The way you celebrate Valentine’s Day – or don’t – has a lot to do with where you were raised. In the U.S., children exchange Valentine’s cards with their classmates while lovers exchange chocolates, jewelry, and flowers. But these “traditions” aren’t the same worldwide. In Italy, young couples may profess their love on Valentine’s Day, but their elders rarely follow suit. And as for Galentine’s, Malentine’s, or Friend’s Day, those celebrations have been in existence for less than a generation.
What does all of this mean for those who want to honor the importance of love in all of its incarnations? Simply put, you do you. Embrace the relationships in your life that bring you joy in simple or elaborate ways as only you see fit. Here are some things we especially enjoy in the month of love.
Upgraded Brunch with Your Besties
In true Galentine’s Day spirit, meet your female friends for a leisurely ladies-only lunch with a twist. Instead of visiting a local restaurant, consider hiring a private chef to create a memorable, elevated meal in your home. A simple Google search for “private chefs near me” will yield results within driving distance of your home. Just remember to ask for references and to verify all costs in advance, so you and your friends aren’t surprised by the final bill.
Show Mother Earth Some Love
Does the idea of spending a day outdoors sound appealing? If so, then why not spend Valentine’s Day celebrating your love for Mother Earth? Gather up the family and head out to a local park or recreation site to do a little cleanup. Not only will you make the area more enjoyable for others, but you’ll be setting a different kind of example for your kids. Marketing tactics aside, love of the environment is a year-round passion, so plant a tree, pick up trash, or join a local environmental group for a clean-up event.
Self-Care Gift Exchange
If your bank account hasn’t fully recovered from the winter holiday season, consider giving thoughtful and affordable self-care gifts to your loved ones. Heavenly scented hand cream and at-home manicure tools both pamper the body while extending the time in between salon visits.
Host a Wine Tasting Party BYOB-Style
We’re all feeling the strain of inflation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Valentine’s evening with all of your friends in the comfort of your own home. Instead of decorating with red and white, ask your pals to bring their favorite red or white wine. Buy crackers and a cheese and fruit tray from your local store and have plenty of glassware on hand. You can even make acrylic wine charms for your guests with an inexpensive DIY kit.
Visit Your Local Arboretum or Botanical Garden
Flowers seem synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but roses are expensive and fleeting. If someone you care about loves gardening or appreciates nature, spend an afternoon at your local arboretum or botanical garden. Admission prices vary but are usually reasonable, and most gardens don’t attract large crowds unless there’s a special event, making them the perfect place to visit on a week day with someone you love. Snap pictures of your favorite flowers and foliage and stop by the nursery “gift shop” to pick up something for your own back yard.