Reclaiming Love Day: celebrating Valentine’s Day a different wayChristine Kang
I am going to admit something to you right now: I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. And I’m not saying this because I’m not in a relationship–in fact, I’m in a great marriage of coming on 11 years–I’ve just always been very skeptical of the day. There’s just something about a day set aside forcing people to be romantic that leaves me somewhat cold. It seems like a recipe for disappointment, is what I’m saying. So on Valentine’s Day, my husband and I tend to go out for a meal–usually lunch, because there’s less of an issue in getting a reservation or a babysitter–and that’s it. It’s lovely, it’s intimate, and it’s low-pressure. My kind of day.
However, all that said: I’m a big fan of love. Big. Fan.
I’m also a big fan of teaching kids that kindness always wins–that there are ways to show love to people with whom you’re not romantically involved, or who are unrelated to you, or even who are total strangers to you. So for the past few years, I’ve made a point of celebrating Valentine’s Day in a different way–honouring it as “Love Day –or “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” I make sure at some point during the day to do something nice for someone, someone for whom I might not otherwise have celebrated the day. Sometimes I try to do lots of nice things for people. Most of the time I include my daughter in whatever activities I choose to do, and she loves it–after all, it feels good to share love.
So…are you with me?
Valentine’s Love Day is only about 2 weeks away, so here are my top 10 ideas for how you can show love on that day, and you’ll hardly put yourself out while doing it:
10. Coffee, coffee, coffee. During the day, when you get up to make yourself a cuppa, make one for a coworker, partner, friend. Or pay for the coffee of the person behind you at Starbucks (or coffeehouse of choice). Easy-peasy.
9. Send an unexpected note. Open up your email and type the following:
You’re in my thoughts. I hope you’re well.
Then simply sign your first name. In the “To” line, put the email address of the first person who comes to mind. Click “Send.”
8. Tell someone s/he’s beautiful (or a related feel-good sentiment). Take the nearest scrap of paper or PostIt Note, and write something kind on it. Then leave it somewhere unexpected–under a windshield wiper, in a public bathroom, under a stack of bank deposit slips. Write “you are beautiful” using sidewalk chalk in your neighbourhood. Get inspired by the site You Are Beautiful, and even get yourself a few You Are Beautiful stickers.
7. Buy flowers. While getting groceries, grab a bunch of inexpensive flowers (carnations are usually cheap, and they’ll totally do the trick). Spontaneously give them to someone–the guy at check-out, the receptionist at work, leave them at your neighbour’s front door. Make their day.
6. Rush to open the door for someone. Just because.
5. Talk to the manager. When you receive good service, ask to speak to the manager, and let her know about your awesome experience. You’ll make the person’s day (and the manager’s too–imagine how many complaints they probably deal with!).
4. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Just because.
3. Pay someone younger than you a compliment. Watch them glow.
2. Call your mom. Or dad. Or someone who’s just like a mother or father to you. They’ll love it.
1. Smile. Look directly into someone’s eyes, and just smile. Bonus points if it’s a total stranger.