With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many of us are thinking about gifts. Some of us will go out to eat and others will give a card to express their love.

All of these ideas are fine, but what if this year we celebrated Valentine’s Day “outside of the box”? What if we came up with something unique that spoke to our valentine’s heart?

The following are a few ideas to spark your own imagination:

1. Hand write a love letter. Include why your spouse is special to you, what you admire about him or her both physically and mentally, and how much you love them.You can find examples online of love letters.

2. Go on a hike to Chalk Ridge Falls. This is a lovely wooded area with a small waterfall off Stillhouse lake. You can stay on the path or veer off and create your own path. Wear some hiking boots and enjoy the great outdoors with no cellphones to distract you.

3. Have dinner at home. Prepare and serve your valentine a meal. You can buy premade food that you simply have to heat to make this easier if you don’t cook or don’t have time. A meal idea is a bag of salad mix, frozen lasagna and dinner rolls from the bakery. End the meal with cupcakes or a small chocolate cake for dessert.

4. Pack a picnic, blanket and old bread to feed ducks. I recommend Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights or the pond in front of Central Texas College. Pack sandwiches or pick up a bucket of chicken at KFC. You can find “date night” questions on the internet. While enjoying the picnic, discuss the questions and see what you can learn about each other.

5. If your valentine likes treasure hunting, spend the day with your spouse going to garage sales. There is also a flea market-type antique store in Salado or Texas Thrift in Killeen. Pack coffees in travel mugs and spend the day searching for treasure. Stop and have lunch somewhere on your route.

6. Light candles in the bathroom and prepare your Valentine a bubble bath. Keep the children entertained so they can fully enjoy a time of relaxation. If possible, follow with a massage.

7. Clean the house. Send your valentine out for the day such as a shopping day or do this while your spouse is at work. There is nothing more refreshing than coming home to a clean home. Don’t forget candles to complement the mood.

8. I do have a tried and true date night with kids. I have mentioned this before, but I will again because it works.

Put the kids to bed earlier than you. Feed them dinner and make sure they are tucked in for the night. Turn off the light and have dinner with your spouse by candlelight. Afterward, sit in the living room and talk by candlelight.

You can choose to do one of these, combine the ideas, or come up with your own. We don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a memorable Valentine’s Day.

Kindra Warner is a marriage group facilitator at Grace Christian Center in Killeen and a Herald correspondent.

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