Some people call it a “Hallmark holiday,” and say that it's set up to sell cards and candy. Others complain about the authenticity of one day that focuses on love, when every day is a chance to celebrate your loved one! But Valentine's Day is still one of the most popular holidays of the year, and I've even learned to love it after years of dragging my feet. Valentine's Day doesn't need to be cheesy or inauthentic; there are plenty of cute and original Valentine's Day ideas to make the holiday your own. Here are some of my favorites.
Trade handmade cards and gifts
One of the reasons that Valentine's Day can feel inauthentic is because it focuses on purchased things. Cards, gifts, and chocolates are sweet, but when they feel like a checklist to prove your love, they lose a lot of their charm. Prices also surge in Valentine's Day, which means that the holiday can also be a financial strain. You can avoid all these problems by DIYing Valentine's Day. Handmade cards, written love notes, and home-made gifts have a longer lasting power and are much more memorable than chocolates from the store.
Give away flowers to strangers
When Ken and I started dating, we went to the waiting room at our local hospital and handed out flowers for free. Something like this, in a public space like outside the train station or in your town square, is a cute way to spread joy and love for Valentine's Day. You can also attach little notes that encourage them to pass the flower on to someone they love. That way, your actions will have positive ripples through your community!
Host a Galentine's or Palentine's Day party
A few years back, I decided to surprise one of my single friends with a Palentine's Day card. I got her roses and made her a huge heart-shaped card, and then stood outside her door with our friends and “serenaded” her with the song she was named after. We went for dinner in the dining hall, and it was a cute way to make her feel special.
If you watch Parks and Recreation, you're probably also familiar with Galentine's Day, a day celebrating female friendships. Whether you want to host a party or choose a friend having a hard time and make them feel special, focusing on friendships on Valentine's Day is a cute way to make the holiday your own.
Do something uniquely you (or us)
Again, a lot of criticism of Valentine's Day comes down to authenticity. But if you spend the holiday celebrating in a way that feels like you, it takes on a much more personal tone. You don't need to go out for a candlelit dinner if that doesn't feel fun or comfortable to you. If you'd prefer to take your partner out to the Rocky Horror Picture Show or spend the night drinking wine and eating gummy candy while watching Stranger Things, do that! Your can celebrate love your terms, whether that's self-love, love for your friends, or love for your partner.
You may love Valentine's Day or hate it. But no matter which side you fall on, there are cute and original ways to make the most out of this day, whether you're celebrating with people you love or by yourself. I'd love to hear what your plans are for Valentine's Day; let me know in the comments below!