Valentine's Day has the potential for New Year's Eve level disappointment. In the same way as NYE, V-Day has a lot of expectation, build up, and it's easy to not live up to the hype.
My husband and I decided years ago that we were both ok foregoing the gifts and the restaurants packed in with extra 2-top tables and the added expense that all of the above held and have skipped celebrating the holiday ever since. This works well for us because we are both on the same page, but for other couples it may not be so cut and dry. I believe that one component of a healthy, happy relationship is having the Valentine's Day discussion early on. For those of you hitting your first V-Day with your significant other, here are 5 rules to follow.
1 and 2 (these go hand-in-hand): Talk and Be Honest. Bring up the holiday in a conversation (preferably not the day before!) and have a heart-to-heart discussion about level of (or lack thereof) enthusiasm for Valentine's Day. Do you love it and relish getting special gifts to celebrate? Are you indifferent? Is it off-putting to you? Tell the truth! Your significant other cannot read minds, as much as you sometimes wish they could. Don't say you hate it trying to go along with your partner's feelings to then wind up being upset when gifts or surprises don't appear. Put it all out there.
3. Compromise and lay out a plan. If you are lucky and you are on the same page, then huzzah! Discuss the level of extravagance you expect or plan on: simple cards and gifts or a full-on day of surprises and big gestures or somewhere in between?
If you both feel differently about the holiday discuss options for a middle ground. If one person hates the commercialness, decide to do homemade gifts for one another. If they dislike the crowded restaurants make a fancy dinner side-by-side.
I would highly suggest to the person that dislikes the holiday to find a way to partake and seek out joy in it. Think about how much your (non-begrudging) gesture would mean to your S.O. Think about how much fun it can be to hunt down something that makes your partner happy. And hell, we could all use some more positive energy right now, so why not take a day to celebrate love?!
4. Make your own traditions. Just because everyone buys chocolates and flowers doesn't mean that's your only option. Maybe your Valentine's Day is about making a couple of mugs of (spiked) hot cocoa and watching Napoleon Dynamite (Hey, that's one hell of a sweet romantic movie if you ask me). Maybe it's heading out and taking on a new adventure together (skydiving anyone?). Make it yours and it makes it special.
5. Don't procrastinate. Come on. We all know the holiday is approaching. We see the red and pink candies show up in the check-out lanes and the jewelry commercials are on one endless loop on the TV. Do not wait until the day before to try to find flowers, make the reservation, or hunt down the cassette on which to make your special mixed tape. Get that 'ish done early and your own Valentine's Day is bound to be more enjoyable.
Hope however you celebrate (or don't) today that your Valentine's Day is happy and fun!