Though the day’s origins are deeply rooted in Christianity, Valentine’s Day as we know it is a multibillion-dollar machine that succeeds in prompting us to show people we are close to just much we love them via displays of cards, chocolates, flowers, perfume, lingerie and the like. In the United States it is even known as a “Hallmark Holiday,” as it’s the second largest card-giving holiday of the year.

Despite what marketers and advertisers may want us to think, however, expressing one’s love doesn’t necessarily require cash. Sometimes the best and most meaningful expressions of love are those that require time and effort and are handmade.

If you are looking for a creative way to express how you feel to your romantic partner, tell them with something personalized, such as a scrapbook of your lives together. Compile photos and mementos of things like your first date or how you met and other meaningful moments of your relationship and present them as a Valentine.

You don’t necessarily have to go with a scrapbook, though. If you don’t like that format, cutting out little hearts on coloured paper and leaving them in places where your Valentine will find them or up on a wall as a collage is also a great idea.

You could also create a little book of redeemable “love coupons” with little vouchers that your partner can use for “a romantic massage,” or “a romantic couples night,” or anything else that you think you can do to help your partner. Even giving your partner a coupon for you to do the dishes for them or to watch the kids while they go out for some time to themselves can ultimately be of intense value to your partner as romance does not necessarily always start in the bedroom.

Sometimes acknowledging some of your partner’s more immediate needs can go a lot further than a box of chocolates. One of the best things you can do is prepare a love package on the bed filled with candles, CDs of your favourite artists, blindfolds, chocolate syrup, massage oils and other sexy surprises that you can use on Valentine’s Day, or, if 14th, is not convenient, whenever your partner wants.

Valentine’s Day is always filled with fun activities for the little ones as kids will give Valentines to the other children in their classes and there are sure to be class parties. For some simple Valentines that the kids can make at home for their friends and family, get them to make sponge cards. Select some red or white construction paper and cut a heart out of a clean sponge. The kids can dip their sponge into red or pink tempera paint and use the sponge as a stamp. Once the paint dries, you and your child can write a Valentine’s Day message on the home made Valentines. For more card or craft ideas for kids, go to’s Day is probably a difficult one for those who are single, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole day needs to be spent pining over what, or who, you don’t have. Instead, why not celebrate with other singles? Get the girls or the guys together for a fun night out, hit a restaurant or a community party together and celebrate your friendship. Besides, you never know who you might meet while out with your buddies!Should a night out not appeal to you, why not offer to baby-sit for a couple desperate for some couple time? What goes around comes around, and they may repay the favour the next time you want to go out on a date.

In the end, it’s not about adhering to the commercial concepts of Valentine’s Day but showing those that you love that you really love them whichever way that you can. Hallmark doesn’t set the mark, you do.