(The Little Rascals, Source Unknown)
I feel like everytime this time of year rolls around (February), people start getting anxious about Valentine's Day. Just the other day my boyfriend blurts out, "Oh crap! Valentine's Day is in a couple of weeks!" and yesterday I had to rally a co-worker into believing that the 14th of February is way more fun when you're single. Whether or not this is true, I think what's most important, like every holiday, is to get to the root of the meaning and toss away all anxiety about the day.
Valentine's Day is my second favourite holiday (after Christmas). Honestly, I love all the red and pink, the hearts and lace and glitter and sweet things like that. I don't need the chocolate or red roses or jewelry or romantic dinner dates. In fact, that's what I detest about Valentine's Day. So, in lieu of all those material expectations, let's clear away the stress surrounding the holiday and enjoy what lies beneath the consumerism surface: love.
1. Send Valentine's cards to your friends and family.
There're few things I love more than getting post. Getting a letter in the mail from a friend makes me swell with appreciation, much more than a text does. There's something so sweet about knowing that someone lovingly wrote something out, put it in the envelope, and mailed it out to you. It makes me feel loved. For Valentine's Day, I always send out cards. Last year they were all, admittedly, store bought, but I filled them with little poems and messages reminding my friends how much I appreciate them - that they are loved. This year, I'll be doing handmade cards, still filling them up with sweet sentiments and my token of gratitude that they are my friend.
2. Listen to some romantic music - and feel hopeful.
Quit feeling sorry for yourself that you're single or stuck with stupid boyfriend/girlfriend. Let's do away with the break up music, the songs that make you feel alone. Feel happy that there's love in the world and listen to some romantic music! I've created a bit of a playlist for you to get you in the groove:
1. Al Bowlly - Heart & Soul
2. Ricky Nelson - Sweeter Than You
3. The Donkeys - I Like the Way You Walk
4. Sam Cooke - Lovable
5. Etta James & Harvey Fuqua - If I Can't Have You
6. Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher
7. Marvin Gaye - Pride & Joy
3. Stay In, Eat What You Want.
In my best Valentine's Day as a singleton to date, a friend and I had a feast. We made steak, drank champagne and hot chocolate, and finished it all off with the grand finale: an ice cream sundae complete with rocky road ice cream, heart shaped marshmallows, chocolate covered pretzels, strawberries, and chocolate chips. Going out for dinner is overrated, single or not. There's no point in stressing yourself out over a dressing up, reservations, a fancy dinner, high prices, etc. Cut that out and have fun, even if you just order a pizza.
4. Watch a Movie.
I'm really not much of a chick flick person. Let's cut the crap: your average American romantic comedy is ridiculous. It makes it seem like finding love is an impossibility unless you jump through a number of hoops and suffer some sort of great loss (e.g. lose your memory, develop a terminal illness, suffer the loss of your best friend, move across the country alone, etc.). Then, and only then, can you fall in love. And what's worse, these days, the dialogue is all the same. The characters are the same. The plots are all the same. It's boring. Don't make yourself suffer through some insipid Nicholas Sparks "romantic comedy" just because it's Valentine's Day and you want to make yourself feel miserably alone. But, that isn't to say that you shouldn't watch a movie with some romance in it. Below are a few suggestions, sans any impossible love stories, buckets of tears, feelings of hopelessness, over-used one liners, etc. (Or, if you're critical like me, these movies won't make you want to vomit.)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Top Hat (1935)
Seven Chances (1925)
2 Days in Paris (2007)
Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
5. Don't Feel Sorry for Yourself.
It's okay to feel sad or lonely sometimes, but Valentine's Day is not the time for that. Contrary to popular belief, Valentine's Day doesn't exist to remind you how single and pathetic you are - it's to remind you of the love that you have in your life. Even if you spend Valentine's Day with your cat, your dog, your fish, your mother, best friend, old friend, new friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, sister, brother, it doesn't matter. Just be with someone you love, even if that person you love is yourself.