Valentine's Day is like Black Friday to me. Places are crowded. There's a lot of temptation to spend a ton of money all at once. In the case of either event, frankly, I'd rather stay at home and wait for it all to blow over. But a cozy night at home with your valentine can be pretty special if you take a few extra steps to make it more of an event than your regular weeknight dinners.
Set the Table
If you're usually coffee-table or breakfast-bar eaters, Valentine's Day is one of those nights where you'll want to break out of the rut. Clear out the dining room and set places for you and your date at the table. Grab a small bouquet of flowers on your way home Friday night and place them into a vase at the center of the table. Dim the lights and light a few sweet-smelling candles for ambience, too.
Make a Romantic Playlist
Grab your phone and make your date a 21st century mix tape of your favorite love songs. If you don't have time or don't want to make your own, the Love Pop playlist on Spotify is pretty great, or try Cozy Evening for a more chill vibe.
Pick Up a Great Bottle of Wine
It doesn't have to be expensive, but you would do well to put a little extra thought into what bottle you want to pop open tonight.
Cook a Special Dinner
Preparing a restaurant-quality dish at home isn't something you do every other Tuesday night, so this is an opportunity to break out a special occasion recipe and really impress your date.
Treat Yourself to Dessert
You can make something, but I like to pick up a store bought treat for Valentine's Day. There are several great bakeries in my neighborhood that make really stunning cakes and delicious desserts. So when I can find an excuse to splurge on a really spectacular dessert, I will absolutely do it.
What are your Valentine's Day plans? Those of you who like to stay home, how do you make the night feel special?
(Image credits: Jiri Miklo/Shutterstock; Lauren Kolyn)