Feature image by Anna Kurzaeva via Getty Images
It’s my favorite month! The month of love! It’s like Ashton Kutcher says in Valentine’s Day: Why can’t we make every day Valentine’s Day and leave only one day for hate and negativity? While the logistics of that actually scare me a bit, I think he makes an excellent point. I’ve been trying to work on showing more gratitude and appreciation for the people in my life on a regular basis. Just the other day, I told a friend “thanks for not giving up on me,” and I think that’s the goal with creating little love messages for your friends: We’ve been through shit, and sometimes we need to thank the people who got us through it.
This Valentine’s Day, consider sending your BFFs one (or all) of the following vessels of love.
Remember in second grade when you spent an hour cutting up red and pink paper and gluing shiny things to it so your teacher could hang them up for the week? Or maybe in fourth grade when you were required to come in with little cardboard Valentines Day cards for everyone in the class? Let’s bring this back (but only for people we actually like)!
This particular expression of appreciation isn’t so much about the message as it is about the craft. You don’t need to be a DIY expert or even that creative. The end product should give 1st grade school project. Grab some colored paper, glue sticks, glitter, or anything that feels like love to you, and stick it all together! You could go for the classic heart cutout, or if you want to get really crafty you could print out a picture of the two of you to tape on with a bunch of fun stickers.
Pros: It’s nostalgic and heartfelt
Cons: It requires physical supplies and at least a few days of prep work
We’re talking places like Tinyprints, Shutterfly, or even Canva. Because these platforms have made basic graphic design super accessible, your creative options are endless. You can choose pre-made Valentine’s designs or make your own. You can upload personal photos to add to pre-made designs, too. Ideally, you would want to create a card you could send out in bulk (so, not super personalized). Since one of my resolutions is to become the friend I want to be (the helper, not the one always in survival mode), I opted for the Canva card this year. I don’t want to share too much detail since they are on their way to my friends’ mailboxes now, but I included a fun photo of me with the phrase “YOU’RE A BAD$$. Never forget how much you are loved!”
Pros: It’s creative and heartfelt
Cons: It can get expensive and will require planning in advance
I feel like I’ve only ever received these from distant family members or semi-questionable bosses, but I think it’s time we reclaim them! Jib Jab, Renderforest, and Smilebox are a few of the sites that come to mind, but you can find them everywhere nowadays. Each site will pretty much walk you through how to create one of their cards, so all you’ll really need are the photos you want to use (close-up photos are the best) and your friends’ email addresses. The mood of these cards is typically energetic and over-the-top, so goofy pictures are encouraged!
Pros: There is practically no prep time involved and it’s typically free
Cons: People will know that you spent practically no time on it
A Good, ‘Ol Fashioned Email
I came up with this in college. It’s not that it’s any revolutionary idea, but for a broke student with no time it seemed pretty inventive: all the love, none of the investment. Instead of a flashy email with moving pictures and audio, this is a straightforward, deeper version of a “thinking of you” text, which I guess is the modern version of an Anne Lister diary entry/love letter.
The typical outline I use consists of: setting up the context with a little explanation (this is a love letter to you, my friend), an overview of all we’ve been through over the past year or so, a genuine list of qualities you love about them, and a note of gratitude. The more specific and descriptive, the better! It could take you 10 minutes or an hour, but the easy part is sending the email straightaway.
Pros: It’s free and allows you a lot of space for all your feelings
Cons: Not as flashy and can visibly come of a little like a business memo
No matter what avenue you choose, remember the one thing these all have in common: love. As long as your thoughtfulness shines through, you’ve done it right. Now go spread the love!