who connect in every other way may have varying opinions of Valentine’s Day and how to celebrate it. It’s more likely that these opinions are based on past experiences or a personal opinion on the commercialism of romance on this particular day than how they may or may not feel about you.

5. Do remember how Valentine’s Day became such an event. If you are single, try to remember that Valentine’s Day and the perceived importance of it is largely the result of decades of marketing. Many businesses will profit more from Valentine’s Day than any other event of the year. If you really think about it, that bouquet with a dozen long-stem roses should mean more on any other day of the year than it does on the day when it is expected.

6. Don’t forget there are all sorts of events going on during Valentine’s Day that are focused on couples OR singles. If you are in the mood, there is no shortage of things to do. If you happen to be single and looking for love, this is the day when the greatest number of potential suitors are also actively looking for a partner.

Remember, there are things that will help with the ambiance in your home and help you impress that special someone for very little work. Turn up the heat a little so it is warm and cozy, make sure that your home smells fresh, and turn down the lights so your valentine feels a little less self conscious as you gaze at them. Good luck.

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