Stores and supermarkets are already all dressed in nauseating pinks and reds, and heart-shaped boxes and teddy bears flood the shelves as stores are motivating us to BUY that special some THING for the loved one. What is the holiday really about? Many people, like my husband, for example, consider it a made up commercial holiday that just makes you BUY STUFF. Yet, when we don't celebrate it at all, I get slightly envious seeing all the bouquets/chocolates/dinner dates that someone else got (thank you, social media), and I start whining, "yes, we can celebrate our love ALL YEAR ROUND, but why don't we also do it on THIS DAY when everyone else is doing it?"
Why not do something UNORDINARY to celebrate the love for your partner, or for yourself, if you are single this Valentine's Day. (LOVE is love and it all starts with loving yourself first, anyway, right?)
Here are the ideas that got me excited. These are the things that you can do in our beautiful South Florida, or pretty much anywhere else!
Go to a concert.
Whether you love musicals, ballet, opera, classical music, or comedy, our local centers for the performance arts have so many affordable options that will give you a gift of experiencing something beautiful together. Even if the performance doesn't fall on the actual date of February 14, it is ok. You can gift the tickets to the show on the special day, or spill the beans before if your event takes place before the holiday.
Take a painting class together.
So many studios have sprung up lately that give you an opportunity to tap into your artistic talents while sipping on merlot (or, getting hammered, as I like to call it - I don't drink by the way :)) In addition to feeling like artists, and getting to hang out with other people, you can hang your artwork on the wall and it will ALWAYS remind you of that one very special Valentine's Day that you shared together.
Make "30 reasons why I love you"
pictures on your phone and gift it to your hunny-bunny on Valentine's Day. I started this project to cope with my husband's absence last year while he went on a trip to Europe for two weeks. I created these photos on my phone using WordSwag - an app that allows you to add words to photos (though there are many others apps that do that) and you can find free photos on Pixabay. I would create one reason for every day and would send it to my husband as a text message. If you do it this way, you will have a whole month of love celebration! Or, you can prepare all 30 reasons (10, 12, 100 - you pick your number!) and then print them as a photo book and gift it in a beautiful box. There is something unforgettable in having physical photos that you can hold and touch, don't you think? Can you imagine re-discovering this gift years later in your drawer of special things and remembering that very special Valentine's Day? In addition to that, focusing on your partner's positive characteristics, will very likely deepen your love for her/him.
Experience how other cultures celebrate love on this day.
If you have never been to a Latin night club, or a Russian restaurant with live music, why not try it on this day and see love through other culture's eyes. You get to try authentic food, listen to music, dance, and it will surely stand out in your memory - that Valentine's Day when Russians made you do shots all night (be careful with those guys, and please take Lyft or Uber home!) It might not be as authentic as going to another country, but it may be a pretty insightful approximation.
Hire a photographer to capture your special love in candid shots.
Honestly, I do not have many decent photos of me and my husband, except for the pictures from our wedding day. There may be a few good selfies, but those photos are static, they show us pretty and happy, but they don't really show the interaction, how we are together with each other. These selfies are looking away from each other, and I yearn for photos that have us caught in the moment of how we are, walking hand in hand, or talking about something, or being silly. It is hard to capture those with selfies, you need an artist, a professional photographer to do that. A casual photoshoot on the beach, or in a park, during which the two of you will just be yourselves, walk around and "play" in front of camera, will take no more than an hour, and you can catch a movie or go out to dinner afterwards. If you do the photoshoot well in advance before the holiday, you might have your prints ready on Valentine's Day and the special gift that you BOTH get is a box of beautiful photos that celebrate your love the way you see it.
For those who want to celebrate their love for themselves, the option would be a Goddess Photoshoot or a portrait photography session for men, both of which you can also give as gifts - memorable experiences that might change the way people see themselves.
You can go as extreme as you are comfortable with or really face your fears and push outside of your comfort zone. Sky diving, zip lining, surfing, or paddle boarding? One of the most memorable gifts I got was sky-diving on my birthday (it wasn't Valentine's Day, but I will surely remember that gift forever). The adrenaline rush of a new activity will heighten the natural high you get from being around your special other, and you can skip the wine that day! :)
Learn something together.
Always wanted to learn Italian or French? It might take more than one day to learn a skill, but you can present your loved one with a gift-certificate for lessons and then can start planning your second honeymoon vacation to Europe once you become a little conversational in a foreign language.
Go to a couples retreat
(and I don't mean the movie, though it was pretty hilarious :)) Our very own Florida-grown tantra healer Lourdes Starshower has a Valentine's Day retreat coming up soon. I personally have never been to one, but I imagine that attending it would strengthen the connection that the two of you have and launch your sex life into other dimensions.
Switch your favorite activities to learn more about you partner.
For example, I like yoga and my husband loves to play soccer - he usually plays every Monday - and I get my assa to Vinyasa (as yogini Tamara says) whenever I schedule it (planning is everything!) So imagine, my husband will take a yoga class and I will play soccer on a field with my girls. Or, if your boyfriend loves to play poker or golf, and you enjoy tai chi, why not switch for one day, provided you don't do that activity already. It might give you a better understanding of your partner's passion and also give you a new found appreciation for certain characteristics that your partner has that you were never actually aware of.
How you choose to celebrate YOUR relationship and your LOVE is totally up to you - there is no one recipe that fits all. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you really FEEL the love. At the end of the day, it is not THINGS that we long for, but the attention, the connection, the experiences that we live through together.
I hope you share some very memorable experiences this Valentine's Day.
With much LOVE,