Feb. 14 is fast approaching and with it, I’m sure, comes the dread that so many people who are single on Valentine's Day feel creeping up on them as the holiday approaches. You’re surrounded by advertisements selling you products featuring obnoxiously happy couples basically from Jan. 1 to the day itself, so there’s no way to escape the PDA. But I’m here to tell you that there’s no reason to dread it, even if the whole damn world is trying to make you feel bad about it.
Yes, I know that it’s traditionally a day to celebrate romantic love but I’ve always treated it as an opportunity to celebrate all love. I’m talking about love for your mom, love for your siblings, and love for your friends. Instead of hating on V-Day and not-so-secretly seething about all of those couples around you, why not take matters into your own hands and turn Valentine’s Day into a day to show the people in your life that you love them, even if they’re not your significant other?
For example, when I was a little kid, my mom would always give us little clay hearts (she’s a ceramic artist) and candies at breakfast on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes she’d even make us heart-shaped pancakes and she’d encourage us to wear red to school. She’d help us make our own Valentine’s cards for our classmates and our dad, and when we were older, even gave into the commercialism of those pop out cards everyone used to hand out at school, despite her hippie misgivings about them. She showed us that Valentine’s Day was a day to celebrate all kinds of love way before we even really understood what romantic love was, and that’s such a beautiful gift.
I’ve been single for my fair share of Valentine’s Days, and let me tell you, not one went by with me on my couch in my sweats. Instead, I went out and told the people that were important to me why they were so great and made everyone’s day just a little bit brighter. Here are seven ways you can do the same:
1. Hand Out Old School Valentine’s Day Cards At Work
Go to the pharmacy or grocery store and see if you can find those old school cards with perforated edges that you used to give out to everyone in your class. Even better, go online and find some that have nostalgic designs, and then print them out instead of going with whatever pop culture thing that the kids are into these days. (Check out these amazing '90s heartthrob printables from Brit+Co for some serious V-Day inspo.) Pick the best one for each of your co-workers (very serious business, if you’ll remember from third grade) and then hand them out with a big smile and a “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
2. Write Out Heartfelt Cards To Your Closest Friends
Most of us have a friend or a few that we love so hard it hurts. Take some time before V-Day to sit down and think about all of the reasons why you’re happy they’re in your life. Write it down by hand if your handwriting is legible or, if you’re like me and you often can’t even read what you’ve written, type it out. Either way, seal it up in a pretty red envelope with a couple of chocolate hearts and give it to them on Feb. 14. (And if you’re shy, send it in the mail! Who doesn’t love snail mail??)
3. Organize A Galentine’s Day Party
Any fan of Parks and Recreation knows about Galentine’s Day. Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, is the ultimate example of how awesome it is to show your friends how much you love them. It’s actually celebrated on Feb. 13 and it’s a day to celebrate your lady friends! While Leslie did with breakfast foods (obviously; we all know how much she loves JJ’s Waffles), you can do it any way you and your friends would enjoy the most. Maybe that means an outing for mani/pedis; maybe that means watching cheesy movies and drinking red wine and eating pizza; or maybe it means a glamorous champagne brunch. Whatevs — you know your friends best. Show them.
4. Hand Out Candies To Everyone You See
But probably not like, little kids in the street, because that will end badly. I just mean people you interact with in your day to day life, like the security guard at the office or your co-workers or the baristas at your favorite coffee shop. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; just chocolate hearts or conversation hearts will put smiles on everyone’s faces.
5. Call Your Mom
And your dad and your siblings and your grandparents, if you’re lucky enough to still have them. Call and say “I love you” and spend a few minutes catching up. It will make their day.
6. Get Decked Out In Red
Head to toe is the way I like to go. If you’re feeling really ambitious, dye your hair too! Why not? It’s a fun way to brighten up the day and get the good vibes flowing.
7. Bring Valentine’s Day Treats Into The Office
If you like cooking, whip up some delicious treats — and don’t skimp on the red and pink food coloring! But even if you’re not so into slaving away in the kitchen, store-bought cookies and cakes are delicious too.
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