When it comes to what we think of as a “romantic idea” it feels like our culture is constantly putting pressure on us to be more original. T.V ads tell us that you have to buy your girlfriend diamond jewellery with engraving to be original this Valentine’s Day. There’s always a better restaurant, more exotic flower, more expensive chocolate and sometimes it seems that even that’s not good enough. Movies have characters standing outside windows with boom-boxes or hiring violinists for private dinners but I don’t own a boom-box and even if I could afford to hire a violinist I don’t think I’d feel very comfortable eating and talking in front of him.

Maybe innovation is a bit unrealistic, maybe it takes a bit more effort than it is actually worth. After all aren’t romantic gestures just meant to show your appreciation for your loved one? Isn’t breakfast in bed or a romantic gift of flowers and chocolates good enough? Movies and dinner might not be original but I love being taken out for both.

On the other hand it might just be that we are pushing the idea of originality to its extreme. Perhaps creativity can be simpler than what we imagine it to be. Maybe it couldn’t hurt to do something a little different and new occasionally. For instance, instead of going out for dinner, have an evening picnic on your living room floor with candles to light the room and chocolate-coated strawberries for desert. Would it kill you to take up a few lessons with your partner to learn that dance form she’s always loved? Probably not, unless you have back problems in which case you could maybe sign up for French classes instead. When it comes to a romantic gift, give your partner a hard cover copy of their favorite novel with an inscription instead of the usual flowers and chocolates.

It seems that being innovative can actually be stress-free and sometimes even cheaper. Instead of buying my husband a card for our last anniversary, I made one with a printed photograph of us inside. He really liked it because it was unique and personal and maybe that’s the secret. If I hired a violinist to play at dinner it wouldn’t mean anything special to my husband because he doesn’t even like classical instruments.

So really can’t be the same kind of original that we see in the movies because besides being an impossible target, it wouldn’t be personal.