A 10-step guide: How to not be cliche on Valentine’s Day

Taylor Best
Photo Editor

Don’t let Hallmark do all the talking

If you think you want to get her a card, do you know what she would really appreciate? A handwritten letter from you. It doesn’t have to be a poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just a few simple, straightforward sentences that come straight from your heart.

Lower expectations

If she thinks that you have nothing planned for the national day of romance – keep her thinking that way! The surprise will have her that much more wowed.


Simple but effective. Let’s say you get her a dozen roses. Make a joke along the lines of, “I thought that this year, I’d be really reeeallly original and get you something no one else will get: roses.” This lets her know you are in on the joke. Whereas, if you give her the flowers, stone-faced, and try to act like some sort of romantic Ken doll, she could burst out laughing.

Get her tickets

Stuck on gift ideas? Stay away from all things pink, red, and heart-shaped. Think about tickets. Not necessarily for an event on Valentine’s Day, but tickets for some night in the future that you can do together, as a couple.

Flowers are an “And One.”

You cannot—cannot— just get her flowers and chocolate. Use them as an accent to another gift. If you know her favorite kind of flowers, go with that over roses.

Personalize the gift

What makes a cliché a cliché? A lack of specificity. Chocolates, roses, hearts— these are cliché because they are overly generic, they speak to Every Girl, not your girl. Get her a gift, and think about something that speaks to her. Pretend it’s her birthday. What do you get her? Go with that, and then cupid-it-up with red wrapping paper.

Don’t ignore it

Maybe you think Valentine’s Day is the ultimate cliché and that, therefore, you can ignore the holiday altogether. All you’ve done is turned into a different kind of cliché. This isn’t a new move.

No “Coupon Books”

They may seem cute. With all of the “Good for one free massage” and “I will clean whatever room in the house,” Let’s think about this. Not only is it the move of a 2nd grader, but when you really get down to it, it’s just lazy.

Avoid restaurants

Reservations are a hassle, your waiter will be condescending and you will feel like a schmuck for dining with a roomful of married couples who only go on “date night” once a year. Instead, do the following:

Cook her dinner

Research recipes that incorporate her favorite ingredients. Challenge yourself. Show effort. And if you’re a lousy cook? Even better— she’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll come off as a hero.