Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, and many people are already feeling the stress of wondering what extravagant gift to buy for their lover this year.  While the modern world brings with it many advantages such as scientific and technologic progress, it has also brought us the idea that our love for those closest to us can be measured by the value of the gifts we bestow upon them.  Every one of us can enjoy the thrill of a new piece of designer clothing, or the latest Apple gadget, but do we really need these things?  In our last hours on this planet, will we look back and reminisce on our acquisition of material possessions? Or will we remember those special moments spent in the company of our loved ones, sampling the simple pleasures of life that cannot be purchased with a platinum visa card?  The following is a list of suggestions for alternative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day:

Create a Work of Art

Use your imagination to show your lover just how much you care for them.  Compose a song, write a poem, paint, draw, or even prepare a monologue telling them all the reasons why you love them.  A handmade photo album filled with pictures of both of you can make a beautiful keepsake, or create a collection of songs on a CD that hold a particularly sentimental value in your relationship.

Treat them like a King/Queen

We never really outgrow our inner child in the sense that every one of us prefers the care and attention of our loved ones as opposed to a store bought gift.  Split the day in half, and take turns to treat the other like royalty by tending to their every need.  Whoever takes the morning shift can begin with breakfast in bed, and then join the other in the shower to lovingly shampoo their hair and scrub their back.  The evening can begin with a home cooked meal followed by a sensual massage, and anything else that inspires you while caring for each other.

Do Charity Work Together

Helping others less fortunate than us is one of the most rewarding tasks imaginable, and doing this as part of a couple is a great way to bring you closer together.  Arrange to help out at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or whatever takes your fancy, and if you enjoy your experience it may even lead to a regular commitment.  If there are no organisations that you can volunteer your time at in your town, take the money you would have spent on gifts and donate it to a charity you both agree on.

Support Local Business

If you cannot resist buying your lover a gift, make sure you purchase something that benefits your local community.  Independently owned businesses need your support much more than the powerful international companies, and you have the added benefit of purchasing something unique.  Many towns have local businesses which sell handmade jewellery, clothing, cosmetics, or accessories, or do a quick search on the internet for small businesses selling their own wares.  Be sure to exercise caution whenever purchasing goods over the Internet, and especially through sites such as EBay.

Whatever you choose, by staying away from the traditional options of candy, flowers, and expensive material gifts, you will send a powerful message to the advertising companies that we are no longer slaves to their marketing strategies.  Valentine’s Day has become a consumerist holiday along with Christmas, Easter, and Mother and Father’s day, but by choosing where we spend our money we can reclaim the power back from the advertising giants.  If we no longer continue to buy the latest product they aggressively push onto us, and instead use our own resources, or buy locally manufactured items, we take away their money and eventually their power.