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In my secondary school, Valentine’s Day was a huge thing — I remember the bustle of coming into school early, NTUC bags filled with chocolate, sweets and sometimes roses, the excitement of exchanging gifts with friends along the corridors, and the group hugs and giggles that ensued. Coming from a girls’ school, my experience with Valentine’s Day was always platonic, filled with the warmth and tenderness of girlhood. 

Though Valentine’s Day has taken on a more romantic meaning for many of my friends and I through the years, it’s still a day for love and an excellent opportunity to show appreciation for your girlies (guylies, theylies) from secondary school, even if you haven’t spoken to them in a while.

Here are some money and time-friendly ideas on how to make your friends and loved ones feel special this Valentine’s Day.

  1. A heartfelt letter

Perhaps the most classic and thoughtful gift you could give would be your words. Write them a letter reflecting on your relationship and express gratitude for their presence in your life. You can keep it simple by using letter-writing paper and an envelope (maybe making it fancier with a wax seal). If you have more time or money to spare, get some scrapbook paper and stickers from a stationary store and go crazy. You can layer photographs, magazine cutouts and nostalgic memorabilia like movie tickets to make them feel extra special.

If words don’t naturally come to you, check this out for a more in-depth guide to letter writing

  1. Care packages 

You can never go wrong with a care package. Get some cute goodie bags from Daiso, throw in some face masks, chocolates, candies and hand-baked cookies and you’re good to go. If you have some extra money to spare, the hand sanitisers from Bath and Body Works make for cute and useful gifts.

  1. Flowers

This is another classic Valentine’s Day gift. Although they are not ever-lasting, they sure look pretty. It’s a simple way to show someone that you’re thinking about them. 

On a normal day, you can get 5 roses for $10 at NTUC outlets, but because of the huge demand for roses around the time of Valentine’s Day, you can expect heavily marked-up prices then. Alternatively, support your local florist or visit a warehouse (Far East Flora Market, Ji Mei Flower) to get a bundle of friendship flowers, including yellow roses, sunflowers and gerbera daisies, at a reasonable price.

Finally, wrap them up in brown wrapping paper (tutorial here), and you’re ready to go.

  1. Portraits of your friends

For a more personalised gift, draw your friends. All you really need is some paper and a pen, but I would recommend getting some drawing paper to ensure the longevity of it. Be it a doodle, a caricature, or a mix of both, the uniqueness and effort put in makes it a great gift for your sentimental friends.

Also, it doesn’t matter whether you’re artistically inclined or not. If not heartwarming, it’ll be a funny gift to receive.

Otherwise, there are artists on Shopee (uglycrappydrawing, artkeepist) that sell doodles from $2 a piece.

  1. A Haiku

My favourite way of showing love is through Haikus. They are a form of Japanese poetry arranged in three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables respectively, written traditionally about images of nature (here are some examples).

Because of its brevity, Haikus are a quick and easy way to make someone feel extra special. When writing it for someone, feel free to expand beyond the traditional rules. For example, leaning on shared references or inside jokes is a good way to personalise the poem!

Ultimately, your gal pals deserve as much love as your significant others do. 

If none of these are up your alley, a fun night out with the girls to celebrate your friendship and relive secondary school nostalgia is all that everyone really needs.

Maegan Ong

Nanyang Tech '23

Communications undergraduate. Mug collector, picture taker, life liver, laugher, lover.
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