How to Love Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2014

Valentine’s Day sucks. Or, rather, the things we tell ourselves about Valentine’s Day- that feeling of obligation, of a chore rather than excitement- that sucks. The drugstores dragged out their heart-shaped boxes of candy and ugly, made-in-China teddy bears a little earlier this year; the local news started covering fluff pieces about fancy Valentine’s Day schemes crafted by some prince of a guy who makes the rest of us feel like chumps. At least there’s not hours of Valentine’s Day music for the radio to play incessantly (thank YOU, Christmas!).

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you’re not the Hallmark card, Norman Rockwell, handmade-Valentine type, Valentine’s Day is one day out of the year we are reminded to make gestures out of love, altruism, kindness and friendship. Ideally, we can do little things in that vein everyday for our loved ones- a note in a lunch bag, flowers for no reason at all other than to see that someone smile, making or sitting down to a shared meal without TV, cellphones, iPads, etc. But it can be easy to let time go by between these gestures, so instead of feeling sudden, heavy pressure one day out of the year to magically be Mr. or Mrs. (or Ms.) Wonderful, bring a small piece of Valentine’s Day into every day. You’ll find Valentine’s Day easier to plan for, with more realistic expectations and better insight on what your partner really likes and wants, and you’ll also find everyday a little bit more magical on its own.

Here are some ideas on making this Valentine’s Day a kick-off for showing a little more love the other 364 days of the year…

  • Going to a prix fixe Valentine’s dinner on V Day? Bring home the menu and surprise your partner a few months down the line with a home-made version- Valentine’s Day Redux! Match with flowers, a movie or boardgame- sometimes things are actually more special the second time around!

  • Try to have lunch together once a month, during the middle of the week- think of it as a “love-napping”! Most of us fall into habits when we get home after work, making it hard to have spontaneous, surprising conversations, and breaking up the monotony of the work week with a special moment is a great way to show how much your partner means to you.

  • Remember the mixtape (ok, so maybe mix-CD, for the Millennials)? Use Spotify to create your partner a compilation- songs that remind you of them, their favorites and maybe some surprises, too! Check out our V-Day playlist here.

  • Schedule a “Love-In”: take a day off work together (or a weekend day) and STAY. IN. BED. The day before, organize snacks and a picnic-in-bed lunch, ready to eat. Then, load up your Netflix queue with classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, From Here to Eternity, or more recent heartstring-tuggers like Say Anything or Drinking Buddies (House of Cards season 2 will be available starting Valentine’s Day, if you and your partner prefer a little less lovey-dovey in your binge watching). Have a little bubbly stashed in a cooler next to the bed, and, most importantly, agree to keep cellphones off THE WHOLE DAY! It’s easier than you think, and really makes the difference.

  • Are you a really big nerd, utterly dependant on technology to maintain relationships and basic life functions? Me too! Here are some great apps for incorporating thoughtful gestures into everyday for your loved one:

    • Sesame– send quick, custom gifts or gift packages to your partner, like fresh cookies, flowers, novelties or books!

    • Blue Apron– So maybe you’d like to surprise your loved one with a recreation of your restaurant dinner at home, but have zero skills in the kitchen? Blue Apron delivers fresh specific ingredients with easy-to-follow instructions to craft a special meal at home, perfect for non-cooks to shine in the kitchen. *

    • Better Half– This app helps choose fun date-night activites by narrowing choices bsed on social media info on yourself and your partner, syncs calendars, buy tickets or make reservations, all in one place!

The important part to remember is we invented Valentine’s Day- make it work for you, rather than working for it. Use the occasion to bring the spirit of loving gestures and care into your daily life, and leave the CVS candy on the shelf!