So, here’s an unpopular opinion of mine: I used to hate Valentine’s Day. Granted, I have grown into a bit more of a fan lately. I mean, I certainly get the appeal of it, and I’d be lying if I said that my opinion hadn’t softened now that I have someone wonderful to share it with. But as a whole, I think that while the concept is nice, the entire thing has a bad tendency to be entirely over-hyped and generally a little disappointing… and that’s a problem. A day that’s meant to show someone how much you love them shouldn’t feel like so much pressure.
(I have this same feeling towards New Years. Perhaps it stemmed from the bitterness of singledom, but even as I’ve experienced my past few in a relationship, both holidays still seem to me to just be, generally, too much.)
Don’t get me wrong. Valentine’s Day is cute. It’s nice to shower the person you love with a little extra affection. And, plus, there’s a lot of chocolate involved, and we all know that I believe chocolate makes everything better.
But I don’t think it necessarily needs to be some big, huge deal. In fact, lately, I’ve started to realize that Valentine’s Day can be even better if you step away from the hype. I’m lucky enough to be with a guy who likes to keep things just as low-key as I do. Together, we’ve started to look at Valentines Day as less of a stressful requirement and more as another opportunity to say: hey, I love you.
So, in the spirit of the holiday I once thought I hated, I’ve pulled together a few ideas if you, too, are looking to step past the idea of a stressful Hallmark holiday, but still wouldn’t mind showing that special someone that you think they’re… well… special:
For your first Valentine’s day: Craft from the heart.
There’s nothing more meaningful than something homemade, and that doesn’t mean you need to go Pinterest-crazy, either. Last year, I made my boyfriend a jar of a hundred Hershey’s kisses – so that he could have a kiss even when we weren’t together. Plus, homemade gifts take the pressure off of “perfect” — because most of the time, they’re better with a little character.
(It should probably noted that this jar was mostly eaten by me. We’re together a lot.)
If you’ve been dating a while: Cook… for one another, or together.
There’s a reason that people romanticize cooking for your significant other. It’s sweet, and it’s simple. Whether you order yourself a special box of Hello Fresh for the night, or you can whip up something delicious and ingenious on your own (and props to you if you can!) If it’s out of your routine, it makes it all the more special.
If you just moved in together: Lean into traditions.
This year, my guy and I aren’t going anywhere fancy. We’re going to hit up one of our favorite casual restaurants and just enjoy being together… in one of our places. I don’t know if it’s the idea of having traditions or places we consider “ours” that made me swoon at this suggestion, but I am totally looking forward to a night further emphasizing an element of our relationship. I like thinking of things as “ours,” and I feel like that falls almost directly in line with what you should look to emphasize on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re in it for the long haul: Do something different.
Regardless of if Valentine’s Day actually falls on the weekend or not, chances are, there’s a 3 day weekend pretty close to it. Take advantage of it! Get outdoors and do something you don’t normally do — ski down some mountains, go for a hike, take a weekend trip to a cozy cabin in the woods. Whatever is up your alley, sometimes a getaway can be the very best kind of celebration.
I’ve done all of these things with or for my guy as part of our Valentine’s celebrations the last two years, and they have all made me realize the sweet simplicity of celebrating love. Sure, I think you should show your sweetheart how you feel every day, and I still think that people put too much emphasis on doing it for this one day a year. But if you’re like me, and you and your person can agree to keep it calm and quiet, I bet you’ll find that there is something pretty sweet about doing something a little extra special.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.