Who said Valentine’s Day was only about romantic love? While the more cynical may claim that Feb. 14 is nothing more than a money making scheme for Hallmark and candy makers, the day can be a great excuse to go out of your way to show love and appreciation to the people in your life — whether or not you have a date.
Here are some ideas on how to make this Valentine’s Day a lot more meaningful, not only for yourself, but for others around you.
Visit a senior citizen’s home
For the most part, senior citizens love visitors. Knowing that the younger generation cares about them is a great way to show love and can also be a great way to glean some wisdom. Listen to their life stories and ask them how they met their significant others. You never know where you’ll find a Notebook-esque story.
Thank your parents
Valentine’s Day is all about outward expressions of love and affection, so why not show your parents how thankful you are for everything they do?
Have a Valentine’s Day gift exchange
Single or not, everyone likes getting gifts. Get some friends together and do a “Secret Cupid” gift exchange.
Make homemade valentines
Break out the glue sticks, glitter and craft scissors and take a trip back to your elementary school days. Fill your cards with cheesy messages, or even heartfelt notes, and give them out — to your Resident Assistant, your favorite barista at Jazzmans, a family member.
Offer to babysit for free
Finding a good babysitter can be a pain and most couples don’t necessarily want to take their kids along for a romantic Valentine’s Day date. If you enjoy watching kids, offer to babysit for a professor or church member and don’t ask for anything in return.
Enjoy some alone time
When you live on campus, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly surrounded by people. Go somewhere where you can be alone, and indulge in something that brings you pleasure. Maybe hike to the Monogram, read at a local coffee shop, or just drive around Lynchburg. Appreciate the solitude, detachment and a few hours of getting to do whatever you want, however you want.
Take a road trip
Though Valentine’s Day does fall on a school night, if you and some friends can afford to do it (both financially and if schedules allow) take a day trip to a nearby city such as Roanoke or Charlottesville.
Have a completely unrelated party
Sick of seeing hearts and cupids? Celebrate a less appreciated holiday and throw a party that has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. A Christopher Columbus Day party, Arbor Day party, or even an early President’s Day party will work. Make it a costume party to make the photos even more memorable.
Bake cookies and distribute them
Give them to your neighbors, classmates, professors or anyone else you can think of. Who doesn’t love baked goods, right?
Dress up like Cupid
This might be the only day that donning a bow and arrow in public are acceptable.
Do something nice for your roommate
Whether it’s buying them candy hearts or giving them a note telling them you appreciate them, go out of your way to let them know they are valued and special.
Make dinner for single friends
Have everyone dress up and make something nicer than mac n’ cheese. If you’re living situation allows for it, break out the candles and fancy china (or at least something better than paper plates).
Karaoke to cheesy love songs
Mariah Carey, N’Sync, Celine Dion — take your pick, grab some friends and belt it out.
Demonstrate a love that sticks
Take part in Houston radio station 89.3 KSBJ’s “Love that Sticks” challenge. Write encouraging messages on post-it notes and then place them in places for people to find. A loving word can go a long way. Visit lovethatsticks.com for more information.