Valentine’s Day – it makes some of us eager with anticipation, and simultaneously makes many of us cringe. Known throughout the United States as a “Hallmark holiday”, February 14th is notoriously commercialized, giving businesses an opportunity to mark up holiday essentials like chocolates, floral arrangements, “dinner for two” packages, and more. Of course, it goes without saying that Valentine’s Day 2021 will look a little different. Who knew that Valentine’s Day 2020 would be one of our last normal opportunities for a date night or Rendez-Vous? As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in mid-March of 2020, very few of us predicted it having this long-standing of an effect. But, without dwelling too much on pandemic life and how it has quickly become our new normal, we may as well make the most out of this holiday under quarantine.
Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza (read as: all holidays that were more or less ruined by the pandemic in 2020), Valentine’s Day is not typically celebrated in large gatherings. The upside to a Valentine’s Day under quarantine is that you can still likely celebrate it with the people you typically do so with – your significant other. A Valentine’s Day with your loved one this year may feel like a return to normalcy during a time when so many holidays have felt so… off.
A Valentine’s Night Out In the “New Normal”
Many couples utilize Valentine’s Day as an excuse for a weekend getaway, or an expensive evening out. Of course, whether or not you’re comfortable doing those sorts of activities this year is completely dependent on mandates in your area, and your personal level of comfortability. If you’re in the Northeast, indoor dining may or may not be available to you. Let’s just say if you’ve brave enough to weather the elements for an outdoor Valentine’s Day date night, we applaud you. On the topic of romantic getaways, the pandemic has totally flipped the travel industry on its head. While you may not be able to be whisked away on a flight to a foreign country right now, a road trip (which involves much less proximity to strangers) could be in the cards.
Though services like couples’ spa and massage packages are especially popular for this holiday, remember that due to safety regulations, many of these businesses are not operating under their normal guidelines. If you do plan to visit a resort, be sure to do your due diligence first so that you’re not disappointed when you get there. It goes without saying that if you do plan to interact with the public this Valentine’s Day weekend, wear a mask and keep your distance!
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to stay socially distanced this Valentine’s Day but can’t decide on what to do – buckle up, because we’ve got a myriad of ideas to make this February 14th a Valentine’s Day that you won’t forget.
Fine Dining – At Home
Okay, admittedly staying home and cooking a top-notch meal isn’t an especially novel idea, but there are plenty of ways to make it special. For starters, you could use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to try out a meal kit service. We’ve all been bombarded with digital ads and let’s face it – have been curious to try one of them out. Bonus: most of these delivery kit services offer a first-time customer promotional code.
If you’d prefer to use your own tried and true recipes, ask your significant other if they have a family recipe that is especially sentimental or meaningful to them (don’t we all?). As an especially romantic gesture, you can plan out a meal built around that recipe. Wanna go the extra mile? Research the best type of wine to pair with each course.
Speaking of wine, does anyone else miss wine tours? No need to answer that, of course you do! Several wineries are offering at-home virtual tastings, in which specific wine tasting packages can be purchased, then you can join others at a scheduled remote tasting (on zoom and from the comfort of your own home, of course!) FoodandWine.com has aggregated a nice list of wineries doing this sort of thing. Or, if supporting local business is more your vibe, explore wineries in your area to see if any are putting together special packages like this. Some packages may offer accompanying food to go with the various wines, but if yours doesn’t, we recommend putting together a nice charcuterie board.
Another excellent use for charcuterie boards – picnics! The recommendation to have a backyard picnic on February 14th is, of course, very dependent on where you reside. If you’re anywhere other than the south or west, you likely won’t want to be spending an extended period of time outside, or setting up a picnic blanket on a pile of snow. Though, there are always outdoor space heaters and “igloos” for warm(ish) outdoor dining. If you are lucky enough to be in a warm climate though, a backyard picnic, or a socially distanced picnic in a park, could be a perfect casual but romantic meal for you and your partner. Don’t forget to bring along a basket to carry your food in, or else it isn’t a proper picnic!
Throw A (Virtual) Party
Extroverts everywhere are suffering from a lack of socialization. Before you plan any sort of virtual hangout, be sure that your partner is open to the idea of spending time with others on Valentine’s Day. If they are, a virtual Valentine’s party could be as casual, or as well-thought-out, as you want it to be. Apps like Houseparty make it easy to play in-app games, but you can also get creative and plan something like a virtual trivia night.
Whether you paint by number or assemble some IKEA furniture together (okay, that one is the lesser fun option), collaborating on a project can strengthen bonds and promote intimacy. If you want to try something goofy, you can challenge your partner to paint or draw a portrait of you, and vice versa. It’s important to remember that while so many of us are currently overwhelmed by the state of the world, there is some beauty to a low-key Valentine’s Day craft that promotes creativity and lets off steam. If you want to get especially romantic, we suggest something like a “Things I Love About You” jar. Each person writes down various things they love about the other on scraps of paper. Then, the various sentiments are placed in a decorative jar (a separate one for each person) and meant to be referred back to when you go through a rough patch or argument as a couple.
Scavenger hunts are so fun, yet hold the opportunity to be extremely sentimental and thoughtful! There are a plethora of pre-made scavenger hunt templates out there, some catering to finding things around the house, and others that cater to places that are significant in a relationship. Of course, if you have the resources and creativity to do it, a scavenger hunt thought up completely by you will be especially meaningful to your partner. Since it is of course winter, you can focus your scavenger hunt on driving to certain places, and hiding clues or setting up challenges for your partner that they can manage mostly from the comfort and warmth of the car. Make it especially romantic with a prize at the end that you know your partner will adore – whether it’s a gallon of their favorite flavor of ice cream, or a scrapbook that covers the ins and outs of your relationship.
Of course, we couldn’t write a blog about Valentine’s Day without speaking to Galentine’s Day! Derived from the brilliant series Parks & Rec, Galentine’s Day is meant to be celebrated on February 13th, and is a celebration of friendship and comradery. While it originated as a “gals” holiday, anybody of any gender is welcome to celebrate the people they love in their life on Galentine’s. Of course, your safest bet is to host Galentine’s festivities remotely, but if your friends live nearby you may want to drop off something special for the video call, like heart-shaped cookies or a mini bottle of booze. Friendship has become blatantly important to us in this past year, and that’s worth celebrating.
Anti-Valentine’s Day Party
If none of these ideas are especially appealing to you, you might be more of an Anti-Valentine’s Day person, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is traditionally a very overly-commercialized holiday, and we get that take. The good news is, Anti-Valentine’s activities can be just as fun! We love the idea of decorating heart-shaped cookies with black frosting or even deciding to do simply nothing on Valentine’s Day as an act of rebellion. Honestly – laying on the couch and having a movie marathon sounds pretty good.
No matter how you decide to spend this February 14th – we wish you a safe and thoroughly romantic Valentine’s Day!
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Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].