Wednesday, February 10, 2016 • love, Valentine, Valentine's Day, holiday, Gift Baskets

Take A Fresh Approach To Valentine's Day

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when making Valentine's Day plans. The pressure to pair a thoughtful gift with a memorable activity is enough to make anyone?s head spin. There are, of course, trusty standbys: a restaurant reservation and a dozen long-stemmed red roses, a night at the theater and a teddy bear. These are romantic gestures, to be sure. But their popularity makes it easy for us to think of them as the only acceptable Valentine's Day gifts. Such is not the case.

Valentine's Day is an occasion to celebrate your connections with your loved ones. It is an opportunity to express your affection for those people who hold a special place in your life. With that in mind, there is no reason you should feel the need to limit yourself to the standbys when coming up with a game plan. Your relationships are unique. They have their own shapes and rhythms and quirks. Just as your relationships are distinct, so, too, can be the way you spend the holiday. Here, we offer up a few of our favorite unconventional ideas, along with our picks for Valentine?s Day gifts, for making the day a sweet experience for everyone.

Organize a dinner party. Whether it's an intimate affair for two or a larger gathering of your nearest and dearest, dinner at home means you?ll skip the crowded restaurants and long wait times. Make the evening a hands-on event by cooking the meal together, or opt for courses that require some assembly, such as a pasta bar or do-it-yourself antipasto skewers. The laughter will flow as guests relax and bond over the experience of achieving the perfectly seasoned sauce. As the evening winds down, surprise your guests (or host, if someone else opened up their home) with a Valentine's Day gift basket of fine wines and sweet treats. Our recommendation: The Cliffside Vineyards California Collection, with red and white wines and a curated mixture of perfectly paired snacks. The perfect way to cap off an evening of delicious food and good company.

Cozy up at a drive-in cinema. Pack up your car with a blanket and perhaps a few pillows (might as well be comfortable) and rediscover the old-time charm of an outdoor movie theater. There will be no one to hog the armrests or whisper during important plot points. Just you and your date sharing the sweet and savory goodies from the Valentine's Day gift basket that arrived earlier that day. Our number one gift choice: our Movie Night Popcorn and Candy Collection, a nostalgic popcorn tub brimming with all your movie theater favorites.

Head outside. Take in the sights and sounds of nature while on a hike or drive to a secluded place for some star gazing. Being away from the rest of the world will give you a chance to shed your stresses while sharing a mini adventure with your partner in crime. After your activity, pause to reflect on the excursion over a picnic basket bursting with fine wines and delicious accompaniments. Our selection for the occasion: our Picnic Backpack with Cabernet and Chardonnay, stocked with everything you need for a romantic al fresco dining experience? including silverware and a bottle opener!

Get pampered at home. Pull out the bath oils, light some scented candles, and treat yourself and your loved one to a day of bliss. Relax in a hot bath. Take turns giving each other massages and foot rubs. You can even arrange for an in-home masseuse or mobile manicurist, if you're so inclined. Our gift suggestion for this sensual Valentine's Day date: Spa Experience, featuring enough body-pampering products to cater to her every whim.

Don't forget Mom. While here in the United States we tend to view it as a lovers' holiday, Valentine?s Day is actually a perfect opportunity to acknowledge all of your cherished relationships, from your mother and grandmother to your best friend and niece. Stop by for a cup of coffee and a chat before whisking them away for an afternoon at a museum or to that painting class you know they've been dying to take. Your friend or family member will be touched that you remembered them. Surprise them ahead of your visit by sending over a sweet selection of goodies you two can enjoy together. Our picks for these Valentine's Day gift baskets: Our Coffee, Tea & Cocoa basket or our Fruit & Sweets basket. Both baskets are busting with light snacks and hot beverage items. They're the perfect start to afternoon of bonding.

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