Do you remember celebrating Valentine’s Day in elementary school? If you’re like me, your classroom celebrations included valentine mailboxes, cards and/or treats for all your classmates, a festive craft of some kind, a fun lunch or dessert hour, a classroom full of students dressed in pink, red, purple and white, and maybe even a special outing to commemorate the day.
Fast forward to your adult years, and I bet it’s all changed. Adults don’t typically get excited for Valentine’s Day.
As someone who eagerly anticipates the holiday, and celebrates it in multiple ways, I was crushed to learn that my co-workers were apathetic at best toward the day.
I get it: Valentine’s Day is all too easy a holiday to dislike or even hate. It’s pressure filled, expensive and can be quite annoying for singles. However, while there are four common reasons adults hate Valentine’s Day, there are also simple ways to learn to love the holiday once more:
“We don’t need Valentine’s Day to show love to one another.”
Couples love this excuse not to celebrate. I say use this as an excuse to celebrate. Yes, you shouldn’t need a day on a calendar to tell you to show your significant other affection. If you’re a happy couple who is truly in love then affection and romance should be a regular part of your relationship. However, it’s nice to have a day specifically for the purpose of showing your partner affection, especially because most couples don’t share the same love language and often have difficulty expressing their love to one another in a way that is best received.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to practice reciprocating your partner’s love language! If your partner’s love language is gift giving, pick out a thoughtful gift. A quick Google search (i.e. “unique Valentine’s Day gifts”) or Etsy browse can help you come up with some pretty creative gifts, even if you’re not creative. And if your partner’s love language is not gift giving, then eschew the common notion that gifts are necessary on Valentine’s Day. For example, if their love language is quality time, enjoy a meal or activity together. If it’s acts of service, make them breakfast or clean up the house for them. If it’s words of affirmation, write a list of all the reasons you love them. If it’s physical touch, surprise them with a sexy evening (I’ll let you fill in the more specific details on this one)!
While no couple should need Valentine’s Day to have a good relationship, the holiday can be a vehicle to add some excitement and extra love into your relationship, which is never a bad thing!
“Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday.”
So what? There’s a reason that Hallmark is the largest card manufacture in the country, and a reason why they’re a household name: People like getting cards. Think about it — have you ever been upset to receive a thank-you, birthday, thinking-of-you, get-well-soon or anniversary card? I sure haven’t. In fact, I don’t just like getting cards — I love it! I especially love when they’re mailed since it’s a break from all the junk mail and bills I receive on a daily basis.
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to remind the people in your life that you love and think of them often. Don’t just send a valentine to someone who you like or are with — send them to family members and friends as well.
By branching out beyond romantic love, you can still maintain your cool and not get too caught up in Hallmark’s envision of the holiday. You also will be surprised at the elated responses you’ll get from your family and friends. (I promise that no one in your life will be upset that you thought of them.)
And if you don’t feel like spending the money on a Hallmark card, check the dollar store (secret: That’s where I get all of my cards). You can also send a free e-card or a handwritten or handmade card, or call your loved ones.
It’s also important to note that Valentine’s Day was NOT created by Hallmark. The company simply capitalized on the traditions already in place. Read more about the holiday’s history here.
“I’m single, so I can’t celebrate.”
Newsflash: Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. People have been writing valentines to their friends for thousands of years (read about the history of the holiday above). While today the holiday is centered around couples and romance, there’s no reason singles can’t celebrate, too. After all, you’ve been in a relationship with yourself your entire life — why not celebrate that love?!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing something you love. Use the day as an excuse to indulge and enjoy. Whether you chose to treat yourself to a massage or mani/pedi, pick up your favorite takeout for dinner or try an activity you’ve always wanted to, plan something that allows you to practice self-love and makes you feel happy to be alive. Celebrate your single life and spend the day reflecting on how being single allows you to live the life you want to — no strings attached.
And ladies, if you want to celebrate friendship with the other single women in your life, celebrate Galentine’s Day!
“Valentine’s Day is too expensive.”
Valentine’s Day isn’t too expensive. The activities you’re choosing to do are. Skip the pre-fix restaurant menus and don’t send your partner a dozen roses or buy them an expensive gift. Instead, find creative ways to show your partner they’re loved.
Oftentimes, a creative, unique way will mean more to them than the traditional acts!
Valentine’s Day can be as expensive or cheap as you want it to be, and cheap doesn’t have to mean it’s not special. The holiday is about showing others (or yourself!) love, and there are plenty of ways to show love for free. Leave your partner love notes around the house for them to find, or leave them in their lunchbox or car. Take the day off work together and enjoy movies in bed. Go for a hike or walk in the park. Have a technology free day and focus on being present. Enjoy a picnic outside or a candlelight, home-cooked meal indoors. Work on a project around the house together that you’ve been meaning to get to while imbibing and dancing around to music.
The options are endless.
And if you’re single, do these things alone. As someone who’s always flitting from activity to activity, spending some time with myself and for myself sounds like an extraordinary way to practice self-love!
This year, I encourage you to ask yourself “Why don’t I like Valentine’s Day?” and then refute those whys. Though you may not think Valentine’s Day is an important holiday to celebrate, this world could always use some more love. Plus, celebrating Valentine’s Day is a great way to break up the dreariness of winter and the monotony of the week!
Channel your inner child once more and celebrate Valentine’s Day in whatever way brings you happiness and joy and makes you and your loved ones feel warm and fuzzy inside. Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!