Alternative Valentine Celebrations
By Samantha Stevens
Don’t look now, but it’s coming: Valentine’s Day is upon us. Some of you will be buying the traditional elements of love’s biggest day: flowers, chocolates or puppies – and don’t forget the jewelry. Others may be in search of an alternative. Maybe you’re single. Perhaps you just aren’t into all the fanfare surrounding the holiday. Whatever your reason, you’ve chosen to take the road less traveled and want something different than traditional Valentine’s plans. Instead of turning bitter or boring on this day of romance, explore other options and make it worth your while. As the Beatles once said, “All you need is love.”
Attitude Is Everything
Valentine celebrations can make it difficult to be happy especially if you are without a significant other, and the day can be even worse if you’re newly single. However, there is an easy fix for the V-day blues. For starters, you could get a little altruistic and volunteer some time to those less fortunate. Consider working at a soup kitchen or spending some time at the local animal shelter. You will definitely find your heart filled with love following an afternoon playtime session with a kitten or two!
You could also consider offering free babysitting services for a strapped-for-cash couple trying to go out on a date. Why not help a small child address some Valentine’s cards? Or if there is no one you can nanny, stop by the home of an elderly neighbor. Chances are they will be alone during the holiday as well and might not have friends that come by and see them very often. Sometimes all it takes for us to improve our mood is to give a little of ourselves.
Finally, you could take yourself out on a Valentine’s date. While that may sound the same as feeding yourself to the wolves, taking yourself out for a little TLC can be a beautiful thing. No big restaurant bill and you can finally see the movie you want; the world is your oyster!
Whatever your relationship status may be this year, open your heart up to someone who might be in need of some love. Doing this will lift your spirits as well as make someone else feel cherished and appreciated on a day they might normally dread as much as you do.
Celebrate Everyday Love
Whether or not you’re single this year, surrounding yourself with friends and family is a great way to celebrate the season of love. Throw a daytime party with friends or go out to eat with your family. Many have forgotten that Valentine’s is a day dedicated to celebrating all love- including those who are near to you all year long!
If you prefer evening festivities, try hosting a soirée dedicated to your closest group of friends. We all have hectic schedules and can sometimes forget about those who mean the most to us. As a result, we often forget to tell those dearest to us how much they matter in our lives. Go around the table Thanksgiving style and share why you love and enjoy each other’s company. You might be surprised at what you hear! Plus reminiscing about the good times with long-term friends will remind you why friendships are so important.
For The Taken
Valentine’s Day can still be frustrating even when you are in a relationship. We are overwhelmed with the responsibility of making plans, buying thoughtful gifts and meeting unrealistic expectations of romance. These pressures can derail any couple’s would-be romantic evening! This year when considering how to wine and dine your sweetheart, take a chance with a different kind of plan.
Instead of going out for dinner, try having a date night at home. Preparing a meal together can be fun and romantic and it’s a great option if you are on a budget. You could also include other couples in your plans and have a festive fête together.
On the flip side, if you like going out for special occasions, try going either before or after February 14. Fewer people will be out and getting a reservation should be easier, especially if you want to try a new or popular spot. You could also eat a casual dinner at home and then go out on the town for cocktails and desert. This allows you to indulge in the day’s festivities without overdoing it.
A Word Of Advice
Whatever you decide to do this Valentine’s Day, remember a few ground rules that will ensure a fun, love-filled holiday for all involved. If you would rather stay home, make sure you tell your significant other! This day is supposed to celebrate the love you share, not cause problems. Additionally, whatever your plans may be, try to make them ahead of time. Last minute changes can be both costly and taxing, so make sure to confirm your arrangements a few days in advance. Finally, keep a positive attitude. Whether you’re celebrating alone, with friends or a loved one, keep your holiday light and filled with love.
Valentine’s Day is not for everyone but there’s no reason you can’t make it into your own holiday. Love and goodness surround us daily. This year, no matter what your love life holds, take a moment to celebrate those around you that make you happy. Not only will it remind you of the every day love in your life, it will also brighten the day of someone else who might need a little loving more than you think!