This February 14th celebrate love and friendship with the people who make your heart glow. Valentine’s is a day of gratitude, where you show the people close to you that you appreciate them. It’s not necessarily what you do, but who you do it with. That includes you! You can choose to honour the day by appreciating you, and showing yourself some love, compassion, and gratitude for all ways you help and support others (and for just being you).
I love chocolate, flowers, and romantic dinners but I’ve celebrated a few Valentine’s Days in my time, so if you’re like me and you’re looking for something new or different give these a try. Toss in some ideas to each suggestion to change them up.
1. Old-timey Valentine’s Day cards
Send or hand out Valentine’s cards, and go for the old-timey kids ones. They’re fun, sentimental, and remind us of our childhoods. If you’re not into cute then perhaps vintage cards, or handcrafted cards from a local artisan or shop. Personalize the card with the recipients name and a note, or add a special something extra like a candy heart or a surprise. We’re all kids on the inside!
2. Movie Date: Pre-Oscar film screening
Get some movie lovers together and choose a nominated film to screen before the Oscars. If you’re a film buff (or want to be one for a day) check out a few films and make a day of it, then duck out of the theater for a couple of après film beverages so you chat about them (but not too loudly – spoilers!).
3. Pot luck Valentine’s dinner
Get the gang together for an evening of dining and socializing. Have everyone bring their favourite dish, or a dish they’re know for. Make sure there’s a variety of foods for everyone, but remember not everyone wants to eat healthy desserts on Valentine’s – it’s a day to splurge! Add a personal touch by welcoming your each of your guests with a Valentine.
4. Pack your bags it’s time for a trip!
Valentine’s Day weekend is a great excuse to take off with your gal pals. Go on a road trip and do a wine, beer, or spirits tour. Treat yourselves to a weekend at a spa, or go antiquing and stay at a bed and breakfast. If you and your friends want to be more active try a yoga retreat, or go skiing or skating somewhere you haven’t been before. But you don’t need to stay close to home or be anywhere near snow. Escape winter and opt for a warm weather getaway in Belize, Mallorca, or the Canary Islands.
Don’t be afraid to go solo for some serious away time. Unplug and de-stress without having anyone placing their needs on you. All you have to do is what you want to do – or not do – the choice is yours. You aren’t being selfish, everyone needs their space, and if it’s hard for you to carve it out at home than make it a place elsewhere.
5. I ♥ You: Gratitude boxes
Host a party to show those you adore that they’re loved, cherished, and appreciated. This works best when the guests know each other fairly well. Have everyone take cards or pieces of paper so they can write out the things about each person that they’re grateful for. Every individual will have multiple papers to go into their respective boxes. The guests get to read their cards, and they may decide to share them, but they don’t have to. These friendship testimonials can really lift someone’s spirits, someone may really be needing to hear your caring words. Inspired by Oprah’s gratitude boxes, learn more about them here.
6. Party like a lady
Luxurious and sophisticated, tea parties aren’t just for little girls. Afternoon tea brings out the proper lady in us all. Feel free to show your pinky finger and get comfortable in a winged back chair, sip tea, and nibble on some fine “finger delights”. Boutique hotels and specialty restaurants are the top spots for high tea. Reserve a table for a ladies only afternoon tea.
The best afternoon tea in Toronto
Tea lovers unite! Host a tea party at home and offer up a variety of different teas for you guests to try. Experiment with flowering teas, unique blends, and simple finger foods or treats. You don’t need a lot food it’s really about the tea. Here are some links for hosting a tea party and learning more about tea.
7. Practice altruism
Give back to others this Valentine’s Day by volunteering your time. Get a group together so it’s a double whammy of bringing extra helping hands, and being able to spend that time with loved ones. Another way to give is reach out to friends and family for donations that you can submit to a charity of your choice.
8. Appreciate you just because
Do something just for you. Have a spa day, get your hair done and be pampered. I’m thinking a soak in a hot tub and a swim sounds divine. You don’t even need to leave the house if you don’t want to. Luxuriate doing the things that you normally don’t have time for. Make your favourite comfort or gourmet foods. Or order food in, take a relaxing bath, read a book, watch your favourite films. If you’re an A type personality you can work on a hobby or project you’re passionate about without interruptions.
9. Simple acts of kindness
The easiest way to celebrate Valentine’s is to make it about others. This is a day that has many people feeling sad and lonely. If you’re in line at a coffee shop offer to pay for a strangers coffee, give someone a sincere compliment, and smile to passersby. Spread your warmth, lift some spirits, and put a smile on someone’s face.
10. Love me do
Your significant other is the apple of your eye. Do you know what they really want to do this Valentine’s Day? Find out. Do something for your partner, especially if your sweetheart is a guy. All too often Valentine’s ends up being about women, and what women want. Show your honey how much he means to you by sharing the day. Or make a new tradition and do what he wants one year, and what you want the next. Or find similar interests that you can share, and truly make this Valentine’s day about being a couple that follows the beat of your own intertwined hearts.
Tags: afternoon tea, celebration ideas, charity, dinner, donations, films, gratitude boxes, high tea, how to celebrate Valentine's Day, kindness, love, movies, Oscars, romance, Valentine's Cards, Valentine's Day