“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January.”

Thank you, Jim Gaffigan, for the pragmatic synopsis.

LOVE statue in Philadelphia

The herd is agitated. Our annual holiday for florists approacheth. There are sure to be a few happy engagements on the 14th, but they’ll be dramatically outnumbered by bad restaurant prix-fixes, droopy roses and Whitman’s Samplers, the Walgreen’s standby for procrastinators.

Shun the madness. Use a bit of creativity this Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to shell out a ton of moolah but you do have to think – just a bit – about your significant other. Here are a few ideas to engage your imagination.

  1. Start a couple’s book group. Pick a title and purchase two copies in the format you each prefer. If your man listens to his books, buy his on a cd and yours in paperback. Set a date in 6 weeks to meet and discuss the book. For suggestions, check this list of titles that will be released as films in 2015 from BuzzFeed. It’s a smart strategy. If the books don’t get read, you can make a date to see the movie.
  2. Visit a distillery. It’s shaping up to be the decade for brown liquor, spirited spirits and moonshine. Distilleries are popping up all over so there’s a good chance there’s one near you. Or pack up your kit bags and head to the granpappy of ’em all, the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. And if you’re going to Tennessee, there’s simply no reason not to swing by Dollywood. Especially if you’re loaded on bourbon.
  3. Volunteer. If there’s nothing on television, do you routinely turn to HGTV’s makeover shows, like Property Brothers, Rehab Addict and Fixer Upper? Find a local Habitat for Humanity project and volunteer together. You won’t fight the way you would if you started to demo your own bathroom, because there’ll be other people around to shame you into behaving.

And, if all else fails, perhaps a set of his and her flasks?

Anne Taintor Flask