Sunday, January 19, 2020

5 Alternative Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day

Red heart sunglasses, white dress and red mules

It's that time of year again... Valentine's Day is on the horizon and whether you're a die-hard Cupid fan or hate the day and all it's stands for, there are plenty of ways to think outside the box and mark the occasion with something a little different. Love it, hate it, completely ignore it... The choice is yours. Single, married, it's complicated? There are options here for everyone. Even if Valentine's Day isn't really your jam, an excuse to celebrate or treat yourself is always a good idea.

1. Show the Love by Doing Something Charitable
I will never forget the episode of the original Beverly Hills 90210 when Dylan takes Brenda on a date to donate blood and it got me thinking... You don't need a significant other to do something for your fellow humans (or animals, or the planet). Volunteer, make a donation, give blood or offer some pro-bono services. It might help you to forget how much you hate Valentine's Day and it could become a nice new annual tradition. From animal shelters to refugee camps, there are plenty of places where you could offer your time. If you prefer to show your love in a more monetary way, write a check to your favourite charity. If you have special skills as a professional, give some of your expertise to a worthy cause. Do this alone or with a significant other... If you want to be really selfless, make the donation to your sweetheart's favourite charity in his/her name.

2. Ditch Your Date for Palentine's Day
Who says you can't celebrate Valentine's Day with your friends? I for one would welcome that - so much more fun than the pressure of a stuffy, romantic dinner. Get all your girls together for Galentine's Day or make it co-ed and invite all your peeps... It could be a dinner party, a game night, a boozy night out or a little adventure, but however you plan it, you won't be alone and with all your faves around, it's bound to be a night to remember!

3. Keep it Low Key
With all the hype around romantic Valentine's Day dates, the meaning sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. You don't need opera tickets, a five star restaurant reservation, a romantic trip abrod or piles of diamonds to show someone you care. Go to the movies (I pretty much do this every year for Valentine's Day), stay home for a Netflix & Chill night or order pizza to have with beers or a bottle of wine. Be a rebel, keep it low key, don't spend unnecessary money you may not have and relax. If you really want it to be a little different, but still low-key, splurge on some movies on iTunes, sign up to a new streaming service you don't have yet or treat yourself to a new game. It will be the perfect way of not giving in to all the hype, but still getting a little treat.

4. Try a Fun, New Activity
From challenging to new & interesting, use the holiday as an excuse to indulge in something you've always wanted to try. Climb a rock wall, sign up for that wine & painting class you've been wanting to go to, try a ballroom dancing class, invest in those reformer pilates private lessons or classes you've been putting off or sign up for an aerial fitness class. What's more appropriate than doing something that's good for your heart & soul on Valentine's Day? You can do any of these things with or without a Valentine and if you're single, who knows? You might meet the one while you're out there trying something new!

5. Go Wild
What could be more rewarding on Valentine's Day than seeing or cuddling an adorable animal? Spend some time at an animal shelter, go to an urban farm, visit a petting zoo or look online for animal experiences you could enjoy on the day. If you live in London, check out Vauxhall City Farm (or any of the other city farms in and around London) or check out the Meet the Animals experiences at the London Zoo.

6. Gift Exchange With Friends
Remember in school when you used to make a Valentine box and give little cards to everyone?Valentine's Day was so fun when we were little and it still can be. Invite your friends out for a night or over to your house and have each person buy a gift under a certain limit. Then you can play a game to figure out who gets which gift, the more random the better. Everyone will get a little treat and you'll have fun in the process. Bonus points if the gifts are funny - it helps with not taking Valentine's Day too seriously.

5 Alternative Ideas for Celebrating Valentine's Day

7. Spend Quality Time With Someone Who's Lonely
If you think you're going to be lonely on Valentine's Day, try looking outside yourself and your situation. There may be someone who's just as lonely or even more-so than you are. Visit an elderly person who lives alone or go to a nursing home and read to some residents. It will not only brighten their day, but I bet it will brighten yours as well. Who knows? You might make a friend that you want to visit more often and I can't think of a better Valentine's Day gift than that. If you're a runner, check out Good Gym and perhaps make Valentine's Day the excuse you need to get involved in something that's not only physically beneficial, but charitable as well!

8. Host a Blind Date Dinner or Cocktail Party
Invite all your single friends and ask them to bring someone single that they like or recommend, but would never date. Maybe there will be a love connection, maybe there won't, but hopefully the party will be fun and you'll get to meet some new people in the process. Think of all the funny stories and memories you might be able to share for years to come!

9. Be Someone's Secret Valentine
When I was in university we did this thing called Secret Valentines. You'd draw a name out of a hat and leave little gifts every day for a week with clues, then finally a big gift and reveal on Valentine's Day. It was a lot of fun and actually I ended up making some lovely friends when paired with people I didn't know very well. You can of course organise something like this at work or with your friends, but you don't have to do it just like this... If you know of someone who's feeling blue during Valentine's Day week like maybe a friend who was just divorced or a terminally single family member, spoil them anonymously for Valentine's Day. Or maybe you know someone in need that could use a few things... They never have to know that it was you who paid for their coffee or left a gift card in their mailbox. You'll brighten someone else's Valentine's Day, but I bet you'll make yourself feel great too!

10. Host a Valentine's Day Themed Scavenger Hunt or Pub Crawl
Gather up the gang and get excited about a scavenger hunt or pub crawl. To make it interesting, decide on a theme and dress in costumes. The theme could be Famous Historical Romances, Celebrity Divorcee's or Couples in Movies. Get creative, make a plan and enjoy the night!

So, what do you have planned for Valentine's Day? 

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