Love is in the air each February. Valentine’s Day, on February 14, brings on romantic date nights and gifts. However, with the pandemic lingering, starry-eyed evenings look a little different in 2021. Here are 10 ways to spice up your Valentine’s Day—or any date night—at home.
1. Eat Chocolate
A box of chocolates is the quintessential Valentine’s Day gift. In New Mexico, locally crafted truffles make for the sweetest treats. In Albuquerque, opt for truffles picked up curbside from Chocolate Cartel, Eldora, or Chocolate Dude. In Santa Fe, follow the chocolate trail to Kakawa Chocolate House, ChocolateSmith, or Art of Chocolate/Cacao Santa Fe.
2. Gift Flowers
A dozen red roses may be the typical gift, but abundant blooms of any kind will show your special someone how much you care. They’ll also help set the mood for at-home dates. Barton’s Flowers, a local go-to since 1962, will deliver arrangements to Santa Fe residents’ doorsteps. In the Albuquerque area, Bagel’s Florals delivers made-to-order bouquets to your home without any contact. Florecita also offers day-of pickup from its warehouse or delivery. Both companies specialize in modern bouquets inspired by flowers’ natural beauty.
3. Order Dinner Out
These days, most restaurants offer take-out, but fewer restaurants make it an occasion. Santa Fe’s Dinner for Two, for example, offers Sunday three-course dinners, with a choice of soup, entrée, and dessert each week. To make your at-home dinner even more special, make it an occasion. Light (unscented) candles for the table and put on your favorite music. For a less formal meal, turn your meal into an indoor picnic by laying out a blanket and pillows on the floor.
4. Play a Board Game or Card Game Together
Sometimes a little healthy competition can bring you closer together. Square off with your partner in a New Mexico–themed board game like Albuquerque-opoly where Downtown takes the place of Park Place, and Red Chile finds an entry on the board. Or grab a deck of Globo Loteria/Balloon Bingo. Based on the popular Mexican children’s game, loteria, this set is inspired by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
5. Paint Together
Paint parties (where groups follow an instructor to create their own painting) don’t have to be a distant memory from pre-pandemic times. The Rebel Easel creates kits with everything you need to have a paint party at home, including canvases, paints for the design of your choice, and brushes. You can opt for traceable designs or book a session with the instructor for a personalized class via Zoom.
6. Do a Puzzle Together
Putting a puzzle together makes for a laid-back evening full of conversation. To keep your date New Mexico–themed, select a locally inspired puzzle from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Shops, including a 300-piece puzzle of Ernest L. Blumenschein’s 1923 painting “Dance at Taos” or a 1,000-piece puzzle based off Charley Harper’s poster Canyon Country.
7. Read Aloud to Each Other
Reading aloud allows you to share a story together. Pick a New Mexican classic for your date night book club, such as “Bless Me Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya; “Death Comes for the Archbishop,” by Willa Cather; or “The Milagro Beanfield War,” by John Nichols.
8. Watch a Movie
Make popcorn and grab your favorite cuddle spot for a movie night with your spouse. With New Mexico’s more than 100–year history of filmmaking, there are thousands of films to choose from that are set or filmed in the Land of Enchantment. A few classics include “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster; “Crazy Heart,” with Jeff Bridges; and “Easy Rider,” starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.
9. Have a Tasting Party
You’re at home, so why not imbibe a little? Choose your favorite adult beverage—whether it’s IPAs, chardonnays, or whiskeys—and select a few from New Mexico’s craft makers to compare. You can turn it into a game or a blind taste test by masking the brand before you sip.
10. Draw a Bath
Set the mood by drawing a relaxing bath for your loved one. You can bring the spa to you with sets of bath-and-body products, such as the one from Santa Fe soaking hot spot Ten Thousand Waves. Get the star treatment with a bath bomb like the ones included in last year’s Oscar swag bag from Albuquerque’s Hotsy Totsy Haus.
We hope these ideas help you create great dates while staying at home! Remember the most important thing is about your Valentine’s Day celebration is spending it with the one you love!