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Seven ways to treat your significant other this Valentine's Day

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Whilst it may feel as though Christmas is barely over, and your wallets are only just starting to recover, it’s almost time for the next spending spree.

Whether you like or dislike Valentine’s Day, it’s big business. In 2014, £595 million was spent on the occasion in the UK. That’s an awful lot of flowers, chocolates and oversized stuffed toys.

It’s true that you should appreciate your partner every day of the year, not just on the one designated to be ripe for romance. But if you want to be involved and make this year a little bit special, we’ve put together some ideas for how to show your significant other you care.

1. Date jar

Here’s one which will pay off for as long as you like. Write down a host of ideas for dates, from watching a film to wine tasting, and place them in a jar. You could use lolly sticks or simply folded pieces of paper. If you want to be especially fancy you could cut them into hearts! 

You can then take it in turns to pull out an idea for a date, which might make a nice change from Netflix and chill. Try to have a variety of date ideas, both in terms of expense and the time needed to plan them, as sadly we don’t live in a Hollywood film and can’t just jump on a plane on the whim of a jar!

2. Picture book

There are lots of companies which will make a professionally printed photo book for you, such as Photobox or Snapfish, but it might be even more special if it was homemade. Choose some of your favourite pictures of the two of you (or snaps from trips and holidays if you’re camera-shy) and write a little something about why you’ve chosen them. 

Now that we upload pictures onto the internet with the click of a button, we sometimes forget to print any out to keep, so this would be a really thoughtful and sentimental gift.

3. A map keepsake

Again, this is something you can find online or you could do yourself. Choose a place of significance to you both, perhaps the site of your first date or a special trip together, and use Google maps to print out the location. 

You can then use it to create a piece of artwork. If you want to include it in a piece of jewellery, you're probably better off leaving that to the professionals! Try Not on the High Street for stockists.

4. A day out

Spending time together will always top an expensive gift. Don’t worry if 14th February isn’t a good day for you or your partner though, as you can always defer the date to another time when it will be more suitable (and arguably more special). You could go somewhere you’ve never been before, or a favourite place you don’t get to visit much. 

Being together is the important thing here, so don’t over plan things and just enjoy yourselves. This is a fantastic gift if your relationship is more long-distance than you both might like. You could even try recreating your first or favourite date to make it extra special.

5. Something they really want or need

So it’s a bit odd, but if you know your significant other has a hankering for a particular kind of cake, wine or, yes, balsamic vinegar, it would make the perfect thoughtful gift for them this February. 

It shows you really listen and care about them. It is also a good talking point and will be more useful and last longer than a bunch of supermarket roses. Additionally, it’s much more personal than a generic box of chocolates, even if it looks a little weird!

6. A cuddly toy!

Confession: I love a cuddly toy, but there really are only so many ginormous bears holding a lurex heart for which a girl can find the space. Instead, choose a meaningful teddy for them this year. 

Maybe it’s their favourite animal or a reminder of a trip you’ve taken together. You can even get personalised replicas of much-loved pets now if you want to spend the extra cash. Don’t worry that you won’t find the perfect plush: you can get cuddly blobfish and flu viruses these days, so your partner’s passion for porcupines is going to be a breeze.

7. A meal, but not in a restaurant 

The classic Valentine’s Date is a candlelit dinner, soft music playing, and a couple gazing into each other’s eyes. Well, you won’t find that if you go out for dinner. Seriously, don’t book a table for the least romantic night of the year in a restaurant. Instead, choose to stay in!

You could cook a meal for your partner, or cook together. You can even send out for a takeaway, which you can make a bit fancier with candles and actual plates. Snuggling up on the sofa with a pizza and some wine is going to be a much better way of celebrating the day than eating lukewarm pasta in a tense restaurant.

Being together is the important thing, not being seen. Plus, you can put on your comfy clothes, choose your own music and eat as much as you want judgment free. What could be better?

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