Valentine’s Day Inspiration

Valentine's Day Inspiration

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and I have to admit that it’s my favorite holiday. As a child, I was thrilled to head off to school with a heart-shaped bag my mother would sew out of a few pieces of red patterned fabric, and which I would stuff with little notes for everyone. Two hearts sewn together simply with a handle long enough to hang off my shoulder. Perfection.

Of all the holidays, Valentine’s Day can be fraught with disappointment for those expecting declarations, gifts, and romantic messages. The greatest love letters come at random times, with motivations often ranging from loss to apologetic desire. Consider the closing lines of a letter by saxophonist Charlie Parker: “Shame on me. I love you.”

With a week to go, I will skip listing romantic ideas for your partner (or the one you wish to make your partner). True romance is authentic, and the acts and expressions that mean the most to me are often things that would seem entirely unromantic out of context. If you are in love, listen to your inner guidance as to what will make your partner’s heart swell.

This list is a starting point for discovering new ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day and show love throughout the year.

  • Reach out to a local nonprofit and arrange to volunteer your time on Valentine’s Day. If they have no volunteer options for that day, schedule a future date and send them a note on February 14 letting them know how much you believe in their mission and support their work.
  • Instead of making an elaborate dinner, shop for food that can be donated to a local food pantry or shelter. Research which items are most needed and which they receive most rarely.
  • Love up the little ones in your life. Be an example of how to love.
  • Pamper yourself with your favorite indulgences. If you love spa treatments, I highly recommend this orange sugar scrub
  • Spend some time thinking about your core values and take action steps to make sure you uphold them. The ripple effect of this is quite powerful for families and communities.
  • Honor what you love. Certain phrases give me chills, so I like to spend some time truly appreciating the work of poets and all the love letter writers whose words I crave. You may love nature, food, and so many wonderful things. Immerse yourself.
  • Honor the people you love. Send a heartfelt letter to someone who might not expect one from you. Express gratitude, admiration, or appreciation or just make them laugh. Meditate on the unique ways you alone can express love to them.
  • With these ideas in mind, you can create new Valentine’s Day traditions centered on expressing love in ways that benefit loved ones, the community, and yourself. Since I have always loved the lighter side of the day as well, I plan to celebrate with a combination of good works and sweet indulgences.

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