Love it or loathe it, Valentine's Day makes us think about what love really means and how we show it to the people we love. There are the obvious outward displays, such as the giving and receiving of roses, or sharing an intimate, candlelit dinner.
Most of us enjoy and even look forward to these little rituals. What gets tricky though, are the presents. After all, it's easy to splurge and still miss the mark.
So why not inject a little more care and meaning into what you choose to give as tokens of love for one another? Here are 5 gifts that are swoon-worthy and truly rich in meaning.
1. Craft Love Coupons
Love coupons are an inexpensive and thoughtful way to add some fun into your relationship. You can easily create your own or find printable coupons online. What better way to show your caring and romantic side than with a book of favours tailor-made for that special someone?
Need some ideas? These can include coupons for: getting the car when it's raining, breakfast in bed, a week of doing household chores or even a month of letting your partner choose the bedroom temperature! For an extra twist, leave a few blank coupons for them to fill out.
Just because it's your gift to them doesn't mean you can't tip the odds in your favour; go on, be as creative and cheeky as you want while you're at it.
2. Prepare a Home Cooked Meal
Skip the hassle of going to a crowded restaurant and surprise your partner instead with a home-cooked meal.
Spending the night in is a fun and intimate way to enjoy each other's company, so don't forget to set the mood as well. Dim those lights, cue the music and pour the wine.
Don't worry if your culinary skills don't win them over, the effort definitely will!
3. Go for a Picnic Together
Up the romance by taking your loved one out for a picnic. Choose a location that holds a special place in your hearts or simply a scenic spot where you both can enjoy time alone without distractions.
Pulling off the perfect picnic will lie in the details. From putting together a basket of their favourite food to surprising them with fresh flowers, it's the little things that will add an extra dimension to the date.
Bonus: extend the date by planning fun activities to do after and don't forget to take photos to capture the memories you can treasure forever.
4. Celebrate Your Love Story with a Scrapbook
Why not fall in love all over again? Making a scrapbook can be a fun and creative way to highlight the best of your relationship journey.
Think of all the special memories you've shared together. All it takes is an empty scrap book and a couple of printed photos. To add an extra touch, write about your favourite day with them or sprinkle sweet and funny handwritten captions here and there.
The book may be filled with sentimental mementos, such as ticket stubs from your first date, movie or concert – but don't forget to reserve a few blank pages for future occasions!
5. Give Something That Lasts
Some of the best presents can't be wrapped up. So what can be a more thoughtful gift than a promise for your future? We may not be able to see what the future holds but that should not stop us from making plans and doing what we can to guard against uncertainty.
For most couples in Singapore, this will mean counting on CPF LIFE to a certain extent for a lifelong stream of retirement income. What you get out of it depends greatly on what you put into it. So, transferring your CPF to build up your spouse's retirement sum will have its benefits.
How does this work? Simply put, if you have saved enough for your Basic Retirement Sum, Full- or even Enhanced Retirement Sum but your spouse has not, topping up his or her Special Account (or Retirement Account if the recipient is above 55) will enable you both to enjoy more interest.
This will especially benefit spouses who have made sacrifices to stop work for their families and have low CPF balances.
Here's a quick look at how much interest you can earn in your CPF accounts:
In terms of everlasting love, this is one of the most meaningful gifts you can share with someone you love.
Read more: Is your stay-at-home spouse prepared for retirement?
And there you have it! Having a day set aside to celebrate your love and friendship is great, but why wait for Valentine's Day to show them how much they mean to you? Shower each other with small tokens of affection every now and then, and perhaps give yourself an excuse to turn a normal day into a special one. When it comes to love, don't wait for Valentine's Day to show that special someone how much you care.