I've never been one that follows the norm. So with Valentine's Day around the corner, and myself being in a serious relationship for the first time, I had to question whether or not I had to conform to how the majority of other couples celebrate what is supposed to be the romantic day of the year.

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You can't escape Valentine's Day. Whether it's a box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses, or expensive jewelry, they're all described as a "must have" for your significant other. Personally, I've always been one who would prefer an experience to a gift. Luckily for me, my girlfriend feels the same way.

We both agreed to do away with any material gifts for Valentine's Day. Instead, we're taking a trip to Brooklyn for the day. Our morning will be spent on Coney Island at the NY Aquarium, then we're heading over to L&B Spumoni Gardens for my favorite pizza in the world, and ending our day drinking beer at the Brooklyn Brewery.

So is this any less romantic than giving presents? I really don't think it is. I believe the best way to spend a day dedicated to the person you care about is by having fun with them. Does it get more fun than penguins, pizza and a pint?

A lot of people have been telling me that this isn't enough. I've been told that even though we both agreed to do away with material gifts, I'm setting myself up for backlash because every girl wants chocolates or a teddy bear.

(Dan Tantillo/Townsquare Media)

Honestly, I'm willing to take the risk. My girlfriend and I have only been dating a few months, and during that time, we've taken weekend trips to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, went bar hopping in Philadelphia and Manhattan, and hit the slopes on Mt. Killington in Vermont.

I say it's better to go out on some adventure, and do something you've never done before instead of getting a material gift. There's too much of the world to see, and I truly believe that a memory is the greatest gift you can give.

What do you think? Do you need to give a material gift to be romantic on Valentine's Day? Take our poll below:

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