Ah, February—season of ground hogs, super bowl commercials (what? Some people actually watch it for the game?), and of course, the most despised of all the Hallmark holidays.
You can’t miss it—in every retail establishment from the grocery store to Mall of America, the shelves are decked with pink and red and heart-shaped festoonery announcing the impending presence of Valentine’s Day.
And suddenly, everyone who actually finds meaning in the holiday is agonizing over how to share Valentine’s Day with their significant other.
Expectations can be daunting to deal with, especially when you don’t know their extent. How does one do Valentine’s Day right? You don’t want to do too much. But then, you don’t want to do too little, either. You don’t want to be overly sentimental or fiscally exorbitant in your expressions of affection, but nor do you want to underwhelm your significant other with your lack of effort. So how does one find that balance?
After 28 years of observing all of the Valentine’s Day hype, I’ve concluded that the secret to Valentine’s Day success is not found in having the perfect gift, planning the perfect surprise, or going on the perfect date. The best way to make sure Valentine’s Day is fantastic is to treat the holiday like any other day.
IGNORE Valentine’s Day?!
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a complete and total sap.
I LOVE romance and sentimentality.
Unlike many of my peers, even when single, I love the idea of a holiday designed to celebrate love (So it’s a commercialized holiday that markets overpriced chocolate, mushy cards, sparkly jewelry, and teddy bears? SO WHAT?) It’s a beautiful idea that ought to be embraced—because everybody loves somebody. And love is worthy of celebration.
So many people focus on Valentine’s Day as the end all and be all of romance that they neglect to acknowledge the other 364 days of the year in which love is still real and still worthy of celebration.
Do you go out of your way to make your significant other feel significant to you on every day of the year, or just on the 14th of February?
If you want to make your Valentine’s Day awesome, focus on finding ways to make your significant other feel special and loved and valued both before and after the holiday itself. If you focus all of your romantic energy on making February 14th special, not only does it put extraordinary pressure on a day that is supposed to be a joyful celebration, but it also diminishes any effort you DO make because it will feel contrived. If you don’t go out of your way to make your significant other feel special at any other time, then doing something special for Valentine’s Day becomes nothing more than ritual conducted out of religious adherence to social customs.
Celebrate your partner NOW—when the only holiday is the today-ness of another 24 hours passed in the mundane joy of breathing in and out and knowing that you care deeply for another human soul.
They don’t have to be large gestures of sweeping significance. There are so many small ways that you can make someone feel special:
-Handwritten words of encouragement and affirmation
-A love letter inconspicuously tucked into a pocket or stuffed in a mailbox
-A thank you note expressing appreciation for something you normally take for granted
-An act of service rendered without request, anticipating a need
-A small gift specific to their individual tastes and preferences
-A surprise appearance on their doorstep (even better when you are holding pizza ^_-)
-Quality time spent not just occupying the same space together but intentionally focusing on your significant other
The possibilities are endless!
What have you done recently to communicate how significant you find your significant other? It’s never too early to start celebrating your Valentine!
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful; and the best way to make this the best Valentine’s Day ever is to treat it like every other day. Or rather, treat every other day as an opportunity to woo the heart of your Valentine.