Like other people who enjoyed Love Actually, I was once tricked into seeing Valentine’s Day and really hated it. A highly successful yet bitter executive (Jessica Biel) hates the day so much as to throw an anti-Valentine’s party. On the other extreme, a florist finds solace from his broken heart by tossing unsold flowers into the river. It felt so overwrought and unrealistic. Who really cares that much about Valentine’s Day either way?!
For an eco feminist, Valentine’s Day doesn’t exactly feel like the most on-brand of the holidays. It tends to celebrate being in a relationship over being single. It generates a large amount of waste and unnecessary consumerism. I especially feel oppressed when I sense the commercial pressure around Valentine’s Day: the email newsletters advertising gifts, shop windows, the need to find and reserve a romantic restaurant. I always feel happiest when I feel certain of my independence—not when I am fed what I should want. And how can grown women be expected to actually feel romantic because of paper hearts, teddy bears, and tinsel?
Despite all these considerations, I am excited about Valentine’s Day coming up around the corner. This has (almost) nothing to do with the fact that I’ll be spending it with a man friend (more on that later). Ironically, it’s my recent friend trip to Alaska that makes me look upon Valentine’s Day so favorably. My best friend and I chose to go to Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights and exorcise the spirits of bad boys past. In a way, this was the ultimate non-Valentine’s trip. But somewhere between my DIY cryotherapy (standing outside the cabin in a pajama shirt and underwear in -35° F), our cacao ceremony, and journaling, I rediscovered the part of my heart that really wants to give and receive love—to my friends, to myself, and to the world. Holding onto that sense of loving is so important in the world right now.
If we can use Winter Solstice to reflect and gather our energies for the future, why can’t we use Valentine’s Day to tune into our loving energy? The answer is of course, we can.😛
Instead of a cheesy gift or something forcibly “romantic,” try these thoughtful activities to make you feel a bit more in love with your life.
How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in a Chic, Ethical, Feminist Way
Go for a Valentine’s Day fika with your colleagues.
If you’re single, get off work early (or at least on the dot) and go get a spa treatment.
Do a cacao ceremony—alone or with a girl friend.
Also if you’re single, buy yourself flowers, light candles, and take a bath.
Wear a special-occasion outfit that makes you feel irresistible. But make it (sustainable) fash-un! I am loving these dresses from upscale consignment shop The Real Real.
Alexander McQueen dress, $330
Take yourself out to a concert, club, or cocktail bar. I have a blast whenever I go out alone. It is liberating to act exactly the way you want. Even if the night doesn’t go as planned, you don’t feel bad for not showing your friend a good time. It’s more low-stress, high-impact way of having fun.
If you’re partnered, trade what you would like to do with one another instead of a gift. For example, you say, “I want to travel to Patagonia with you.” This could include less PG-13 ideas, too. 🔥
Make dinner at home. But the one who doesn’t normally cook, has to cook.
Go to an art-house cinema. A vintage movie theater or one of those new ones that serve drinks and food. In Portland, where I live, there are indie theaters with recliners and couches!
Invite friends over for a baking party and watch Netflix.
Pink Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake (All Natural Coloring)
So that’s my list, dumplings! As for my actual plans, I’ll be going out to dinner at a vegan restaurant and weaving in some of these other self-care activities throughout the day. Don’t forget to love yourself first, right? 😛
What are you planning on doing?
Photo: Allie Smith via Unsplash; The Real Real