By BIS Contributor Debbie Lane, in collaboration with Ashley Lane, her daughter

 

February is best known for Valentine’s Day -“a day when it is traditional to send a card, often anonymously to a person one is romantically involved with or attracted to” (oxforddictionaries.com). It is the same story every year: couples walking hand in hand in the park, flowers at the office, and pink and red EVERYWHERE. Depending on what is going on in your life, you may have mixed emotions about this day.  So, this year, I’ve decided to “reinvent” Valentine’s Day (more on that in a minute).

My favorite Valentine’s Day happened when I was in second grade. It had nothing to do with romance – but it had everything to do with love. I remember to this day how I felt special and loved the entire day. My mother had bought beautiful red fabric (she was a seamstress) that she had planned to use to make me a dress to wear on Valentine’s Day. It was February 13th and she had not even started the dress.  Somehow, she knew this dress was important to me and she stayed up all night sewing. When I woke up the morning of February 14th – there was the most beautiful dress I’d ever owned, all ready for me to put on for Valentine’s Day. I felt so loved and special that day as I wore my new dress to school (I’m sure I glowed).

The point of this story is…Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be exclusively about romantic love. Valentine’s Day can be about celebrating family, close friends, or simply loving yourself. And whether or not you’re expecting to be showered with gifts or affection from a significant other, you can always spread love to yourself and others.

Here are just a few ideas about how you can plan to reinvent Valentine’s Day, whether you are going to show love to your friends and family or if you are going to just show love to yourself (while spreading some of that love):

 

Loving Your Friends and Family
  • Make a Nice Dinner – Nothing’s better than sharing a homemade meal and warm conversation with those you love.  For a special Valentine’s Day twist, make chocolate fondue for dessert.  Kids and friends alike will LOVE this!  For extra Brownie Points with your family, have the kids help make dinner.  The meal will be that much more special being something you all helped make!
  • Have Coffee with a Friend – Is there a friend who is on your mind that you haven’t seen in a while?  Do you have a friend who has stuck by your side through some rough times?  Treat them to coffee or tea (granted, of course, they like coffee or tea).  Be sure to go off the beaten path: use Yelp or UrbanSpoon to find a good local coffee shop in your area that you haven’t been to before.    For extra Brownie Points…Grab your coffee to go and take a walk in a nearby park.
  • Enjoy a Traditional English Afternoon Tea – Google “Afternoon tea” in your area.  Be sure to call ahead as you may need to make reservations.  Afternoon tea is a great way to warm the heart of a tea-loving friend.  It also makes an adorable mother-daughter Valentine’s day date.  And if grandma lives nearby, I’m sure she would love to join!
  • Plan a Night Out with Friends or Family – Dance, bowl, or skate the night away with those you love.  Invite your friends to go dancing.  For a family friendly option, put on some tunes and have dance party at home (pajama dance party, anyone?).  Skating (whether it is ice skating or roller skating) and bowling are more great ways to have fun with both friends and family.

 

Loving Yourself and Spreading the Love
  • Watch Movies at Home – You could invite friends over for a movie night, but maybe you just need some “you” time.  Put on your coziest pajamas, grab some popcorn and a blanket, and throw yourself a movie night.  If you enjoy romantic movies, you might try some classics like Father of the Bride, Hitch, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sabrina, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.
  • Bake Cookies to Share with Co-Workers – You will be the most popular person in the office.  We promise.  Brownie Points: Go beyond store-bought dough and make a homemade batch of cookies from an old family recipe.  If your family was never big on cookies, plenty of free, mouth-watering cookie recipes are just a click away online.
  • Enjoy a Leisurely Walk at the Park – During your lunch break (weather permitting), make a detour to the nearest park.  Take time for a leisurely stroll outdoors.  Your body and mind will feel refreshed when you return to work!  Brownie Points: If the weather’s nice, grab your lunch to-go and eat it in the park.  Be sure to take a leisurely walk once you’ve enjoyed your meal!
  • Treat yourself to a Manicure or Pedicure – For a special Valentine’s Day twist, go for a fun pink or red nail polish!  Brownie Points: Secretly pay for another patron’s manicure or pedicure.  You will feel great by brightening somebody else’s day!
  • Put Together a Special Valentine’s Day Outfit – Remix items you already have in your closet into a new look.  Or buy yourself new jewelry or shoes to add the perfect final touches to an old favorite look.  Or treat yourself to a whole new outfit (it doesn’t have to be a dress).  Wear what makes you feel special.
  • Buy Yourself Flowers – Not expecting flowers from a significant other?  Stop by your favorite local florist on your way to work or have flowers sent to your place of work.  Even if the flowers are from you, you’ll still smile every time you see them on your desk!  Brownie Points: Spread the love by giving some of the flowers away to co-workers or strangers throughout the day.  When they smile, you’ll smile!  Be sure to leave a few flowers for yourself to enjoy when you get home.
  • Give Yourself the Night Off – If you’re a work-a-holic, this one is especially for you.  Power down your work computer and don’t you dare check your email!  Take some time to do whatever makes you feel pampered.  Tonight, there is only one rule: no working!

 

Valentine’s Day is all about love…. so spread it everywhere…. It is highly contagious!