Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Planning for Valentine's Day by Amber Leigh Williams

Every year just before dawn on February fourteenth, the town of Montpelier, Vermont is hit by a phantom - a Valentine phantom. For the last decade, The Montpelier Valentine Phantom has decorated the storefronts of Montpelier, Vermont with thousands of red hearts. It started in the heart of town, on Main Street, but over the years the Valentine's Day cheer has spread to other streets. Even in 2007 when heavy snow marred the streets, the phantom continued his work. The residents of Montpelier woke not just to a snowy white landscape, but to the welcome sight of the phantom's hearts. The phantom's "phans" have dedicated a Facebook page to its decade-long run....

This is just one of the many reasons I love Valentine's Day! I make no secret of my love for the holiday every February. Every year around this time, I get out the construction paper, scissors and Elmer's glue. Nothing says "I love you" like homemade cards and paper heart chains! (This year my sister and I even plan on sending a box of paper hearts and homemade chocolate turtles to our father in Georgia.) And with a sweet, new, baby boy in our lives, the whole family is ready to dive into the holidays this year with all the youthful fervor we did when we were children ourselves.

I'm still a big believer in doing things the simple way. This year, the hub and I thought the best way to celebrate Valentine's Day would be to cook a meal for each other. Our little man makes quick and easy meal preparation a necessity throughout the week and some weekends. To treat ourselves, we decided to go all out for a holiday feast. The hub will make me a steak dinner and I will prepare him a large, strawberry-vanilla cake for dessert. This is my first attempt at baking a cake, but I'm determined to pull it off and to have fun while I'm at it. We'll top it off with some sweet wine and chocolate-covered strawberries. And instead of setting the table for this fine meal, we'll spread a blanket on the living room floor, light some candles and have our very own homespun picnic. Simple, romantic, intimate - right up our alley! So much so that I wonder why we never thought of it before instead of dipping deep into our pockets for a meal in a loud, crowded restaurant or expensive presents. As new parents, we realize now more than ever that the quality time together is more than enough!

If you're planning on keeping it simple this Valentine's Day with your special someone, might I make a musical suggestion? We're forgoing the usual movie this year (since we can never really agree on a genre anyway - ah, the great debate over action, comedy or romance) and choosing to go the old-fashioned route. Or...the eighties' and nineties' way - the mixed tape. Only this time, we're getting really creative. In the dating years, we covered songs that held special meaning for us. This year I thought it would be fun to compile a playlist of songs based on real-life love stories written either by the people who experienced them or others inspired by them. It's makes for good ambience and interesting conversation. My personal favorite so far is "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, written by June Carter about their complex relationship at the time. (I couldn't resist throwing in "Jackson," Johnny's duet with June, which over the years has become a staple of ours on karaoke night.) Some others that made the cut include "My Girl" (written for Smokey Robinson's wife), "Wonderful Tonight" (written by Eric Clapton for his spouse at the time), and "Maybe I'm Amazed" (which Paul McCartney dedicated to his wife, Linda).


So, folks, what are your plans this Valentine's Day? Do you prefer to keep it simple or go all out?

Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Amber Leigh Williams


Margo Hoornstra said...


Sounds like you have a great Valentine's Day planned. Nothing like having a child to bring you back to the basics, right?

Barbara Edwards said...

I know its close but we haven't decided. Like that town tradition. It's sweet.

Jannine Gallant said...

Sounds like a fun evening, Amber. When your kid has an after school orthodontist appointment (what was I thinking when I scheduled that!) and a late ballet class pick up, I'll be scrambling just to get dinner made. I'm afraid the romance isn't going to be there this year.