Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays you either love or you hate. This year is especially weird since it’s our first time exchanging valentines during a global pandemic.

So, the bad news first: a lot of your typical gift options are out. A romantic, candlelit dinner at your favorite restaurant might not be in the cards right now (although take-out is a good alternative!). A spa day probably isn’t feasible either, and we can’t even remember the last time we were in a movie theatre.

The good news? With fewer options for extravagance, maybe we can all give ourselves permission to keep things low-key and take the pressure off.

Regardless of whether Valentine’s Day is a big deal in your house or not, there are plenty of ways to show your loved ones they’re appreciated. And of course, we know no one is more deserving of your undying gratitude than your wife. So if you’re a little stumped and need a few ideas of how to celebrate her on Valentine’s Day, look no further!

Here are five ways to show her how much she’s loved today, and every day:

Go less traditional. Sure—flowers, chocolate, and a card are easy go-tos. But have you ever tried writing your wife a love letter? We’d put good money on her swooning from surprise and gratitude. Read: Here’s What Happens When You Tell Your Wife What She Means to You (With Words)

How about gifting her some professional photos? You can do a shoot together, or have some taken just of her. We all know moms are usually the ones behind the camera, not in front. Wouldn’t it be nice for her to have some special keepsakes of her own where she looks and feels beautiful?

You don’t have to go broke, either. She might love a foot massage, or even just to have you play with her hair while you snuggle and watch her favorite movie together (see below reminder about intimacy). The possibilities are endless, but if you want a full list of ideas from one of our female contributors (read: an expert on these sensitive matters), check it out here.

Get intimate. Your wife might be totally game for sex on Valentine’s Day, and physical connection is usually a direct shot to emotional connection for us guys. But if you want physical intimacy to be a part of your V-Day plans, we highly recommend you read this piece first. Definitely make sure your timing is right (she’s probably not going to appreciate it if you serve her a massive pancake breakfast in bed then try and put the moves on her immediately after) and communicate so that no one is left feeling disappointed or resentful.

Also remember there are ways to be intimate without having sex, as well. Cuddling and chatting in bed might not be your idea of the best way to spend that time, but the investment of your undivided attention will pay off tenfold. We promise.

Lead by example. Often, we demonstrate our love for people through service to them, and it’s never too early to teach our boys (and girls!) about the importance of serving their families, friends, and communities. Here’s a great example of how one of our dad contributors addresses this with his 12-year-old son by discussing what love truly looks like.

Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity for your son to serve his mom—literally! Have him help you make breakfast in bed for her, then bring it to her on a tray. Let him tag along with you when you pick out her gifts and let him contribute his own ideas. Remember, he’s likely to follow your example of how to treat others in future relationships.

Give her a break. Leaving Mom alone on Valentine’s Day might seem counter-intuitive, but believe us, it might be just what she wants. Sometimes the best gift we can give to our partners is time by themselves to relax and recharge. Moms have been bearing the brunt of this pandemic on top of everything they normally do, and they’re probably gunning for some peace and quiet right now.

And remember, when a mom says she needs a break, it’s time to give her a break.

A weekend at a hotel by herself is likely her idea of heaven, and we can almost guarantee she’ll be in a better mood when she comes back. We all know when your wife is in a good mood, it definitely means good things for you. Wink, wink.

Need some fun ideas for activities to keep those rascals entertained while she’s away? We’ve got your back with 10 Ways Dads Can Give Mom a Break When You’re Stuck Inside.

Plan a daddy-daughter date. Yes, your wife might be the focus of your Valentine’s Day, but loving your daughter well is an extension of loving her mother. What a perfect opportunity to shower some love and attention on all of your leading ladies.

If you have a little (or not so little!) girl in your life, an extra special daddy-daughter dance or date is sure to make her day. Grab a disco ball, some balloons, a nice suit,  and your best china, and put on your dancing shoes! We loved seeing what this awesome dad did when his in-person date was canceled last year due to the pandemic:


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