In light of Malaysia’s ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations, this may be a good opportunity to question the best way to celebrate the love-happy holiday. Sure, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other days meant to remind us to celebrate our loved ones (and also meant to increase Hallmark’s coffers), we shouldn’t need a day to keep us in check.
Nevertheless, in the spirit of the holiday, I suggest the following alternative practices:
- Do not buy roses. Aside from the fact they’re wildly overpriced this time of year, they are also often mass produced in a non-sustainable manner. Instead, give your loved one a living arrangement local to where you live—in the tropics, choose gingers or orchids; in dry environments, look for cacti or succulents; in cold weather, opt for an arrangement of dried twigs or berries. Better yet, go to a spot of meaning to you and your beloved and collect artifacts in memory of the location (like
the arrangement at right).
- Stay away from restaurants. Sure, it’s good to support local, small businesses. But Valentine’s Day is not the best day to do it. Instead, cook at home—nothing better to spice up the romance than to be in close quarters in the steamy, smoky kitchen. Or, if you live in a place with temperate weather, pack a picnic lunch or dinner and eat at sunset in a local park or other scenic spot.
- Ditch the partner and go out for an ‘all girls’ or ‘all guys’ night. My girlfriends and I made a tradition of this in college. I can’t tell you how happy it made my then-boyfriend/now-husband to be ‘off the hook’ for the holiday.
Instead, the girls and I would plan a nice dinner together, wine in tow. What better way to include non-attached friends and celebrate the love of long friendships.
- Donate the money you’d spend on frivolous gifts to an organization of meaning to your beloved. This is a tradition my husband and I have kept for several years—on Valentine’s Day we swap off donating a set amount in the others’ name. Beneficiaries of our love have included the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, Shark Savers, and Audubon.
Above all, remember that Valentine’s Day is all about love. And sex. And chocolate. And Hallmark.