If you forgot about Valentine’s Day until the last minute or are just looking for some easy, inexpensive ways to show loved ones you’re thinking of them, read on for our list of ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
It’s easy to complain that Valentine’s Day has become commercialized—and that may be true. But when you look at its essence, Valentine’s Day’s basic idea—to spread love—is a good and worthy cause any day of the year. If it takes paper hearts and candy to remind people the importance of that…well, at least they’re being reminded and sharing the joy! To take Valentine’s Day back to its roots and celebrate the simplicity of love, try some of these simple, sure-to-make-a-loved-one-smile tips.
1. Create food in heart shapes.
This is a great choice if you have young kids, obviously—cut their sandwich in the shape of a heart, or treat them to heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast (or heart-shaped cookies for dessert). But don’t dismiss the impact of this one on adults, too. Your significant other might appreciate the thoughtfulness of this gesture—especially if those heart-shaped pancakes come paired with, say, a fresh flower and breakfast in bed (or a packed lunch for the day).
2. Leave loving post-it notes.
This one is effective for pretty much all ages -- younger kids appreciate a drawing- or sticker-filled note in their lunchbox or backpack, and adult friends and lovers will glow from a sweet post-it left on the bathroom mirror or fridge. Leave multiple of these in different spaces throughout the day for a sort of love note scavenger hunt.
3. Mark off something on their “to do” list.
If your significant other has been putting off cleaning out the oven or detailing the car, go ahead and do that for them. The relief and joy they’ll feel will be evident on their face, and it doesn’t cost you a thing but elbow grease and time.
4. Give them an at home self-care “appointment.”
If they need some time for self-care, create the environment for them to have that. Take the kid/s to a park and the library (or arrange a babysitter), take the dog/s for a walk, clean out some clear space for them at home—do whatever you can so that they can take an hour or two or three and take care of themselves. Maybe this means a long bath and pedicure, or a self-oil massage and DIY facial. For some, it might be a nice yoga routine followed by an uninterrupted nap. One person might need to zone out with a book or meditate, and another might want to take a long run. Hey—apparently some people even find it therapeutic to clean the house. No judgment here! It’s all about what THAT PERSON needs.
5. Make their favorite foods.
You have to eat on Valentine’s Day anyway, so why not make an obvious show of having all of their favorite foods? From the entrée to the side to the dessert and the beverage, let them know you chose every element of the meal with their preferences in mind. They’ll feel special, no doubt. Because while it might not be unusual to have one or two of their favorites in one meal, having 3 or 4 will feel like a true celebration. Bonus? If it’s warm where you live, have a picnic outside. If it’s not, have a candlelit picnic inside.
6. Spend time together.
This might be an obvious one, but don’t underestimate the power of quality time together. Whether you’re cooking, working out, gardening, or enjoying a hike, doing things you enjoy together strengthens your bond and releases the same “falling in love” hormones you felt when you first got together.
7. Surprise them at work/school.
If their work or school place allows it, pop in at lunch or break time to say hello and take them to eat or get a coffee. You’ll brighten up their shift and also give you both a way to celebrate the day despite them having to work.
If you’re on the fence about Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to celebrate it. But no matter when you’re reading this, consider showing your loved ones a little extra attention sometime soon.