It's the final countdown before Valentine's Day. Many idealistic romantics look upon it in hopeful anticipation but it can be a stressful time for those who might not have a special Valentine. Or, especially stressful if your Valentine has big expectations of a romantic experience that you're just not up for.
But whether Cupid's arrows have missed you entirely, or you're in a relationship with a partner whose idea of romance consists of Netflix and Chill, we've got you covered. Here are a few last-minute Valentine's Day ideas for a fun and festive celebration. And yes, it goes without saying, but many of these activities apply to everyone- so don't let the categories limit you!
Keeping things fun, simple, and easy can make Valentine's Day a really fun holiday for all!
- Make a special Valentine's Day meal- This can be really easy, cheap, and doesn't require a lot of advanced planning!
- Sample Valentine's Day Menu from your very own kitchen:
- Breakfast: Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for pancakes, and make Valentine milk with a touch of red food dye in regular milk. If you're feeling extra festive, use pink and red sprinkles on the pancakes!
- Lunch: Use that same heart cookie cutter for festive heart sandwiches, and serve with strawberries, and red pepper spears. No special recipe required!
- Dinner: Buy premade pizza dough, roll it out, use the same heart-shaped cookie cutter, and have your kids make heart pizzas for dinner. Finish it off with heart-shaped sugar cookies or white chocolate fondue for dessert! And if you really don't want to cook, you can always head to your local doughnut store or bakery and buy a themed premade treat.
- *If you don't have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can still do all of this with a butter knife shaping the hearts.
- Have a family dance party- Crank up the music and just have fun! You could dress it up and pull out your favorite suit and cocktail dress, or simplify everything in T-shirts and just dance as you are. If you have extra props like silly hats or feather boas, all the better!
- Make Valentines together- There's nothing quite like pink and red construction paper, doilies, and hearts to create a fun afternoon together. Even if they arrive after Valentine's Day, grandparents especially will love receiving these cards!
- Don't stress over school Valentines- Even if you have that mom in your child's class whose Valentines will put everyone else's to shame, there's nothing wrong with stopping by your local grocery store at the last minute and just writing names on premade Valentines. You might even be able to get them on sale! And if you are that mom, I'm totally impressed. You're a rockstar!
Some couples have over-the-top celebrations; others are more subdued. But Valentine's Day is a perfect time to forge new connections together.
- Go back through old letters, photos, or emails of when you first met and fell in love. You don't have to compose new Valentine's Day poems or a love sonnet. Why not compile some of your older material, and remember the reason you fell in love in the first place? It might inspire you both!
- Take a minute and do something simple together: Watch the sunset. Hold hands. Look into each other's eyes. Connect. Laugh. Say I love you and really mean it. Some of these might seem intuitive or cheesy, but often it's the thousands of little moments that really matter. So use February 14 to create more of them.
- Don't worry about scheduling your Valentine's Day date on February 14. My husband and I started dating on February 13, so we'd used to plan our date night on that day instead. It was easier to get reservations and a babysitter, so why not?
If you can see past the excesses of this Hallmark Holiday, Valentine's Day can be a pretty great holiday when you're single, too. Sometimes it's even more fun! Here are a few ideas of ways to make the most of the day:
- Arrange a Valentine's Day movie or dinner date with your friends: One of my favorite Valentine's Day memories was so simple- a group of my friends went to watch "When Harry Met Sally" together at the movies. Afterward, we had some amazing desserts and just enjoyed being single, independent women. It required no advanced planning and was so much fun. You don't even have to go to a theater- just watch something great at home!
- Make a meaningful connection: Write someone a heartfelt email. Send them a message on FamilyApp and throw in a few vintage photos to make things fun. Or make a call and have a real conversation with a friend you've been out of touch with for a while. These require no advanced planning time, and can really spark joy for everyone!
- Treat. Yo. Self: While Treat Yo' Self Day (yes, it really is a thing) doesn't fall until October 17, take advantage of February 14 as a time to pamper yourself, whether it's just relaxing at home with an Epsom bath, or buying yourself a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.
Despite our culture's consumer messages, you don't need premeditated grand gestures or an expensive Valentine's Day gift to have a great holiday! Spend time connecting with the people you love in big and little ways, which, cheesy as it sounds, might be the greatest gift of all. And don't forget that it's the little things that really matter the most.