When the inspiration comes for choosing a gift it’s an easy flow from conceptualization to realization. Then there are times when the desire is there, the inspiration is hidden away and reluctant to be coaxed out into the open. Inspiration and ideas for a loving memento or gift is more of a challenge when the pressure is on. When it comes to expressing love and appreciation it would be easy to turn to the traditional or the obvious. Let’s face it, the traditional card, flowers, chocolates, or boudoir attire gifts just feel insincere. Since so many people loathe this forced “expression of love on a given day” idea, they prefer to ignore the Valentine’s Day holiday altogether. But let’s think about it in a slightly different context lest we upset our significant other. It doesn’t have to be a gesture that breaks the bank or plainly says “At least I remembered the day, so you can’t get mad.” For those still brimming with the desire to acknowledge their love, or even just to keep it intact, why not take a risk and try something different?
Love is an adventure, an exploration, and a discovery of the person you have special feelings for. So instead of a traditional gift, how about giving your loved one an experience based on these principles instead? Several years ago I chose to do something reminiscent of childhood, yet rooted firmly in the here and now. My husband and I had recently moved into a new area (just outside of Atlanta OR Alpharetta) and I thought a gift that would not only express my love for him, but also an understanding of his interests would be the best gift. The fact that it helped acquaint us with our new surroundings was an added bonus.
We would embark on a Valentine’s treasure hunt. It isn’t the most original idea but I’m not wildly creative when it comes to these things. I suspected that whatever effort was invested, it would yield the desired result – that he would feel loved, appreciated, and understood. Isn’t that the point? It’s not to outdo or overspend. Show your love in a way that you don’t (hopefully) already express on a daily basis.
I won’t kid you into thinking it was an easy task – it took some thought and preparation to create such an adventure as I had to channel my inner tour guide. The risk of it falling flat seemed high, but I had to believe and fully commit. Just as in a relationship of any kind, commitment is a must when you take a risk. My plan was to scout the area around our new home for places that would interest my husband. What does he like to eat, where would he want to spend time with me, what are his hobbies, and what sort of small gift might actually have meaning?
The inspiration began to flow and soon I was generating clues that would lead him from one location to the next like a tour guide. As I mentioned, I am no creative genius, so the clues each rhymed and weren’t all that difficult to decipher, but there was just enough mystery to make it a challenge. To be honest, I may have been more excited about the whole thing than I imagined he would be.
Rather than trying to plant clues all over town, as is traditional, I kept them in hand, only revealing the next clue once he determined the correct location. We began with a walk along the Greenway trail to acknowledge his love of the outdoors. Because he is a foodie the next clue brought us to lunch in a local Indian restaurant. The day before our hunt I made a very small purchase at a nearby sporting shop and made arrangements with the owner to keep it tucked away behind the counter until we arrived. My husband enjoyed the gift and the opportunity to speak with the shop owner.There were a few other stops along the way, but the grand finale, which occurred later that evening, came when the final clue led us to a small venue where a local artist was playing cover tunes and original songs.
It may seem like a lot of effort to put together something like this, but it wasn’t as time consuming as I’d feared. Ultimately it was an experience that offered something for us both. I was able to show my understanding of what he enjoys and he felt the full intention. His willingness to go along resulted in an enjoyable journey for us both. It was a journey that made ordinary outings feel like a game and brought us closer together with each other and our new community.
The point is to stretch yourself, to think about the person you love and express it in a way that will feel real. Make it an adventure of some sort, whether it’s a treasure hunt around town or something else that expresses your feelings – don’t let the Valentine’s naysayers get you down!
If you don’t currently have a significant other in your life, why not buck the traditional and lavish a little love on your friends or family on Valentine’s Day? Take a risk, keep your heart open, and you might find real treasure where you least expect it.