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My husband and I are not great planners when it comes to date night. We tend to leave things to the last minute, which normally suits us just fine. But this doesn’t always work out on Valentine’s Day. It always sneaks up on us a little bit!

Sure, sure, it’s a commercial holiday and we can argue all about its validity and importance. But why not have a little fun and take a minute to celebrate love and people you care about? I’m into it. Also, unlike a lot of other holidays, this allows me to be a little more selfish and focus on my own needs for a change.

So a date is great but making plans can suck. Except that you don’t even have to leave your house to have a great date night on Valentine’s Day. Here are some of my favorite, easy, at-home-dates for Valentine’s Day and beyond!

Enjoy An At-Home Picnic.

Sure, depending on where you live, Valentine’s Day likely isn’t outdoor weather, so turn your living room into the ideal picnic location. Light the fireplace, spread out your fave cozy blanket, grab some pillows and layout an easy meal. Light a bunch of candles around the room for a little bit of romance and ambiance.

Pretty much any meal can be made into a picnic. Pick up some dips and “snack foods” at your favorite grocery store (Trader Joes is a perfect place for this) and enjoy snacking your way through the meal.

Game Night.

This is a favorite because I love the competition! It gives us a chance to chat and connect and actively have fun together, as opposed to just zoning out in front of the TV. Also, some feisty competition is hot! Some of our favorites are Mexican Dominoes and the oldie but goodie, Exploding Kittens. Target and Amazon have a lot of really interesting and hilarious games you could try.

Even the games you already have at home would work here: cards, classic board games, even your kiddo’s video games! And all of them can get as x-rated as you want (or don’t want). Strip Yahtzee is a thing, right?

Want something a little more PG but equally as cozy? Try a Puzzle Night. Similar to game night, puzzle night is also great for winding down, chatting, and connecting with each other.

Date Night in a Box.

If the idea of planning is too overwhelming for you, there are several great companies out there that will provide a date night in a box! We tried a few different ones, including Date Night in a Box (which also now offers a “faith based” date, if that’s your thing) and a new one I’m trying, Crated with Love Date Night Box.

Boxes start at only $19.99 and you can still get this in time for Vday if you ORDER TODAY! Each box contains a themed date night – all you have to do is open the box and start your date! This is a fabulous option for busy, exhausted, over-it couples who want to enjoy themselves (and each other) but don’t have a lot of energy to put together the date.

If this is too cutesy for you, try another “boxed date” like Hunt a Killer where you get a package of clues and a “murder” to solve!

Create a Fun “Tasting” Experience.

I do this for my kids sometimes and think it would be fun with my husband too! Basically, I take any food or drink and buy multiple varieties, to “taste.” I recently did this with take-and-bake pizzas if you caught my Instagram stories! Other fun ideas to try would be local burgers, sushi rolls, ice cream flavors, even cereal.

Make Specialty Cocktails.

My husband and I went through a craft cocktail phase that was a lot of fun. Specifically, we made old fashioned with fancy cherries and bitters we ordered online. We played around with different whiskeys and bourbons, flavored bitters, and more.

Pick a cocktail you want to learn to make or would enjoy together and really get into it!

Make a Meal Together.

We’ve never actually tried this as a date at home, particularly because I’m a little controlling in the kitchen and my husband, bless him, behaves like the Swedish Chef from Sesame Street. I’m just not interested in a 6 hour clean up job, even if it is for love.

But I would be willing to consider this date with a few parameters. I’d add a game or competition to the event like a race to chop veggies or best-looking dessert. If you’re competitive like me, that always makes things a little more fun. 

Also, no recipe that’s going to require a lot of my attention. I cook 95% of our meals at home so cooking another one does NOT sound like fun. But if we can turn this into something like a cooking class format where I’m not solely responsible for the outcome, that could work!

I also think using a great meal delivery service like Green Chef would be a fun way to “cook together” without the pressure of building the menu, gathering ingredients, etc..

Then again, you don’t even have to cook at the same time. Maybe you’d rather watch HIM cook for you while you hung out and relaxed with your glass of wine? Just the act of being in the kitchen together, talking, focusing on each other, creates a great atmosphere of connection.

A final option is to order in from your favorite FANCY restaurant. These days, pretty much everyone will deliver or offer carry out. Plate it together in a beautiful way and set it up on a nice table (or maybe in a picnic format!) and enjoy it without having to trouble yourself with cooking.

And while I say “dinner,” this could work great for ANY meal of the day!

Goal Planning.

This sounds SUPER romantic, I know, but it’s such a great way to connect with your spouse, which ultimately DOES lead to romance!

Start the conversation about your personal goals for the year. What do you want to do as a family? As a couple? You can keep it simple too. Summer isn’t that far away, have you talked about what vacations you might want to take? What about planning something special just for the two of you? A weekend in the City or a day date during the week? Put it on the calendar RIGHT NOW.

If you can get a little more personal, talk about how you can best support each other in achieving your individual goals. Don’t turn this into a therapy session, it’s supposed to be a date, but be honest and vulnerable and ask for what you need!

DIY Home or Art Project.

This idea won’t be for everyone, but my husband and I love tackling a good DIY project for the house. Although this is an article about staying home, we’ve been known to hit Home Depot or Ikea on a date night. At home, you could pick out a project and have all the supplies ready ahead of time so that we could devote the evening to working side by side.

Similarly, if the two of you enjoy art, try some sort of craft or art project together. Gather your art supplies and get to work and order yourself some Door Dash. You’ll enjoy a little QT together 

No matter what you choose to do for Valentine’s Day this year, make it your own by figuring out what matches your personality as a couple. And remember that simple can still be really special. Just pick an activity that would be unique and special to you and your partner and the rest will fall into place.

 

Renata Musial

Renata is the founder and creator of Renewing Mom, an online community and series of in-person experiences that help moms stay connected to who they are as women and individuals. A recovering attorney, Renata lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and three young kids.

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