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Happy Valentine's Day Thumbnail

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

Yes, Valentine’s Day can feel like a hokey overly commercialized holiday only meant to sell greeting cards, flowers, and candy. But you still love it -- admit it.

This year, go beyond the card and flowers and plan a date night out with your sweetheart. Here are six tips to help make it a fun and affordable evening.

1. Secure a Sitter If You Have Little Ones

Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular date nights in the country, which means it’s also one of the most popular days for families to hire a babysitter. If your regular sitter has date night plans of her own, make sure you know that early. Nothing kills the romance like scrambling to find last-minute child care. Instead of begging your parents to watch the kids (again), hire a sitter early. That will leave you time to focus on the more important parts of your V-Day celebration.

2. Show Little Ones Some Love, Big Ones Too

Yes, you're going out at night, but Valentine's Day lasts all day. Plan a special family breakfast or spend some extra time with the kids during the day. You can even do some of these 41 Valentine's Day crafts together. Then, when you head out the door, leave them with a fun new movie to watch or game to play with -- and don't forget the chocolate kiss!

3. Start With a Surprise

Most romantic plans happen in the evening after the day’s stresses have passed. Instead of waiting all day to turn on the romance, plan a little surprise for your love first thing in the morning. Plant a little gift in your partner’s sock drawer or tape a cute picture of you both on the bathroom mirror. The sweet gesture will start the day on the right foot.

4. Pamper Yourself

Don’t just phone it in -- get yourself in the mood for your big night out. Ask the sitter to come an hour or two early so you could spend time getting ready without your kids hanging from you. Take a real bubble bath, get a manicure, use makeup beyond ChapStick, treat yourself to a new outfit, or rent a designer one.

5. Plan Something Fun

Dinner and a movie are always enjoyable, but try to think of something special for this special night. (Be inspired by these 101 Cheap Date Ideas.)For example, you could recreate your first date. Whether it's having drinks at your local bar or a crazy rock and roll concert, reliving that first encounter will bring back the sparks. If you’ve since relocated from your original stomping grounds, try making up a new Valentine’s Day tradition that you'll both enjoy.

Just make sure you avoid these 9 Valentine's Day Horror Stories!

6. Celebrate the Day After

You and your valentine probably don’t want to be surrounded by other noisy couples on your evening of romance. Unfortunately, finding a private table at a decent restaurant will be like finding a needle in a haystack. Consider postponing your celebrations to the next night. You’ll get two days of romance and get to enjoy some privacy at the venue of your choice.

If your budget is a little tight, you'll also save money with this option. And learn about these 8 Free (or Almost Free) Valentine's Day Ideas.

And don't forget...Quality Time Together!

Quality time together is one of the most important gifts you can give one another on this special day or any other day for that matter.

Source: Dayna Scandone, Care.com