Flowers. Chocolate. Candy. Card. Repeat.

Dinner. Movie. Chocolate. Repeat.

Card. Stuffed animal. Something pink. Repeat.

Don’t buy (literally) into the commercialism of Valentine’s Day. In every store, there are aisles of pink hearts and red candies and decadent chocolates. And every year, you, yes YOU, purchase your share of the commercial pie. (How’s that working out for ya?)

STOP THE PRESS PEOPLE! There is more to Valentine’s Day than the same. old. mundane. practices. Now, don’t get me wrong, chocolate is my friend and we have been close and intimate most of my life. But there is more to Valentine’s Day than chocolate.

Here are 10 Ways to Keep this Valentine’s Day Unique:

1) Don’t celebrate on Valentine’s Day. Every restaurant will be packed  and booked with reservations. What’s romantic about that? If you decide to go out to eat, then do so before or after Valentine’s Day. If you want to purchase a gift, you are likely to find it on sale the very morning after the big day.

2) Cook! Okay, I know I mentioned the restaurant thing, but if you have some culinary skills, you should put them to good use in your own kitchen. You can cook together and nibble along the way. Bonding in the kitchen sparks good communication and teamwork.

3) Staycation. For those of you who want to do something different, get to know your city or surrounding by doing a tour. Visit your local chamber of commerce to get hip to your city’s best and unique features. If you have kids, they can be included as well. Stay in a local hotel with them in the adjoining room. Explore your city and have a good time.

4) Picnic. Yes, I am bringing back the old classic…with a twist. Of course, if you’re in a warm climate, by all means, picnic outside. But you can have a wonderful picnic inside! Pull out the blanket, some pillows, wine and cheese, music and open the windows. This can be done at home or surprising your loved one at work! 😉 For parents of little ones, this totally eliminates the need for a baby sitter.

5) Write a love letter. Nothing is more endearing and lasting than the written word. It is a shame that it has become a lost art form. However, with some initiative on your part, you can craft something that will passed on to the generations. Tell them you love them and why. Keep it simple. Keep it sweet. Write in your own hand.