Valentine's Day is already sneaking up on us - this year, leave the drug-store roses on the shelf and get creative!
The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. New schedules and constraints on our daily lives has changed that way that many of us live, and can sometimes disrupt the relationships that mean the most to us.
It's important to take the time to show these important people how they affect our lives for the better - but finding a meaningful gift or activity can be difficult with all the gimmicks and marketing that seems to show up this time of year.
I'm going to focus on activities and experiences here, and how to choose and arrange a memorable date-night for our COVID reality.
Consider your ideal circumstance
We might not be able to have things exactly that way that we want them at the moment, but it's important to consider what you would do if you were to go all-out to celebrate your special person. It can be helpful to look back on other experiences that you have had, and consider what made the event special.
If it was an amazing dinner that you shared, what made it great? The ambience? The amazing food? That one great cocktail that you both loved? Nailing down what had the most impact on other great moments can help you narrow down your options.
Now that you have your key elements, consider how you would be able to maximize them - if the bartender at your favourite date-night spot makes great conversation and better drinks, make it a priority to source some interesting recipes or ingredients to make at home. If it was the intimate ambience of your favourite table-for-2, figure out how you can bring that ambience home.
Prepare in advance
Even if you prepare together, and there's no element of surprise, arranging things ahead of time can help you to appreciate the moments as they happen, as opposed to being worried about what's next.
Buy your groceries ahead and prep them so they're ready to cook. Chill your favourite sparkling wine, and do any mood-setting before the night of. Staying in the moment is key to keeping the illusion of a night-out going strong.
So here's 2 examples of great date-night ideas, one for just 2 people, and another that works great as a double-date.
Just for 2 - Virtual Tapas Cooking Class
Tapas and wine is a great date-night any time - but doing it at home can pose some challenges. Virtual cooking classes have recently taken off, and offer a great alternative to in-person classes.
We recommend doing a Tapas class for 2 reasons:
- The recipes are often fun and interesting - and generally a class covers 6 or more different recipes and flavours.
- Tapas are great to pair with wines of various types, so if there's a wine-lover in the house, choosing pairings for the dishes can be fun
Classes run around 3 hours, or more, and working with a chef, either virtually or in-person, is a great way to develop your skills and share a memorable evening.
Double Date - Paint & Sip
This can be challenging to set up at home, but it's a great activity for a larger group, and if you're worried about social distancing, you're covered there too.
Enjoy the classic stylings of entertainers like Bob Ross, and end the night with paintings to take home. Pairing the evening with some cocktails or a wine flight only adds to the experience.
Here's our tips for success, from our past experience:
- Make sure you have the colours and brushes that you need - these can generally be found fairly inexpensively online, and make all the difference in keeping the night rolling along smoothly.
- Have a plan to contain the mess - paint can obviously be messy, and a big spill could easily ruin the evening. Have a clean-up strategy, and move anything irreplaceable someplace safe.
- Go big on the canvas - those small 4x6" options may look like a cheap option, but they're usually too small for this type of painting, and aren't great for beginners (Making small marks with paint is very difficult)
The bottom line is - take the time and spend the effort this year to show your love to the people that mean the most.
-Tyler at Peregrine