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Valentine\'s Day Gifts with Hearts
Valentine\'s Day Gifts with Hearts
Original illustrations by Haley Boyce

Valentine’s Day is the Best Holiday—and I’ll Die on This Hill

Valentine’s Day evokes very controversial opinions—many people love it, even more people hate it. Whether your past Valentine’s Days have been lonely, disappointing, or amazing, I have the guide to restructuring the way we view this lovey-dovey day.

Single or taken, valentine’s day is about all kinds of love

If you have a significant other, of course it’s fun to spend a romantic day with them, but don’t forget to celebrate your love for friends and family as well. Spend your February 13th Leslie Knope style and plan a “Galentine’s” — or the gender-neutral alternative “PAL-entine’s” — Day to celebrate the love you have for your best friends. Even simpler, you can surprise your friends and family with little valentine gifts. Whether it’s a handmade, heart-shaped card, or some candy, everyone appreciates a little labor of love.

Go all out, get into that aesthetic!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but the Valentine’s “lovecore” aesthetic is my ALL TIME FAVORITE. As a holiday enthusiast, I love to decorate my space head-to-toe in pink and red heart decor and revel in the cuteness of it all. Of course, on Valentine’s Day, you can go a few different routes with your look—a classy, elegant red lip with a stunning dress, or maybe you prefer the more kitschy hearts-from-head-to-toe look. The unexpected versatility in Valentine’s Day looks is something I cherish each year and I cannot wait to put together some themed looks. This, of course, includes heart-shaped jewelry, festive nails, and endless Valentine’s Day-inspired makeup tutorial videos I inevitably watch each year.

Live vicariously through your favorite characters

Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, there is always something fun to watch. You could go the cheesy rom-com route or check out the Valentine’s Day episode of your favorite show (I am once again mentioning the Galentine’s Day episode of Parks and Recreation). Maybe it’s time to heal your inner child and revisit the Valentine’s Day episode of SpongeBob SquarePants; that’s one of my all-time favorites, ngl.

If you’re in a relationship:

Not all who dislike Valentine’s Day are single. People in relationships often stress over the pressure of the romantic holiday. The best thing you can do for yourself is release expectations—Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the most magical, romantic day of your life. It is nothing more than another day to celebrate your love for your partner, and that can be done as simply or as extravagantly as you like. Choose to spend your day how you want to, even if that just means ordering takeout and staying in watching movies. The best way to go about it is to discuss with your partner and plan together; this ensures that you’re both happy with how you choose to celebrate.

If you’re single:

You can go two routes to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a single person: spending it focusing on self-love or spending it with friends. If you prefer the solitary route, a “spa day” in can be the best way to enjoy—treat yourself to a new face mask and your favorite candy. Your ultimate spa day may include:

  • Taking a relaxing bath
  • Painting your nails
  • Doing a hair mask
  • Putting on an under-eye mask
  • A lip scrub and mask

Go the whole nine yards, put on some relaxing music, light candles, and turn on your essential oil diffuser. Sometimes a rejuvenating spa night is all you need to remind yourself of your divine beauty inside and out. Of course, if you prefer to spend the night with friends, a group spa night is always fun! Other Valentine’s activities to do with friends are brunch at your favorite restaurant, baking a heart-themed treat, curating a festive charcuterie board, or Valentine’s crafts! 

Here are some of my favorites:

Valentine’s day is about love, but not just romantic love. Feel the warmth in these cold winter days by cozying up with those you love most in life, and don’t forget to enjoy every second.  

Mary Shea

Rutgers '23

Mary is a Junior at Rutgers University studying Psychology and Elementary Education. Her passions include education, social justice, feminism, and mental health advocacy.
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