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Feb 13, 2015

5 Tips for Having the Best Valentine's Day Ever

before i started dating aj, i didn't love valentines day.  it wasn't anything special to me and, well, i didn't have anyone to share it with.  but now, on the other side of things, being in a relationship, i've realized that valentine's day can be such a disappointment if you let it be.  it's so easy to build up our expectations of what we think should happen on this magical holiday of love.  maybe you're fantasizing that the guy you like will finally sweep you off your feet and declare his love.  maybe you are dreaming that your boyfriend will propose, or that your husband will surprise you with a romantic weekend getaway.  but if i've learned anything from three valentines days in a serious relationship, it's that the big, grandiose plans seldom turn out the way you dream.

for example, our first valentines day together was also the day we decided to start dating, and was filled with awkward "what do we do?" kind of conversations and worries.  it was special in it's own way, but we were both figuring out how to navigate that holiday.  our second was spent with both of us fighting the flu.  enough said.  and last year started off with the best intentions...secret reservations made to a great restaurant...which ended up having a weird and expensive fixed menu.

so no matter if you're single or dating or engaged or married, i think it's incredibly easy to set valentine's day up in your mind to be this great day, and can easily be disappointed.  so, here's 5 tips to consider (single or in a relationship!) this valentine's day.

1.  be surprised // the reality is that valentine's day is a commercialized holiday that sets our expectations high.  but the reality is that valentine's day really is just a day where we get an excuse to eat a little more chocolate.  don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting your life to be a movie.  go buy yourself some chocolate, expect nothing, and be surprised!

2.  pretend you're in elementary school //  think about what made valentine's day so great in school:  you got to give and get those fun little valentines to all of your friends!  i'll let you in on a little secret:  those little cards still make valentine's day fun in adulthood.  grab a box and give them out to your besties at work or school...i guarantee they'll bring back fun memories and put a smile on people's faces!

3.  take the initiative // ladies, i know...we want to have our guys plan a whole big exciting date for us.  but if i've learned anything from dating an introvert, it's that sometimes guys really do enjoy having us take the lead.  plan a fun day or dinner for you and your guy, and surprise him!  chances are he'll love having the pressure taken off and will enjoy the thought that you put into it.  and if you're like me, and love surprising people, it might even be better than if he was surprising you!

4.  celebrate all love // yes, valentine's day is centered around romantic love, but why not take some time to celebrate all love?  tell your parents that you love them and that you're grateful for them.  text a friend and celebrate the unique love that you have with your besties.  none of us would be who or where we are without the love that we've received from those closest to us, so use this holiday as a day to celebrate it all!  no one ever minds getting candy or flowers, so surprise someone special in your life (who isn't your significant other) this holiday....i promise they won't see it coming!

5.  have fun // i think we put so much pressure on valentine's day to be this super romantic day straight from an episode of the bachelor.  but when you strip those expectations away, it really can be a fun holiday.  so remember to have fun on valentine's day this year...send a card to a friend or your grandma (grandma's love that stuff), or go on a romantic date with your man, or have a fun valentine's (or galentine's) party and play some minute to win it games and dance around to 90's boy band music (because let's be real...nothing gets you moving with your girls like blasting some n'sync)!

what are your thoughts on valentine's day?  do you have any tips for making it great, whether you're in a relationship or not?


  1. Great post!
    I am actually doing both a Galentine's Day and Valentine's Day this year. Tonight, some girlfriend's are coming over and there will be a Mary Kay party, spaghetti and salad for dinner, cake for dessert and we are going to watch Phantom of the Opera. It'll be a lot of fun!
    I was so excited because my man NEVER plans ahead, but this morning out walked out of our room to get coffee and he had left a huge stuffed panda (I LOVE pandas), a sweet card, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my desk! So sweet.
    I think this is the first time ever that he has planned more than I did. It made me so happy! This is our first married Valentine's Day together and I am so impressed that he had a plan :) And I think the fact that I didn't expect it (as you said) was what made it so sweet!

    I wrote a post of a few ideas for Valentine's Day too :)

  2. This is so true, people tend to think of valentines day as a day to just buy things and you have to go out on fancy dinners etc. That's okay but there is more too it, It's definitely what you make it. It could be all the fluff or it could be simple and romantic even the simpleness of hanging out on the couch together eating brownies while watching a movie could be fun. It's all about love and each other and what you make of it.

  3. Aww, I love this! Like you, I wasn't a fan of Valentine's Day until I started dating Andrew. I've never really had an expectation for it, but it's so much fun to be able to celebrate our relationship and have a special day together. And one of our first dates before we were official was Valentine's Day!

  4. pretend you are in elementary school...YES.

  5. Betsy this advice is excellent! What a wonderful reminder to remember not to set your expectations so high that you miss out on all of the fun!

  6. I love all of this and totally agree! Even when I was single I never just hated Valentine's Day, I think it's all what you make it! And YES to pretending your in elementary school, so fun!

  7. Totally agree about #2, I really enjoyed those cards in Elementary school, it was fun to exchange them. :)

  8. I mailed Valentine's cards out this year. It's the first year I've done it and I loved doing it. I asked my readers to send me their mailing address if they wanted a card and I got a great response. I bought a few boxes and out in the mail they went. :-)

  9. I love celebrating Valentine's Day by just taking time to be intentional in our time together - making it a date night and an excuse to stay in and avoid the crowds. This year we're cooking dinner together. I'm excited. :)

  10. amen to all of that--and i love the "pretend like you're in elementary school" point. sharing love is what makes it fun!

  11. Talking about pretending to be in elementary school...I teach 7th grade English and my class immature which causes a lot of issues with responsibility and misbehavior. So, I try to build them up as much as possible (even though sometimes I have to be extremely stern with them...). So, I made them Valentine cards and smarties. And, they LOVED the little personal notes!

  12. Great tips. My single girlfriends and I got together, went to dinner and a concert. Great Valentine's Day!!

  13. I'm a little late to this post but I love your idea for #2


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