Valentine’s Day is coming up. I’ve always liked this holiday because of how cute and girly it is. And I always found the haters of it to be quite ridiculous. Take your bitterness somewhere else. If you think it’s just a “card holiday” and a scam to buy roses and chocolate, then stop celebrating Christmas and every other excessive holiday. I’m not saying it’s not a scam but you don’t hear people complaining about the Easter bunny being a scam. Or the people who wait year round for pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween. There’s Christmas merchandise out on the shelves as early as October and people who leave their lights on well past January but you don’t hear people crying about it as much as the haters of Valentine’s day do. I’m convinced no matter how hard you try to defend your disdain for Valentine’s day, it all comes down to bitterness and misery loves company. Because basically, being happy makes unhappy people uncomfortable. It’s true. It’s why some people are waiting for you to fail.
You could say it’s easy for me to not hate Valentine’s because I’m bias. I’ve been with my husband since high school. But even before him, I never hated it. And even when we were broken up, I still didn’t hate it. We actually broke up right after Valentine’s, the first time we dated. I have no vendetta against February 14th. And for those who argue that you shouldn’t celebrate your loved ones on just one day of the year, but all year round, well I don’t argue that. You’re right. You should. But it’s just a fun holiday to be even more extra and why not? You can eat candy all year round buying it in bulk packaging from Costco so why do you wait till Halloween to collect it from stranger’s doors and feast? It’s just fun.
But again, the haters are right about one thing. You SHOULD celebrate your loved ones every day of the year. You should continue falling in love with the love of your life everyday. Love hard, and love with all your heart. And if you haven’t met that person yet, you can still show your other loved ones how much you care. I came up with a list of ways you can “love harder” in your life, whether it be a lover, parent, sibling, best friend, neighbor, or whoever the person who means a lot to you is. Romantic love is not the only type of love out there. The bond between a sister is sacred. The bond between a parent and child is sacred. The bond between friends is sacred. There are so many ways to love and so many ways to show that love. And they’re not hard. Here are some simple, fun and easy ways to light up someone’s day and show them how much they mean to you.
Compliments. Compliment when they're not around. Compliment when they are. See them smile and blush when they hear what’s being said about them. You ever notice that even when a stranger compliments you, it’s in the back of your head all day and makes you feel good? You can’t help but stupid smile and it makes your day. Do it to your loved ones. Everyday.
Take photos of the one you love. Take photos of your friends. Hype them up. Say yasssss bitch work it you so fierce! Make them your phone wallpaper. My friends and I did this once. I thought it was the cutest thing when my friend opened her phone and I saw my stupid face on it in a SNOW filter.
Call them up. Ask how they're doing. Catch up. Or text even if you’re not the type to talk on the phone. Send a cute pic. Or a silly one. (Not a dick pic. I mean, unless the other person is into that, but make sure it’s not unsolicited!) One of my best friends is on a different pace and path than I am so we’re not always able to keep up with each other. But I always try to text her every so often to see how she’s doing and I love that we can pick up right where we left off. It’s always even more amazing when our schedules can align and we can have brunch together. Which leads me to my next few ways to love harder…
Take them out to breakfast. Brunch. Lunch. Dinner. Dessert. Coffee. Whatever. Whether it’s just a quick meal or cup of coffee, take an hour of your day out just for them. Can you spare 4% of your day for someone you claim means so much to you? If not, you need to re-evaluate your priorities in life. Remember not to take the people who care for you, for granted. And do it without needing an occasion. Because do you really need an occasion to spend time with your favorite people?
Bake them some goodies. Food is always made and shared with love. Is there a favorite dish they have that you can make them? Or if you can’t, is there something you can pick up for them that they would love? Donuts? Macarons? Chocolate? Or if they’re not into sweets, make them a veggie tray! A baked pasta dish! No one ever says no to food. I swear, you can win me over with food any day.
Carry an extra water bottle in your bag, car, wherever. Give it to someone in need. A co-worker who forgot theirs at home. Or a homeless person on the street in need. An animal you see on a hot summer day and they’re dying of thirst. Pour it out and help them. Small gestures still mean a lot. And water is such a simple thing that we take for granted but when it’s 100 degrees on a hot summer day, you won’t regret it. I had a friend who used to carry extra water bottles in their car and it was always so helpful if we weren’t near a convenience store or anything. And once at a comic convention, a friendly cosplayer stopped by a booth with entire cases of water for all and let me tell you, he was the hero for that day. So in the summers when I go on trips with my friends, I always make sure each person has one before we leave the house. It’s a mom trait I’ve attained but hey, the small gestures of love are exactly like ripples in a pond.
Buy flowers just because. My mom used to say she hated flowers because she thought they were a waste of money. Until my then-boyfriend, now-husband showed up and gifted her her own bouquet. And since then, my dad started being romantic again and gifting her flowers every birthday, Valentine’s and Christmas. Guess who posts it on her Facebook every. Single. Time. Yup, this woman who now has to eat her words as she lights up every holiday and shows off her gifts on social media proudly.
Send a care package with their favorite snacks, teas, books, little make-up items, and a handwritten note. Leave on their doorstep. Or mail it to them if they live far. Trust me. They appreciate every little morsel. I sent my brother one, one year when he was stationed in Ohio for work training and bored out of his mind because Ohio. He loved it.
Make them a playlist. Put together songs that remind you of them. Back in the day when I was growing up (damn that phrase makes me sound like a fossil), we used to burn cds for each other of our favorite songs. I remember making a bunch of sappy love songs for my boyfriend. And then he would send me songs on AIM that he thought reminded him of me. Mine were all sappy cheesy love songs while his was all weird hipster rap. But when you read into the lyrics, it’s actually quite sentimental and when you get past the cheesiness, it’s actually really cute.
Do you have any artistic skills? Can you draw? Play an instrument? Sing a song? Paint? Create something! I guarantee you your lover, friend, family member will be over the moon that you did something so personal and from the heart. Or sign both of you up for a cooking class or rock climbing or something else fun, new and exciting to both of you. Or even just take the time to learn something from them that they’re passionate about. Showing interest in your loved ones’ passions is probably one of the biggest turn-ons ever.
I enjoyed making this list because my husband and I actually have gotten to a point where we don’t really know what to do for the other anymore in terms of gifts. It’s hard to “top” each other when we’ve been together so long. But honestly, I love any gestures, big or small, and silly things so it’s never about how expensive a gift is, but rather how much thought and devotion goes into it. Last year, he feigned tiredness after work to skip out on a birthday dinner I was having with my friends. When I got home, I instead found my room filled entirely with balloons everywhere in time for the clock to strike my birthday’s arrival. The ceiling was covered, the floor was littered everywhere with balloons. And to know that he took the time to try and hide this all to put it together, that alone made me smile stupidly. He had bought all these helium tanks from Target, sat there and blew them up and then manually blew them up when he ran out of helium. That’s love. It’s not always a dozen red roses. Sometimes it’s till you’re blue in the face from blowing up some IG hoe’s birthday balloons.
What are you guys doing for your loved ones for Valentine’s day!?