Tips from two lovebirds: a Valentine’s Day Q & A

We all want to make our partners feel special on Valentine’s Day. And while grand gestures are great, the most head-over-heels, happily-ever-after couples know that true love is in the little things. So we sat down with Stacey and Gill Donovan, one of Hallmark’s own adorable duos (she’s even a romance novelist), and asked them to help us make the most of Valentine’s Day. Read on for little ways to rev up your romance.

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 How do you give a Valentine's Day gift your sweetheart will love?

Stacey: Give something that relates to his or her passion. Years ago, when I was still trying to figure out how to write a novel with little success, Mr. Donovan gave me a fancy fountain pen. It came with a note that said, “You can write our favorite books with this.” It meant so much to me—I’ll never forget it.

 Any ideas for turning a romantic moment into an all-day affair?

Gill: Shower them with cards! Sometimes on my birthday or Valentine’s Day, Stace will get a bunch of cards and leave them in different places—taped to the bathroom mirror, on the seat of the car, on my computer and so on. It can take me a couple of days to find them all, and every time I find a new one, it makes me smile.

 What if you're going for a low-key or inexpensive celebration? Any suggestions?

Gill: Cook a romantic meal at home. We usually go out for a nice dinner like most people do, but the time I remember best is when we just stayed in and watched a romantic movie and Stacey made a heart-shaped pizza. It was probably the cheapest Valentine’s Day dinner we ever had but also one of the best.

 What if you want to do something really over-the-top sweet and sentimental?

Stacey: Write a love letter—or even a poem. Gill and I met in a graduate writing program. After our first date, he gave me all these poems he had recently written. OK, it was about a hundred poems, and they were all really good. Most of them were love poems, and I don’t know if they were about me or not, but I was swooning! Not everybody can write a hundred beautiful poems, but I think a heartfelt love letter is an amazing thing, especially if it’s handwritten. I think the fact that you’re willing to put your feelings out there is what makes it so great.
Gill: For the record, of course the love poems were about you! I could hardly stop thinking about you, and nearly all my writing then was either directed to you or about you in some way.

 What do you consider the "classic" Valentine's Day gift?

Gill: I like to buy her favorite dark chocolates at her favorite local candy store and give them to her with her favorite multicolored or red and white roses, and I set aside some time to find just the right Valentine’s Day card. If I’m on my game, I tie these three traditional gifts together with a short and sincere closing message in the card.
Stacey: He doesn’t just do chocolate on Valentine’s Day, to be clear. Not too long ago, I mentioned late at night that I had a craving and he went out and got some for me!

 What about after Valentine's Day? Is there a way to keep the romance alive all year?

Stacey: There are lots of ways, but one of my favorites is to find a great term of endearment. Mr. Donovan never addresses me as “Stacey.” He almost always calls me “Pie.” It started out as “Wild Honey Pie” but quickly became abbreviated. I love it, and whenever I leave him a note, I sign it with a pi symbol. He’ll also sometimes address me as “Beautiful” or “Gorgeous.” And every day when I see him after work, I say, “Hi, Handsome!”

Romance Tips from Two Lovebirds

Photo courtesy of Gill & Stacey Donovan

  • Credits:
  • Stacey Donovan has been a writer and editor at Hallmark for more than 20 years. She also writes romance novels (under a pseudonym), and has collected a wealth of obscure knowledge in the process. Gill Donovan is a Hallmark editor and an incurable romantic. Prior to joining Hallmark in 2004, Gill wrote for the National Catholic Reporter, taught middle school English and crafted some of the most romantic love poems you will never read.