We asked readers how they celebrate Valentine’s Day. From spreading love at ATMs to staring in the mirror, this is what they said
Romance is alive and well. Or at least it is in the Positive News community, which, as ever, has been a brilliant source of insight since we asked how you celebrate Valentine’s Day without succumbing to commercialism.
Some key themes emerged. The notion that the best way to a lover’s heart is through their stomach held true, with many promising to do something remarkable in the kitchen for your partners. Others described expressing their love through poems, songs and homemade cards.
Not being in a relationship was no barrier to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Scores of single readers got in touch to tell us how they spread love in their families, communities and within. It was heartening to read all the responses. We couldn’t publish them all but thank you to everyone who got in touch.
How you spread the love this Valentine’s Day
Look in the mirror
“Love comes not just from the outside, but also from within and is available to everyone whether they have a Valentine or not. Look in the mirror, look deeply into your own eyes, and tell yourself: ‘I love you’. With self-compassion and self-love, we learn to find the love within ourselves.” – Maya, Colchester, England
“After baking my husband his favourite apple pie, I jumpstart my resolve to mindfully offer loving kindness to someone in my path each day … until next Valentine’s Day.” – Liz, Pennsylvania, US
“We light a candle and take turns to listen to each other without interruption. We talk on topics like: what do you really like about the other person? How are you feeling about our relationship? How do you want to show up in the relationship? It’s very connecting.” – Phil, Cornwall, England
“By getting creative: write a poem, bake your own rose smelling cookies, draw your own romantic postcard, or write a song.” – Iteke, The Netherlands
“I simply start the day by saying to my good lady:, ‘Ayup me duck, still love you.’.” – Viv, Derbyshire, England
“I dislike consumerism and I’m single, so Valentine’s Day can feel doubly alienating for me. This year, instead of fixating on what might be missing from my life, I’m thinking about all the love I have been gifted by making a collage of all the different people I love (family, friends, etc.) and trying to spend time with them and behave in a loving way towards others.” – Anonymous, UK
“A cup of tea in bed” – Michael, Scotland
A treasure hunt
“Make my own special artistic card professing love and then place clues around the house to lead them to the gift, which will be something like a massage, special dinner, or a trip to a magical nature location for a hike and picnic.” – Karen, California, US
“We will find a special recipe to create and spend time in the kitchen together.” – Dana, BC, Canada
“We have two young children, which in a lot of ways helps you avoid some of the cliche and commercialism. Heading out for romantic dates becomes more hassle than it’s worth, so you learn to become creative. We both enjoy cooking and last year we decided to do a cook-off. One of us takes starter and dessert, while the other takes the main. Everything made from scratch. We set up the dining space with some candles and jazz music. We enjoyed it so much we’ve decided to make it our yearly tradition.” – Jamie, UK
“Take a picnic, a bottle of wine and go to the forest with your love. Enjoy all the gifts you have in that person and in nature.” – Sue, New Forest, England
“By donating a food parcel (inside a red box) to someone in need and letting my Valentine know that the needy person is his/her proxy.” – Michael, Johannesburg, South Africa
“This year I’m donating some money to a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse.” – Aidan, England
“My wife and I are in agreement: we don’t need to show our love for each other on a specific day of the year. It really is over-commercialised nonsense, and we are quite capable of showing our mutual affection without following the crowd like this.” – Ian, England
“I made six Valentine kits from repurposed paper and packaged them in resealable bags. Each kit had eight tiny Valentine’s cards that varied in style and in size with enough space to write a short message. I left them in the Teen Room of my local library.” – Melanie, Oregon, US
“I’m sending an e-book called The Nonviolent Communication Book of Quotes by Marshall Rosenberg to people who I share meaningful relationships with. [It] has helped me these past five years immensely. By spreading the communication tools to learn self-empathy and then have a full empathy tank to have compassion with all other humans, we can spread love and peace in the world, starting with our own hearts.” – Suzanne, New York, US
“My partner and I buy each other a secondhand book that reminds us of each other, and then spend the day reading it together.” – Charlotte, UK
“Inspired by the Craftivism movement, my girlfriend and I made felt hearts with little messages inviting people to love everyone, and left them in ATMs, library seats, and shop counters around town.” – Aidan, England
“We make homemade cards for everyone in the family household telling them that we love them. We also take the opportunity to have fun and be creative baking Valentine’s-themed cookies.” – Pamela, Worcestershire, England
“I plan on making paper hearts and writing in them things I love about my husband. Free but meaningful.” – Rachel, Derby, England
Leaning into cliche
“There’’s nothing wrong with a bit of cliche on occasion. Many of the things that became cliches did so because they were popular. It seems a shame to not go out for a nice meal at our favourite local restaurant simply because it’s a popular thing to do.” – Rey, Leeds, England
Main image: Amax Photo/iStock
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