With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching (how did that happen already?!), I thought it would be helpful to provide some fun ways to celebrate the day of romantic love, friendship and admiration.
While I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day — I think it’s important to show and tell those you love that you love them every day of the year, not just on one day — I do think it gives us a perfect opportunity to send messages of love to our significant others, our family and our friends.
Let’s be honest. It’s been a rough two years, and the past few months have seemed worse than ever with loss, that I think now is a great time to reach out to your loved ones and let them know that you’re thinking of them and what they mean to you. So, I’ve put together some fun ways to celebrate and share some love with everyone.
Make a meal together
I don’t know if it’s because my family has always celebrated holidays with large family dinners where we all prepare the meal together, or my love of cooking, or my love of eating — but I think making a meal together is such a wonderful way to share love. I am a firm believer in the fact that how you’re feeling is felt in the food you make, and when you make something with love and admiration, the meal is that much better for those you share it with. It can be a simple meal, recipe or something extravagant you haven’t tried before, but regardless, making a meal together is a great way to spend time with your loved ones and celebrate. If you’re a competitive person like I am, you can also try a “cook-off” where everyone makes their own dish and score the dishes as you try them, or take a page from “Chopped” and provide a basket of mystery ingredients for each other and see who comes up with the best dish.
Write a love note
I’m someone who writes long letters and notes inside of cards, and sometimes I give cards for no reason at all other than to tell the recipient that I’m thinking of them, that I see and appreciate all that they do and all that they are, and how special they are to me. It is an incredible feeling to get a note or a card that makes you feel loved and seen and appreciated. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to let someone know that you care, that you’re proud of what they are doing and who they are, that you appreciate their struggles and respect how they handle them. It’s also a great way to let someone know that you’re not only thinking of them, but that you are there for them to offer support whenever they need.
Relive your first date
This is such a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and something I did a couple years ago. My first date with my boyfriend was at a coffee bar, where we met for the first time, shared a few cups of coffee (or in my case, lattes) and talked for hours. We talked for so long that coffee turned into wine and dinner. For Valentine’s Day, I recreated that date, but at home, with homemade lattes, the same wine we shared that first night, and the same dinner we ate together. It was a romantic way to relive the excitement of that first date together, and he was so touched that I remembered all the little details like what type of coffee he ordered and the exact bottle of wine we shared.
Give your friends a yellow rose and your coworkers a pink rose
While red roses are the traditional flower for Valentine’s Day to celebrate love, a yellow rose represents the bond of friendship. I love surprising a friend with a rose and a handmade card letting them know how much I value them. A pink rose represents admiration and make a great gift for coworkers or someone you are proud of. It also makes a great congratulatory gift for anyone in your life that accomplished something great.
Dress up for a fancy dinner with friends
There is nothing more fun than getting dressed up and going out to a nice dinner, and add that with the bonus of spending time with my friends who I haven’t gotten to see in so long thanks to the quarantine — it makes a perfect evening! Whether you go out or have a dinner party at home, it gives everyone an excuse to get dressed up and have some fun. And it’s a great way for couples and single friends alike to spend Valentine’s Day together.
Make Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate covered strawberries are one of my favorite things to make for Valentine’s Day. Whether I was in a relationship, celebrating with friends, or celebrating being single, I almost always make chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day. And making your own chocolate fondue at home makes for a fun and romantic way to celebrate together. Any kind of fruit pairs well with chocolate, as does marshmallows, graham crackers, and pretzels.
Have a movie night
Setting up a movie night at home can be romantic or fun, depending on who you’re celebrating with. You can cuddle under blankets or relax in sweats. I always love a warm fuzzy blanket and a mood-setting candle while I watch movies. And don’t forget the popcorn! You can make a popcorn bar really easily for a group and set up some traditional movie candy snacks. If it’s a movie night for two, you can set the mood with flowers, chocolates to enjoy during the movie or even decorations to make the space feel extra special.
Go vintage shopping
This is something I love to do with my sisters, but it makes for a fun family event or even a couples outing should your significant other enjoy a good vintage/antique shop as well. Walking through antique shops is not only fun, it makes for a great experience together and good conversation starters as certain items may spark memories or stories that you can share. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. You can add lunch before or dinner after, too!
Have a game night
Okay, I’m going to be honest here — I don’t love board games. I usually get really flustered when I learn a new game and remembering new rules or having to act out of my comfort zone for certain games isn’t really my idea of a fun time, but my boyfriend loves them. In fact, he lives for board games, loves having friends or family over for game nights and is a master at trivia. Seriously, it’s almost annoying how many random trivia facts he knows. According to Psychology Today, the bond that forms from teamwork releases oxytocin, which triggers feelings of love and protection, empathy, trust and bonding. So, if you love board games, have a get together at your house with family or friends and break out your favorites. You can also hold a virtual game night with apps like HouseParty or JackBox and play games with anyone that way.
Take a virtual cocktail class
This is such a fun idea and one I can’t wait to try myself. Try a virtual mixology class with your loved one — whether it be your significant other, a friend or your sibling. It’s a fun way to learn how to make your favorite cocktails and then enjoy them together afterwards. If an online class isn’t your thing, you can grab some of your favorite local beer and create your own beer flights and tastings at home.
Go on a hike/Have a picnic
Depending on where you live and whether you want to brave the cold weather, this may or may not work for you in February, but a hike is always a fun way to get outside and spend quality time together, while also burning some calories and getting in some exercise. I have some favorites that I like to go to, but trying out a new trail is always fun, too. It’s a good opportunity for quality conversation and new experiences together, regardless of who you bring with you. I also love to turn my phone off to avoid any distractions or interruptions (but I usually bring it with me because I’m known for getting lost). If it’s not freezing out, you can pack a little picnic lunch, too — I have a picnic backpack specifically for this, which came with little plates, napkins, cutlery and cups, along with a special pocket that is the perfect size for a bottle of wine or champagne (most would probably pack water, but champagne is much more up my alley).
Have a campout in your backyard
This is a great family idea or something you can easily turn into an evening of romance simply by turning your backyard into a campsite. You can set up a tent, string some lights, add cozy blankets, and start a fire. Sitting around a fire with my family is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. It helps to slow time down and force you to enjoy every moment. It also makes for great conversation without interruptions, all while enjoying each other’s company and the outdoors. Don’t forget the hot chocolate and s'mores, especially if it’s really cold out!