Make it Personal: The Best Kind of Valentine

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, lovers around the world are trying to figure out just the right words for that special card or letter.  Probably many of them are cringing at the pressure of romance and expectations of the most romantic day of the year.  Though many singles complain about being alone on Valentine’s Day, we are actually the lucky ones who can just have fun surprising our friends, family, or maybe even a potential romantic interest with a card or gift. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, Valentine’s Day is a time for sharing your love. But exactly what’s the best way to do that? Read on.

New media or traditional?


These days we have an abundance of ways to communicate. There’s text messaging, email, blogs, social media, eCards, and the good old standby: traditional greeting cards.  I had a debate with a friend who said that traditional was the way to go. He said there was a study done that said people don’t appreciate eCards (especially the free type) because they require no money and no time.

Personally, I don’t think it’s important to spend money to show you care about someone, but I can see that if you spend virtually no effort it will not be as appreciated as if you do take some time and make the effort to try and do something out of the ordinary.  However, buying a card at a store that has a verse all written for you doesn’t take much effort either… other than the effort it took to go to the store. My advice is to spend the effort on writing what’s in the card.  That’s more important than whether it’s paper or electronic.

However, if you really want to do something special, then be creative! Write a message on the mirror with lipstick or leave a surprise note in the car. Try to come up with a bunch of different ways to leave messages throughout the day for your Valentine.  Maybe leave just a word or a sentence with each communication building on the next until the last note which will perhaps lead to a gift.

Make it personal


So what should this mystery note say? How can you make it special? The best way is to take into account the personality of the recipient as well as your relationship.

First, let’s talk about the relationship.  Remember, this does not have to be for a love interest.  It can be for a friend, a parent, a child, a sibling. Of course, your message is going to have to be tailored to the personality and your particular relationship with this person.  Start by making a list of special experiences or memories you have with the person.  Do you have any photos? Also make a list of personality traits that you especially appreciate about the person.

The next step is to see if you can tailor your valentine in a way that shows you are appreciating and loving those special traits. For example, let’s say you and your Valentine have a tradition of playing Scrabble. Maybe your card could be made up of Scrabble tiles that spell out “I love you.” Maybe you make an inside joke using a sentence with that contested weird word you made in the last game or the controversial 2-letter words. Or how about a Scrabble pun – The only letter I want is ‘U.’

Now I’m the kind of person who likes corny puns and Scrabble, so I would love a Valentine like that. But if your Valentine prefers romance then try your hand at being more sentimental and writing a serious letter about how much she means to you.  Think about using photos from the past year as triggers. Maybe make a photo eCard or even a photo book.

Show your gratitude


Regardless of the type of card or gift you give, the primary thing you want to convey is your love and appreciation for the recipient and let them know how happy you are that they are in your life. This may be as simple as a “gratitude letter,” reminding them of special, small moments – moments that they may have not even known you noticed, but you did. Thank them for all those things they do that you may often take for granted– the laundry, the text message for no reason, the supportive smile across the room.

Make it genuine. Make it personal. Your valentine will love it and love you for your efforts.


Guest blogger Yvette Francino is the author of The Laptop Dancer Diaries: A Mostly True Story about Finding Love Again. She currently is hosting The Love Project at where she gives monthly exercises designed to give and receive love.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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