Ten Ways To Celebrate Valentines Day That Don’t Suck

This is my third straight year without a date on Valentine’s Day. That’s actually probably a good thing because prior to that I’d had a date every year since I was 12. Serial monogamy aside, that first dateless year was a bit odd. According to popular opinion, single women on Valentine’s Day should spend the day either crying while eating a whole box of chocolates and listening to Adele on repeat or get really bitter and spend the day telling everyone how much they hate Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t really jive with me. If you haven’t noticed, I love holidays and all the quirky cheesy stuff that comes along with them. I’ve probably baked enough heart shaped apple pies to feed a small village of orchard dwellers. So what’s a gal to do? Do better stuff!

Celebrating Galentine’s Day

Direct from Leslie Knope it’s Gal-entine’s Day, the celebration of all your awesome girl friends who you haven’t slept with yet. Realistically you probably have more love for your bros than you do for the last six girls you dated so why not celebrate it? I know this one is obvious but it’s still a tried and true classic. Get together your other single friends together for dinner, drinks and dancing. Alternatively, you guys could have dinner and watch Romeo+Juliet. Bonus points if you pull off the evening without any secret romantic agenda or sleeping with any of your friends.

Send Flowers to Your Folks

Remember when you were little and your parents would give you valentines? Now that you’re all grown up you can return the favor. I always send roses from Winston Flowers through NPR (to show I care, and care about the news) but most towns have a flower shop that can ship all sorts of bouquets anywhere in the country. If you live at or near your parents it’s even easier — just pick up some flowers and arrange them neatly in the kitchen. I guarantee your folks will be thrilled.

Write Some Seriously Heartfelt Letters

When was the last time you wrote a thoughtful letter to your grandmother, best friend, sibling, brother-in-law, best friend’s mom, college roommate, or yes, even your parents. Probably not ever. Valentine’s Day is a great time to remind the people in your life just how much they mean to you in a nearly-free and concrete way. Think about the sort of things you would want to hear from your close friends, or the kind of things you normally only say when you’re drunk. If you want to get real into it, aim to make your letter so emotional and heartfelt that the recipient cries. (This should go without saying, but don’t write a letter to your ex.)

Send Valentines From Your Pet

photo via flickr user heylovedc

If you have a cat or dog, why not give a Valentine from your pet to a friend’s pet? In theory this sounds slightly cat-ladyish, but in practice it’s actually just adorable. For example, if you and the girl who lives across the hall both have dogs, tie a red ribbon around a dog bone with a note that says “Buster, I hope you have a paw-some Valentine’s Day! Love, Cannoli.” Alternatively, if you have a cat, you could send a pink ball of yarn to your sister’s cat with a note that says “Midnight, I think you’re purrr-fect. Be my Valentine? Love, Mittens.” Simple is always better lest your neighbor think you’re a psychopath.

If you don’t already have a pet, Valentine’s Day is a great time to adopt one! Puppies are the ultimate source of unconditional love and shelters are full of them this time of year. Check out The Shelter Pet Project for pets in your area!

Treat Yourself

The best part about being single on Valentine’s Day is that you don’t have to buy anyone a gift or pay for an expensive evening out! You can spend the money you would have spent on a gift for your girlfriend on something special for yourself. Whether it’s a massage, hair appointment, or whatever, getting a spa treatment is the ultimate form of self indulgence. I suggest going for a manicure-pedicure. In terms of spa treatments it’s usually only about $30 total and you get to sit in a vibrating chair while someone rubs your feet. If you want to up the ante on the V-Day elements, ask your nail tech to paint little hearts on you pinkies. If having painted nails isn’t exactly your style, you can still enjoy getting your nails done and just ask for them to be buffed and left natural. Alternatively, save even more money and do this at home, alone or with friends, and a glass of wine or eight.

Pink Lemonade

Pink Lemonade is delicious and Valentine’s Day is your only good excuse to drink it until July.

Say Namaste

Valentine’s Day is about all sorts of love, even the love you have for yourself. Dedicate a yoga practice to all of the things that you love about yourself even the parts you secretly hate. Set your intention to be mindful of all the love in the world. Maybe focus on some heart opening postures. If you’re suffering from a broken heart you can take some of the sting out of Valentine’s Day by trying out this absolutely perfect Yoga to Cure a Broken Heart. Chances are good there’s a weirdo embarrassing-but-awesome couples yoga option somewhere in your city; go with your roommate or best friend, and both of you can spend the rest of the day reveling in your sense of balance and moral superiority.

Celebrate with Kids

via greenyourplate.net

Little kids blindly love Valentine’s Day even thought they’re obviously not in romantic relationships. Even if you don’t have children, I bet there are some little kids in your life; brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousin’s new baby, etc. Even if there are no little kids in your life, maybe you could borrow one from your roommate. If you don’t want to invest too much time into your Valentine’s Day, you could certainly send the little kid in your life a cutesy valentine or a heart patterned piece of clothing. Alternatively, you could block off the day to play with said kid. Once you’ve secured your little kid, you can do anything from making pink-topped cupcakes together to helping them make valentines for their class. The best part is, whomever you’re borrowing the kid from will probably perceive this as “babysitting” and thus get to enjoy a Valentine’s Day night out if they so wish. Little will they know you’re actually using their child as an excuse to glue doilies to more doilies.

Prep for the Future

Just because you’re single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you’ll be single forever (unless that’s what you want, in which case it probably does). Take Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to put your best foot forward in your next relationship. Maybe this is the time to sort your underwear in to Trash, Period, Everyday and Sexytime piles. Maybe you want to finally install that dimmer in your ceiling light so you can have mood lighting in your bedroom. Maybe there’s some lifestyle equipment you need to boil (just saying). If you feel like getting crafty, you can even make/order funny business cards to hand out to people at your local girl bar so they know how fucking amazing you are. Other people do that too, right?

Give Back

There are a ton of people out there who don’t have the money or time to devote to something as (real-talk) frivolous as Valentine’s Day. Make this Valentine’s Day about helping someone else by donating your time or money to a good cause. Plenty of cities hold Valentine’s Day charity events for families in need so check out Volunteer Match to see what’s going on around Valentine’s Day near you. If you do end up buying someone (or yourself) a gift or flowers, consider shopping through a site like We-Care for which a portion of the proceeds go to charity. You can also, of course, always shop through Autostraddle’s Amazon affiliate account. If you want to get really cheesy, you can even get involved with The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. I’m going to be celebrating Valentine’s Day by spending approximately 6 hrs in a biosafety level 3 messing around with tuberculosis.

    Don’t be me. Eat some sugar cookies and watch a cute movie.

  2. i have a hot date with 5 and a half month old twins (not mine, but goshdamn i love ’em like they are). those tiny guys give me more cuddles and make me smile wider than anything else has in a long time. i highly recommend loving babies as break-up (or other life crappiness) therapy.

    • Me too! We’re having a little mini protest outside the seat of government here. I must bring this giant 6 foot valentines card from my house to the place we’re protesting and I fear people will assume im some sort of demented overly romantic weirdo who is delivering said card to her stalkee. But anyway, I hope your activism goes well, and that ours does too, im getting nervous about it now!!

  3. i wish i could have a date with a certain Mass Effect 3 demo, but alas valentines day is poorly timed with midterms EVERY year.

  4. A GSA meeting in which the theme is “let’s talk shit about our exes”. Considering that everyone has dated each other in that group, this is going to get ugly/entertaining real quick.

  5. i will be spending my valentines day in a room with dead bodies (specifically, a bunch of no longer beating or loving hearts)

  6. I actually didn’t realize it was Valentines Day until a friend asked me if I had any plans tomorrow and I was like, “I dunno, nothing much, why?”

    “Because it’s Valentines,”

    “Ooooh! Yeah, still nothing…”

  7. I’m going to spend the day talking about STIs, then spend the evening eating pizza, drinking beer, and watching Shaun of the Dead. I think last year I was stressed about shit and crying over school and life and unemployment. Being perpetually single: it gets better.

    • I like the idea that perpetual singleness gets better. I realized today I have never had a Valentine on Valentine’s Day, and that depressed the hell out of me.

      Also, because I’m anonymous and this is Internet-land, I may as well share this thing, too: two years ago I was sexually assaulted on Valentine’s Day.

      All in all, I really hate this holiday. But I don’t want to be one of those bitter people who goes around telling everyone else they hate Valentine’s Day. So I think watching Shaun of the Dead may be a safe and healthy way to feel all the feelings.

  8. I’m babysitting, which is what I do a lot of nights. I just ended a relationship recently so I’m glad to be busy.

  9. I’m spending tomorrow delivering flowers! Actually, I did that today, too. It’s fun seeing people’s faces light up. Also, it makes my car smell nice.

    • Several years ago, I declared a new tradition on v-day (which is also my b-day, ugh) where I take the day off of work and spend it eating chocolate, drinking wine and spoiling the whiskers off my cat. He heartily approved, and we’ve done it ever since.

  10. I was suppose to go see The Vow but I went today to avoid the line. I think I’m going to do partner yoga, valentines from my dog and drink some pink lemonade!

  11. Wait, Lizz, the business card. THE BUSINESS CARD. HOW HAS NO ONE MENTIONED YOUR BUSINESS CARD?!?!?!?!?!

    I am adding you to my list of “celebs I would cheat on my gf with” and I know you’re not really a celeb but like, she’s just going to have to be okay with it BECAUSE OF THAT ADORABLE FREAKING BUSINESS CARD. Also if you don’t want to participate in the cheating part we could just be besties instead.

  12. three of the roommates, two other friends, and I (all straight but me) had a pre-valentine’s party in which we had a yankee swap for hilariously appropriate/inappropriate gifts depending on your perspective.

    End of the night totals: 2 vibrators, 1 vibrating cock ring, 2 sex position card decks, flavoring liquidy stuff for blow jobs, KY massage/lube stuff, nipple and clit flavor/tingling sensation gel, chocolate syrup, penis-shaped pasta, and penis-shaped ice cube trays.

    Officially the best/most hilarious Valentine’s Day ever.

  13. With me, the send flowers to your parents thing is more like give chocolate to your parents and ideally, be present to receive chocolate and to open all boxes at once, indulging in all of it at the same time. I’ve done it for 10 years and it’s comforting and fun. 2009 (afternoon) was my mother, grandmother, and Fred Astaire movies.

    My policy is never to go out on Feb. 14, only tried it once three years ago and it was obnoxious. There’s nothing to envy about the 14th.

  14. To celebrate today, I ordered my Unicorn Plan-It t-shirt and I will clean my house while listening to really loud music. I can’t think of a better way to get over what could possibly be the worst breakup EVER (really, we have to share a bedroom for six more months). Autostraddle is my valentine <3

  15. You know what? I like valentines day too! Mostly because when I was growing up it meant cookies and heart shaped homemade pizza for dinner. And now I like it because it’s an excuse to bake cookies for my friends.

  16. My dad and I always have a father-daughter day, cause he’s a single parent and I’m ALWAYS single. He buys me flowers and candy, we go to breakfast, and I make dinner for once. It’s a simple tradition, but I like it. :3

  17. I had a pretty nice Valentines, even if it was pretty boring by most people’s standards. I got up and took a shower with my gorgeous girlfriend, I made her favorite breakfast (eggs and toast), picked up my new car from the garage and had a super romantic test-drive to work. Don’t swoon with jealousy girls, there’s plenty of time to swing by and watch me get lost on the highway ;)

  18. I spent the day in bed with a very sexy lady named Me. SLEEPING.

    Hot Valentine’s Day action right here.

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