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I need to admit something.
I love Valentine’s Day.
I don’t understand why it gets such a bad rap. Single people act like they climbed up to the treehouse just to see a “couples only” sign hanging on the door. And don’t get me started on couples who announce they don’t “do” Valentine’s Day—which means, “we’re too cool.”
It’s like people have forgotten how to have fun.
Look, I get it—it’s hard not to feel, well, singled out if you don’t have a significant other, especially since Valentine’s Day has been traditionally advertised as a couple’s holiday. And, yeah, Valentine’s Day has become a bit cliché. If you’re like me (and probably everyone else), the first date you think of is dinner—maybe dinner and a movie.
But it doesn’t have to be dinner, and it doesn’t have to be exclusive to couples. I love Valentine’s Day because it gives me the opportunity to celebrate the people I love—including friends and family—in creative ways.If the last time you celebrated was when you handed out cards in elementary school, or you just want a new way to spend the day with a loved one, here are some creative ways to show some love this Valentine’s Day!
Go for a drive.
Why not do something spontaneous this year? Instead of making plans, don’t. Get in your car and drive until you find somewhere you want to stop. If you live in a warmer climate, pack some snacks, find a place to pull over, and enjoy nature. If you’re from the city, drive to a small town nearby; if you’re from a small town, head towards the nearest city.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about gifts. In fact, it shouldn’t be about gifts. Just spending time with someone you love is the best way to show them you care, and going on a drive to enjoy their company is a sweet way to do that.
Draw, paint, write... these are all ways to literally have a creative Valentine's Day. You can establish a theme, use a color scheme (hello, red and pink!), or just do whatever you want. You can do this with one person or make it a group event by inviting your friends over or getting your siblings together.
For extra fun, consider going to a class or workshop to make something! You never know what your community has to offer.
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Get creative this year and make your own scavenger hunt. Have the clues lead your significant other to the location of your first date, or bring a friend to someplace special. If you can't have the clues lead somewhere sentimental, have them lead to the site of your date for the night (like a restaurant) or to their gift (something they really wanted that's hidden in their apartment). This can be easy and short or be more challenging, as long as everyone is willing to try it and have fun!
Throw on some tunes, find a new recipe, and get in the kitchen! Pick a favorite meal from your childhood and try to recreate it with your siblings. Make a romantic dinner with your significant other and have a candlelit dinner at home. Have your friends over to bake and decorate cupcakes. Cooking can be fun and relaxing, so why not do it with someone you love?
Have a retro-themed evening.
Channel your inner Danny and Sandy this year for a 50s-themed night of burgers and bowling! If you don’t have a significant other, get your friends together for an evening of fun instead—guys, wear your best leather jackets, and girls, channel the Pink Ladies with some matching pink jackets.
Go wine tasting.
Have a romantic night in.
Make your favorite foods or get takeout from your favorite restaurant, then enjoy your meal on a blanket in your living room. Even if it’s just pizza, you can light a couple of candles, play some music, and enjoy a cozy night in with someone you love.
If you want to be a little extra, pitch a tent indoors and throw up some fairy lights to create a romantic atmosphere. You can turn on a movie and watch from your own little fort indoors.
Recreate your first date.
If you still live in the area, this one is easy: Go to the location where you had your first date. How in depth you want to go is up to you. You can just go to the same restaurant or maybe get the same group of friends together that were at the bowling alley with you.
If you don’t live in the area, and can’t go back, do your best to recreate it without the exact location. If your first date was at an Italian restaurant, go to the closest Italian restaurant. If you can’t afford to go out, do it at home. Make the same meals you both had or watch the movie you saw at home with popcorn.
To do something extra special this Valentine’s Day, spread love to others. You can go by yourself, with a group, or with a significant other. Pick a place you’re passionate about or take turns going to different places.
If you don’t have the time to volunteer or can’t coordinate with a group, you can always donate! Buy some tampons and toothbrushes and bring them to your local women’s shelter. Or buy dog food for an animal shelter. Make someone else feel loved this year.
Share your favorite book.
This one’s for bibliophiles—instead of chocolate or roses, give someone a new story to love. Give your significant other your favorite novel, asking them to read it so they can see what you love about it. Or create an impromptu book club with your friends, sharing poetry or short fiction that you can all appreciate and discuss.
This is a great gift if you and your loved one(s) are long distance. Sharing a favorite book with your friends from high school or your girlfriend who’s studying abroad is a sweet way to give someone a piece of yourself this Valentine’s Day.
Go on a date to the thrift store.
Pick a budget and go to the thrift store. Pick out some clothes for your significant other or friend while they pick something out for you, then wear those outfits to dinner or a movie. Just make sure you're on the same page; if you want to pick out a silly outfit, agree to that with your date. Otherwise, you can each pick out something nice for the other.
Have a spa day.
Valentine's Day is a great excuse to treat yourself to a little extra TLC. Do it alone, go with the girls, or make it a romantic afternoon for you and your significant other. You can splurge and go to a real spa, or you can throw an at-home spa day. Have everyone bring robes and slippers, buy some face masks and nail polish, and relax from the comfort of your own home.
Go roller skating.
Grab your bellbottoms, turn up the disco, and go roller skating! Get some friends together for a 70s-themed night at the nearest rink—this is a fun way to celebrate Galentine’s Day or go on a group date. You don’t need to dress up, but it can add a little extra excitement to your night!
Make them breakfast in bed.
Okay, I know this last one seems cliché, but how often does someone actually get breakfast in bed? Surprise a loved one with their favorite meal first thing in the morning—it could be your boyfriend’s favorite chocolate pancakes or homemade eggs Benedict for your mom. Whatever it is and whoever it’s for, it’s a sweet way to show someone a little extra love.
If you want to add something special, write a poem or print out a favorite photo to bring them with breakfast. They’ll appreciate the effort you’ve put into spoiling them.
There you have it—14 creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Celebrating your loved ones should never feel cliché.