If you procrastinated on your Valentine’s Day plans this year but still want to avoid stereotypical sentimental schtick, there’s no need to panic. Here’s a list of last-minute ideas that will let you avoid feeling too mushy.
1. Throw a party: There’s no hard and fast rule against involving your friends in your V-Day celebration—just make sure your significant other is OK with it first. And if your relationship is somewhat new, this is a fun and easy way to take some of the pressure off. If you’re not much for party planning, just hang up a few tacky decorations, tell your guests to BYOB and let the good times roll. This one works if you’re single too, of course.
2. Organize Galentine’s Day: Popularized by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day gives women a chance to celebrate all the lovely ladies in their lives. It transforms a day of appreciation for romantic love into one for friendship. While the Parks and Rec crew traditionally observes the unofficial holiday on Feb. 13, Leslie would likely approve of extending the celebration. And although there’s no male version of Galentine’s, men should feel free to use the 14th to pay tribute to their bromances.
3. Volunteer: Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to give back. Pick out a charity with your significant other and plan to spend the day together helping out in whatever way you can. Many charities even host special events or fundraisers organized around V-Day. Whether you choose a soup kitchen, animal shelter or community garden, the experience is sure to make you feel more connected with both your partner and your fellow man.
4. Make breakfast in bed…for dinner: Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, which means that it’s the perfect opportunity for both you and your person to sleep in. Rather than one of you feeling obligated to rise and shine in order to prepare an elaborate meal, make a plan the night before to order delivery whenever both of you wake up. Then simulate the breakfast in bed experience later that night by cooking up brinner (a.k.a breakfast for dinner) together and feasting on it in bed. Besides, who doesn’t love the rebellious feeling that eating pancakes at 8 p.m. gives you?
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5. Create DIY gifts: Instead of blowing your money on expensive flowers and candy that will last a few days at best, agree to give each other homemade presents. Or, even better, craft some things together that you can both enjoy. Check out Pinterest for some DIY ideas that go beyond cliché mixtapes and greeting cards.
6. Plan a theme night: Sappy love poems and cheesy rom-coms exist for a reason, but they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. This year, forget the hearts and roses and center your Valentine’s Day around one of you and your better half’s shared interests. Whether it’s a favorite city, TV show or sports team, try to go all out on the theme for maximum enjoyment. Not to mention that planning the night will be half the fun if it’s something you’re both enthusiastic about.
7. Indulge in an extreme experience: For the thrill-seeking couple, Feb. 14 is the perfect day to live on the edge. Choose from skydiving (Miami Skydiving Center: $349 Valentine’s Day special; Skydive Chicago: gift cards available starting at $25), driving a race car (NASCAR Racing Experience: e-gift cards available for any dollar amount), or hang-gliding (Cloud 9 New York: $180; Cloud 9 Los Angeles: $229). After all, nothing says, “I love you,” like jumping out of a plane together.
8. Nothing: Part of the reason that Valentine’s Day often doesn’t live up to the hype is that people have such high expectations. If you decide beforehand to treat it as just an ordinary day, it’s much more likely to be a relaxing — and non-argument-inducing — experience. Sleep in late. Binge-watch that show you’ve been meaning to check out. Read your favorite trashy magazine. Order in from your favorite takeout spot. Seriously, whatever floats your boat.