Whether planning a get-together with friends, family or alone with your spouse or someone special, here are some ideas to make a perfect Valentine's Day.
Music: Instrumental music from jazz to classical is a safe bet for dinnertime entertainment. For a more personal touch, create and play your own CD full of songs that are meaningful to you and your spouse. If your get-together is a "girlfriends" affair, make a compilation of songs from your favorite road trips.
Lighting: Nothing is more romantic than candlelight. Cluster different size pillars for a centerpiece, or scatter votives across the table and windowsills. Or write a guests name on self-adhesive labels and stick them on votives, or cover with pretty Valentine type paper and write their name on each one, and place one in the middle of each plate to designate seats.
Thoughtful Gifts: Give books. In a blank journal, write a sentence on each page, telling your friend or family member why you love them or recounting a funny story in your relationship. If you are having a party you can slip a movie gift certificate in each napkin ring - a good way to ensure you will get together again before the next Valentine's Day. For Kids: Create a journal and write a message of love each year. Bring it out every Valentine's Day to add a new message and reminisce on years past. Or lay clever-coupons at each child's plate. One can be for an extra hour before bedtime, another for an ice cream outing with friends. Buy simple chocolate bars and cover over the wrapper with a personalized once; you can make these on you home computer. You can even print a child's picture or write her name on it.
Take-Home Treasures: Write the evenings recipes on note cards and tie them with a red ribbon. Give them to guests as they leave, attached to a favorite condiment or spice used in the meal. For kids: Have kids decorate their own sugar cookies and take them home (or eat them) at the end of the evening.
For Your Spouse: Buy wine from a significant year, such as your wedding anniversary or the year your first child was born.
After The Party: There's no way better to wind down than a great love story. Curl up to watch romantic standbys, such as "An Affair to Remember," "Shakespeare In Love," and "Sabrina." For Kids: Bubble baths are fun for all ages. Throw in some pink suds or body crayons to make it special. Before bed, read a book about love, whether it's between best friends or parents and children. Or flip through your wedding album, telling your children stories about you and your spouse before they were born.