Some of us are a fountain of innovation and creativity when celebrating a loved one, the rest of us dread it. It’s not that we love this special someone any less, we just wish they’d tell us what they want! The thinking and planning and all that mushy stuff, are just not our way. Well, whichever divide you’re on, here are ten ideas on what you can do to celebrate that special someone on a big day, or a random one.
- Picture Book: Last year, a friend of mine shared the picture book his girlfriend made for him for his birthday. It was a comic book, with several pages depicting them both as cartoons, and her saying lots of sweet things about him and their relationship. It was ingenious! Out of the norm and touching. I attempted replicating it for SA on his birthday in 2021 but didn’t get the right vendor in time. Side gossip; my friend got married one year later to a different lady.
2. Flowers – Say what? African women love flowers, for real. They just prefer it when the petals are made of rolled legal tender, or better still, hard currency. Jokes aside, try flowers as an addition to everything else on their birthday, or any day at all that you want to celebrate them. I know that I was thrilled when flowers got delivered to my office on my birthday, and they decorated our dining table for days. Always remember to add a note – mandatorily. Then you may choose to throw in some chocolate and movie tickets for two. Another great time to buy flowers is when your spouse is unwell, but remember to always add a note.
3. Record a Video with family & friends: While this is quite common, it evokes the right feeling when done right. So why not? I have done recordings on request for people who wanted to make a video from well-wishers for their partner. I have also had a video made for me. You can tweak it from being a well-wishes video to one where your close friends and/or family mention how happy they are that you’re in this person’s life. (i.e., Hi Segun, I want you to know that Tolu’s eyes light up with excitement every time she talks about you). Who wouldn’t love to hear this? Disclaimer: Please be smart enough to not include folks your partner wouldn’t appreciate seeing, e.g. an ex-.
4. Print a Prayer Booklet: A friend of mine shared this with me recently. She had reached out to friends and colleagues of her partner and gotten notes (prayers and well-wishes) which she compiled with their pictures in a booklet. She splattered pictures of him and his friends all around. Of course, the last well-wisher was her, and she did a good job making her comments more about him than them (her and him). I haven’t gotten feedback on his reaction, but who wouldn’t love that?
Credit: Jon Tyson (Unsplash)
5. Surprise Party/Hangout: The focus should be on what he/she loves not what you love. This is a common issue in relationships; one partner feels like they are making effort but it is not being appreciated. Hey sis/bro, are you doing what you love or what they love? If you’d plan a hangout or party, make sure your spouse loves that. If what she/he prefers is to cuddle beneath a duvet, and eat pizza while you rewatch a favorite movie, by all means, do so! Also, you must bring the right mix of people. Don’t invite all of your friends over just because they are available, invite people she loves to have around. These two things can make all the difference. The trick of romance is thoughtfulness. A little gesture can mean so much when it’s thought through, presented specially, and at the right time.
6. Record a Song: Now you’re thinking “FK, this is taking it too far!” No. You don’t need a studio for this, nor a Timi Dakolo kinda voice. You can choose to sing, chant, or just read with a tune playing in the background. Also, there are applications on the internet that can help you create customized songs, you simply have to tell them the story and they create the tune e.g. Songfinch.com. I saw a clip of a woman who did a recording for her husband and played it in the car on their way somewhere – it wasn’t his birthday and the kids were in the car. It just came up on the car stereo and oh my, how he wept! She told the story of their life together from how they met through the storms they’ve weathered and the bliss they’ve enjoyed, how much she loved him, and how proud his late mum would have been of the man and father he has become. Epic!
7. Date night – Unlike the party/hangout, this is for just you two. It’s not so much about how classy the restaurant is or how costly the food is as it is about how much deliberateness you put into it. If you’ve got the funds buy them a dinner outfit otherwise just take some time helping them choose what to wear. Make a reservation (do people know how easy it is to do this? …and at no extra cost most times). The trick here is to make a big deal out of it – and how hard can that be?
8. Give him/her Some ‘Me Time’: ‘Me time’ means – by themself, not with you, and certainly not with the kids. For this to be appealing to your spouse, it has to be that me-time is beneficial for them. e.g a mum with a toddler or a spouse in the ministry who needs rest/retreat. Be sensible about it though; some spots should be visited with a lover – don’t send your spouse off there by themselves for me time ooo. I muueeve.
9. Billboard Ad: Coughs. If you can afford it, and you know your spouse would instantly or eventually be swept off their feet over this, please get it done. I think it was two years ago a celebrity did this for her husband, he was at the airport when a LED screen suddenly displayed his picture and birthday wishes from her. He loved it! If you can’t do Led Screen, please do signpost or lamp-post, just be on the lookout for LASAA (if you’re in Lagos for instance), and don’t look for me when they catch you.
Credit: Chijioke O.
10. Cook a Special Meal: I think this works best on ordinary days. Is there a meal that they have been longing for, or one they loved at someplace you both visited? Try it! These days you’d find 101 ways to make any dish on Youtube. a couple of days back SA thrilled me with bread toast well spread with melty butter, and a steamy cup of coffee – extra simple right? It was the timing that made it special. I had been on my laptop since 8:00 am when we woke and only took short breaks for breakfast and to cater to Ari, and it was now 2:30 pm. I was on a work call when the bedroom door opened and in came the tray. It wasn’t lunch, but it felt good. While this was a simple gesture, you can make it more than that. Surf the internet and get ideas on how to set a table. You don’t have to cook everything, could be just the main meal, while you order fruit salads and pepper soup for starters and some pastries and cookies for dessert. Buy a bottle of good wine – for the zero alcoholics you can try Apple Cider Martinelli or the now-popular Chamdor. Now you see that candle shop that no one enters at the malls, branch in there, and buy some scented candles for special effects.
What not to do:
a. Do not gift your wife a washing machine, please. In this age, that is a very unfortunate thing to do. Please know the difference between a household appliance and a gift.
b. On this paranran thing, before you send paranran to your partner’s office, call their HR and find out if paranran is policy compliant. It can be quite embarrassing for both the celebrant and his/her colleagues if it is not a welcomed practice.
c. Special sex for special days is a no-no. Trust me I understand, it’s not every time couples are up for full cycle, mindblowing sexcapades, and so there may be days when it seems more essential than exciting. Notwithstanding, it is better to be driven by a mindset that attempts to make every experience truly exciting, as opposed to settling into the mundane and looking forward to your birthday. Nope.
It’s been a long worthy read, I hope you agree.
Till your next visit – stay blooming!