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Start a New Valentine’s Day Tradition This Year

To start celebrating the holiday your way, check out these ideas for Valentine's Day traditions with your date, your friends, the kids or just yourself.

valentine's day traditions

Valentine’s Day is one of the most interpersonally fraught holidays we celebrate in America. It’s as though the pressure of a midnight New Year’s Eve kiss lasted for a whole day. Those who are in relationships feel the pressure of celebrating the day to the fullest, and those who aren’t in relationships feel the pressure of making sure everybody knows they’re fine. It’s fine, really. I’m fine. It’s fine!

You don’t have to be planning something romantic or even typical for Valentine’s Day. This year, you can start a new Valentine’s Day tradition for yourself and for your loved ones.

Valentine’s Day Traditions for You and Your Date

If you have a significant other when Valentine’s Day rolls around, you might be thinking of doing the same old dinner-and-chocolates route. But restaurants during Valentine’s Day can be overpriced and overcrowded. Here are some nontraditional Valentine’s Day ideas for how you and your partner can shake it up.

Treat yourselves to a movie marathon. There’s no better way to mark the holiday than with your favorite romantic comedies. Order some takeout, buy some wine and kick your feet up while you watch Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall for each other again and again.

Make a special home-cooked meal. Cooking together is a great way to bond – not to mention, it’s a lot more cost-effective than a pricey prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu. Make plans to prepare a special meal together. With some candles, it can be even more romantic than a night out.

Try something new. Is there something the two of you have wanted to do, but never had a reason to try? Valentine’s Day is your chance! Try an escape room, take a painting class together or head to a nearby rock climbing gym. You could even hit up your local karaoke bar, which is bound to be a little interesting on Valentine’s Day. Try one of these last-minute date ideas that are anything but boring.

valentine's day traditions

Valentine’s Day Traditions for You and Your Friends

Valentine’s Day is about celebrating all kinds of love and there’s no reason you shouldn’t spend it with your BFFs.

Celebrate Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day, first popularized by the show Parks and Recreation, is a holiday celebrated on or near Feb. 14 (it’s Feb. 13 in the show). Galentine’s Day is all about celebrating female friendships – ideally over brunch. If you’re not a “gal,” don’t worry! Friends of any gender will love a little appreciation. And brunch is for all.

Have a singles dinner party. Single on Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry, a lot of other people are too. A singles dinner party or potluck is the perfect way to commiserate (or celebrate) with your other single friends. And who knows? Maybe there’ll be a spark.

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Valentine’s Day Traditions for You and the Kids

Kids like Valentine’s Day just as much as grownups do – and what’s not to like? It’s a holiday that’s mostly about receiving heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Here’s how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the little ones in your life this February.

Make them feel special. Parents can make their kids feel special by setting aside a moment that’s just for them. Try splitting up and doing single parent/single child outings, like daddy/daughter or mommy/son dinners. Giving a child one-on-one time with a parent can make them feel important and seen. A dinner with the whole family can also a great way to celebrate the love you all have for each other.

Do your babysitting duty. You don’t have kids. So what? Whether you’re single or in a relationship, a great way to pay it forward on Valentine’s Day is by babysitting for friends or family members. Parents of young children don’t often get time to go out for dinner together and by babysitting you can give them the gift of a night off. Meanwhile, you can watch “Frozen” with the kids, read a little bit of Harry Potter and maybe even let them sneak some sweets. The love and gratitude you will receive from their parents will put any date to shame.

Valentine’s Day Traditions Just for You

I’m single this year. And that’s fine. It’s fine. I’m fine! In all honesty, I don’t take Valentine’s Day very seriously when I’m on my own. And I think some of the ideas listed above would be a great way to spend the holiday while single. But if you’re feeling a little fragile and tender this holiday, this is the perfect time to step back and treat yourself to some self-care.

Treat yourself. Feel free to splurge a little and get something nice for yourself, something you’ve been wanting for a while. Cook or order your favorite meal – and don’t forget dessert! Then it’s time to light some candles and read a good book (or watch a good movie).

Have a DIY spa night. Spend Feb. 14 pampering yourself by turning your house into your own personal spa. Enjoy a bath bomb or a sugar scrub, try a new face mask, smell good smells, listen to some chill music. Let yourself relax and enjoy your personal time.

How are you spending this Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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