When Valentine’s Day makes its approach, most automatically say “I don’t need a specific day to say, ‘I love you’.”  While this is true, consider this Valentine’s Day as an escape from the monotonous winter months and the boring day-to-day. To help you keep it interesting this year, we’ve compiled a list of nine creative Valentine’s Day ideas.


The Gift that Keep Giving

Try avoiding the boring Hallmark stuffed and finding a gift that means a little more. A gift that keeps on giving for the rest of the year is a worthwhile investment, here’s why:

1.           Date night for a year: Usually life gets busy and date nights are the first thing to go. Consider buying a handful of gift cards for varying date nights that you can sprinkle throughout the year. Step it up a notch and plan your date nights on a calendar. We suggest mixing it up with a movie pass, a couple’s massage, a gift card for the infamous Video Plus Books, a local restaurant or festival theatre tickets!

2.          Cleaning for a year: If your significant other has a cleaning bug but has very little time, consider purchasing a bi-weekly cleaning service for your loved one. If they’re juggling, work, hobbies and children, they’ll be thanking you for sure! Besides, less time cleaning, means more time for you as a couple or family!

3.          Babysitter Vouchers: If you find it hard to plan ahead and book the babysitter, take it one step further and have your sitter draw up vouchers so that there is no excuse! The vouchers could even have certain days planned on them so that you don’t run the risk of an overbooked schedule on both ends.


The Non-Traditional Gift

The classic dinner out and a box of chocolates is the most predictable gift, try getting a little more creative this year. 

1.           Spa Day: Book a luxurious couples massage at a local spa. We suggest Relish Day Spa which is nestled in a stunning house on Ontario Street. The owner, Elizabeth is a true expert and will be able to suggest the perfect massage for ultimate relaxation. 

2.          A Couple’s Celebration: Do you have a friend group which happens to be all couples? Plan a dinner party for everyone complete with candles and fancy dresses. We suggest looking into Dinewell, a personal chef who sources local ingredients and makes delicious meals in your house. 

3.          A Bunch of Laughs: Pay a visit to Small Mart General Mercantile on Ontario Street in Stratford. This quirky little shop has anything and everything. Their items are either ultra-unique or are perfect for a laugh. This is a great alternative for the person who doesn’t really love Valentine’s Day but still wants to do something fun!


Traditional Gifts Revamped: 

Although there are many options out there for unique gifts, sometimes a traditional one can say more.

1.           Heartfelt Flowers: Instead of grocery store flowers, opt for a personalized arrangement from a local flower shop such as Stratford Blooms. Stop by the shop to see Amanda and give her a handwritten card which can be delivered along with the arrangement to your significant other’s place of work. If you really want to make an impression, add a box of Rheo Thompson Chocolates – they’re located next door! 

2.          Dinner Out: Try avoiding your popular hangout and pick a spot that you haven’t been to yet. Stratford alone has plenty of tasty restaurants. From a mouthwatering steak from Fosters to a selection of beers at The Hub or a bunch of small plates at the newest spot, Okazu, there’s lots of options without making a trek out of town. Just be sure to make a reservation soon!

3.          Dinner In: Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, so with a busy schedule, staying in and spending some quality time together may be just what you need. We suggest planning ahead so you can hit the Stratford Slow Food Market on Sunday morning. You can find some fine cheeses, local coffee for post-dinner relaxation and wine for pairing with your savory eats. With lots of fresh produce, you’ll be sure to find some fresh and local ingredients to make a far-from boring dinner celebration right at home. Don’t forget to set the mood – lower the lights, bring out the candles and crank the tunes!  

If Valentine’s Day still isn’t your thing, at least aim to spend a little more time with your significant other, children, parents and friends. If you’re a single gal, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day. Try pampering yourself with a manicure, scrolling through some online shopping with your favourite wine or planning a girl’s night complete with finger foods, drinks and sappy chick flicks.