December 26th I walked into my local CVS and what did I see on the shelves replacing candy-canes and holiday cards–Valentines sweets and greetings up and down the aisles. The cynic in me was shocked and appalled at this hyper display of consumerism. The Christmas pots still soaking in my sink, New Years plans still up-in-the-air, and now I have to look at conversation hearts? Really, Hallmark… REALLY?
But then the Grinch-i-ness started to dissipate when I was reminded that the spirit of Valentines Day, although a pre-packaged holiday that is meant to represent all things love, actually fits quite well when thinking about the New Year. Here’s why and I’ll start with the obscure and get more succinct, I promise… There’s a saying my Dad used to say, and I never understood it’s true meaning until I was married: too many years, not enough days. When you are with a partner and each year passes and increments you can sometimes forget how important the individual days are. It’s those days that add up to the years…without them, the years mean nothing. Making sure there is something–however small–that connects you both is really meaningful and fortifies the everyday. I’m not talking glamourous or sexy…let’s face it, everyday life with a partner is not usually glamourous or sexy…more often than not it’s, well…not. But it is connective tissue that strengths your resolve and re-energizes your bond… and then you sneak in the sex (and glamour…but let’s face it, if you have to choose, it’s likely sex) whenever you can. Here are some ideas for activities (sort of joint gifts) to renew and remember your partner all year.
1. Shop for a new bedspread or comforter together. Pick one you both love and will want to snuggle up in all year.
2. Take some sexy pictures for each other (you know how modest you and your partner are). If your partner would appreciate it, assemble a book or simply let him/her have a few on their phone.
3. Pick a project: learn to ballroom dance, do a scrapbook like this one, take a pottery class–but do it together.
4. Bathrobes: silky, terry or woven…they don’t have to match, they just have to be what you both are happy with and make sure you use them to lounge around.
5. Bath products: Bubbles or salts, up to you…whatever will keep you soaking, preferably together.
6. Massage oils: For foot and back rubs. For the rubber-make sure it’s a smell and consistency you like too, it’s OK to have multiple sets and experiment.
7. Chocolate body paint (why not?)
8. Browse the poetry section at a bookstore and get lost in magnificent prose…you’ll be pawing all over each other before you get to the “M’s.” (Side note: personally, I am partial to e.e.cummings, Nikki Giovanni, Garcia Lorca, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Shakespeare’s sonnets)