Valentine’s Day wasn’t always a Hallmark holiday. It has, however, at least since the Middle Ages, been a day on which people express affection toward one another. First, with written letters. Then, in the 1800s, with intricate valentines decorated with fine lace and flowers. And today, with overpriced paper cards that make unfunny jokes about getting naked. In fact, according to Hallmark, 144 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year ⏤ and that doesn’t count the millions of tiny Snoopy cards handed out in classrooms.
But no matter how the gifts or cards have changed over the centuries, the sentiment has never wavered. Valentine’s Day remains a day, no matter how commercial, to tell someone special in your life that you love and appreciate them. So, to help you do so without being one in 144 million, we put together this list, in no particular order, of 100 small, nice things you can do for your wife or partner on February 14th, or any day, to show them that you care. Or, that you’d just like to see them naked.
1. Set your phone alarm or radio to play a song she likes when you wake up. It sets a nice mood for the day.
2. Send her an internet thing that you know she’ll like. Find an article or a cat video ⏤ it doesn’t matter. Just something good for a small bit of happy.
3. Ask her if she’d like some time alone. There’s nothing more romantic than demonstrating that you’re not needy.
4. Warm up the car for her. It’s cold out.
5. Put something weird in her work bag. Could be chocolate. Could be a toy. Could be a drawing of an ocelot wearing sunglasses.
6. Take out the trash. Feels like a weird thing, but it’s hard to have a special day when garbage is just laying around. Also, tidy up a bit. It makes a world of difference when it’s time for the big romantic gesture.
7. Warm up her towel, robe, or slippers in the dryer. That way she has something cozy to slip into when she first wakes up/gets out the shower.
8. Do a few extra chores around the house, and don’t point it out to her. Better yet, do the one chore she hates to do the most.
9. Make some quick brownies. Except make them in a muffin tin. That way, every piece is an edge piece.
10. Keep the kids busy, or get them out of the house, so she can sleep in.
11. Send her flowers at work. Bouqs is a reliably great service with reasonable prices.
12. Paste her toothbrush for her when you’re both getting ready for the day. A small, sweet gesture.
13. Give her a backrub without making a big deal out of it. Don’t use oil, lotions, or rose petals; just go for it.
14. Text: “Thinking of you” at some point during the day. Follow it up an hour later with a funny aubergine-peach emoji combo or something funny-sexy if that’s your thing.
15. Make breakfast for her. Bring it to her while she’s in bed. Coffee too.
16. Make her a homemade card. Put some effort into it.
17. Go running with her. Or to yoga class. Or rock climbing. Whatever her exercise thing is, do it with her.
18. Leave some Post-Its for her everywhere ⏤ on the bathroom mirror, in her laptop, on the steering wheel, in her sock drawer, etc. Ideally, include compliments, memories, and a few innuendos.
19. Tell her a good joke. Emphasis on good.
20. Make her a mixtape. Or a playlist if you’re not an old person. Could be songs you were listening to when you started dating, songs you both like, or one of those cool playlists where if you read every song in the tracklist it’s like a message.
21. Consume a piece of pop culture ⏤ show, band, song ⏤ that she loves but you’ve never seen, read, or even heard of. Bring it up later in conversation.
22. Tell her an embarrassing story from your childhood. Keep it light, though. Nothing too weird or sad. Tell it with some flair.
23. Make a list of things for which you’re proud of her. Don’t be vague. Choose real things.
24. Take a bunch of dumb online personality quizzes together.
25. Let her throw out something of yours that she lowkey despises. Grin and bear it.
26. Give her a week of total control over the little things. She gets to pick movies, food, activities, whatever it is that you two do.
27. Set a price range and make a dumb impulse buy together.
28. Vacuum underneath the couch.
29. Prep the baby bottles, make the kids’ lunches, do whatever morning task she usually does.
30. Make her a homemade card from the kids.
31. Buy a pack of kids Valentine’s Day cards. Give her one the best one. Hell, give her 5 and place them all over the house.
32. Clean the bathtub.
33. Put your phone in a shoe box for the night. Don’t take it out.
34. Look at old pictures from when you were dating or newly married. Fondly reminisce.
35. Compliment her in public. Make sure other people hear.
36. Do something special for her on social media if that’s your thing. Make it funny. Heartfelt. But remember it’s a public declaration, so don’t be embarrassing.
37. Find the best scribble your kid made at school and present it nicely to her.
38. Make some PokéMOM cards for her with the kids. Each one should have a picture of your wife and a special skill she possesses that you and your kids love.
39. Whisper something sweet to her.
40. Get her a gift that will last a long time. Think guitar lessons, not chocolate.
41. Take a half day from work and do something fun together. The best way to surprise someone is to really surprise them — by sacrificing work time for her.
42. Hug her from behind tenderly. Smell her hair.
43. Organize and clean up your space. It’s a gift for everyone — but especially her.
44. Frame a picture of her with the kids. Tell her why you love it.
45. Go for a walk together.
46. Find her shopping list, to-do list, or Google calendar and add silly, romantic things to it.
47. Don’t send flowers to her workplace. Send her favorite snack instead. There are a ton of supermarkets that deliver.
48. Put a heating pad on her side of the bed.
49. Give her some interruption-free time to binge watch/marathon a TV show.
50. Make out with her.
51. Send her a nice text that includes your feelings. Not just a string of dumb emojis.
52. Get her tickets to something she’s really into. It could be a comedian, a band, a book reading, just don’t forget to also schedule a babysitter.
53. Buy her a really dope bath bomb.
54. Teach the kids to sing a classic love song she likes. Sure, it’s probably easier to have them make an “I Love You This Much” card, but a song and dance? That’s next-level effort.
55. Turn off the television for one night.
56. Give her the last bite of dessert. And the first.
57. Shave. Or just clean up your beard.
58. Light a ridiculous amount of candles.
59. Get her car oil changed.
60. Burn your cargo shorts. Yes, in front of her.
61. Have the kids surprise her with flowers at work.
62. Make coffee before she asks.
63. Go to the fancy grocery store for dinner stuff. Make a fancy dinner.
64. Give her a piggyback ride.
65. Make her any meal with care. Does she love sandwiches? Make the dopest sandwich.
66. Draw her a bath. Let her enjoy it in peace.
67. Open up a nice, special-occasion bottle of wine.
68. Write her a note. An actual note, in a card and put some feeling into it.
69. Post an album on Facebook or an Instagram story with a picture from each year you’ve been together.
70. Clean and vacuum all the kid crap from the car. The Goldfish crumbs, the fruit snacks wrappers — all of it. Make it spotless.
71. Dress the kids up.
72. Ask about her day. Then listen to the details. All of them.
73. Let her pick the movie (and the movie snack), whether you’re going out or staying in.
74. Rent her favorite movie on your computer. Let her pick the snack. Snuggle as you enjoy it on the small screen. Make out like teens afterwards.
75. Make a heart-shaped memory for every month (or year) you’ve loved her. To each, add a concrete reason you love her: “For the day you gave birth to our child.” “For the time you kissed me on the beach on vacation.” “Your booty is a masterpiece.”
76. Have a masseuse come to the house.
77. Buy her a gift certificate to her favorite clothing store. Don’t buy her lingerie or other clothing. That is hard. You will fail.
78. Meet her at the office and take her out to lunch.
79. Light a candle for every year you’ve loved her. She’s the light of your life. Get it?
80. Throw a family dance night, but only with songs she likes.
81. Get a morning babysitter for a few hours and go out on a breakfast date.
82. Create a simple movie from your photos.
83. Use cardboard and construction paper to make a 3-foot-tall Valentine’s Day card that the kids can sign.
84. Plan a vacation ⏤ at least the basics ⏤ and reveal it on Valentine’s Day. Something to look forward to is a great gift now.
85. Play a board game together after the kids go to bed.
86. Read a non-kid story or book aloud together.
87. Don’t work late.
88. Play footsie with her.
89. Slow dance with her in the living room. To a classic love song. Something like this.
90. Buy her a book you think she’d love. Write a few notes in the margins.
91. Have her favorite cocktail ready when she gets home from work.
92. Go on a picnic in the backyard.
93. Change the background picture on her phone or tablet to one of you together.
94. Send her a letter in the mail. Use a real stamp.
95. Wear the shirt in your closet she likes the most.
96. Insist that you both eat dinner at an actual table, not in front of the television. Talk.
97. Call her at work to say “hi.” On the phone. No texts, no emails.
98. Take the day’s first baby feeding.
99. Draw her a picture. Put some effort into it.
100. Tell her how glad you are you married her.