Top 5 Affordable Valentine’s Day Gifts

Daddylibrium heartsIt’s less than a week before Valentine’s Day, and if you’re like me you’re fluctuating between a fading sense of optimism and full-scale panic.

Cry all you want about the holiday being a “manufactured” event to sell stuff, and how in recent years you gradually dialed down the festivities to one half-hearted card. Here’s the bottom line for Fathers – you can score major points by doing simple, sweet acts that remind your wife how much you care.

Is that really too much to ask?

Once upon a time I considered myself both hopelessly romantic and a talented gift giver. Now, after seven years of marriage and two kids, I barely have enough time to sign a Valentine’s Day card. My once fertile imagination has gone Sahara Desert dry.

That’s why I decided to hire Mrs. Daddylibrium as my Valentine’s Day consultant (she waived her standard fee). If any of the information below helps out a fellow Dad it’ll delight me. Of course, simply sharing these nuggets means I can’t use any of them on the home front. I’ll have to start from scratch – pray for me.

  • Homemade Cards: Make your spouse a homemade Valentine’s Day card including a newly printed picture of your kids, the kids and your wife, etc. Once you find the right picture it costs roughly $.39 cents and an hour to have it printed at your local Target or Walgreens. All you’ll need from there is a pair of scissors, some construction paper and a heartfelt message. Voila, a custom card is ready and waiting, and you might even have a sentimental keepsake if you’re handy.
  • Hat’s Off to You, Mom: In a similar theme, staple a few sheets of construction paper together and make a hat for your child that says, “I love Mom”  along with some cut-out hearts. Place the hat on one of your children’s heads and take some pictures.  Post the pictures on your wife’s Facebook page so her friends and family can comment on her cute and thoughtful family.
  • Be Your Own FTD: You can’t go wrong with flowers but a personal touch is even better. Don’t just have a nameless person deliver flowers to your wife’s office – deliver the bouquet yourself. You don’t need to buy an expensive arrangement – the personal delivery is the key. Extra points for having the children with you at drop-off time.
  • Chocolate with a Twist: Some Moms may resist a box of chocolates no matter what Forrest Gump says about them. But can they resist bananas, strawberries and other healthy treats kissed by cocoa? A chocolate fondue treat can be just the right choice for making an already wonderful night even better. You’ll need a pint of strawberries, a few bananas, a bag of chocolate chips and a couple teaspoons of milk. For each person, melt about 20 chocolate chips and a teaspoons of milk in little ceramic cups or bowls by putting them in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute. Stir the chocolate well, and you end up with an awesome and somewhat healthy treat. Or, try making ‘smores over candlelight.
  • Don’t Cook … Take Out. Sometimes the most romantic thing you can do is to take some of the work load off your spouse. If your wife usually cooks, tell her not to worry about dinner for one night. Set the table with flair and pick up anything from Panera to your favorite Thai restaurant. No cooking. No dishes. Plenty of compliments. Plus, you might have extra time for some post-dinner canoodling.
  • (EXTRA) Housecleaning! Get up early and tidy up the house before your spouse wakes up. If your house is already immaculate (and I hate you deeply), tackle a chore that she normally does, like cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming her car. Greet her with a cup of coffee or a freshly baked muffin and let her discover on her own that you’ve already taken care of the house for her. She’ll think about your kind act all day long.

These are all inexpensive but thoughtful gestures almost any Father can do. She’ll remember it far more than the obligatory dozen roses or heart-shaped box of chocolates.


  1. Beth Trapani says

    All excellent ideas. I would LOVE my husband to get my kids involved in making me a card… for this faux holiday, for Mother’s Day, etc. Here’s another one: How about arranging a date night? Take ownership of the child care, etc. and do the planning so we don’t have to spend precious time wondering which restaurant we should go to, etc. Just take me out!

    Backrub would be heavenly, too… Always goes over big in our house!

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