As I’m sure you’re aware from the deluge of pink and red and hearts, that happy love-struck day known as Valentine’s Day is near. For some this means a romantic getaway for two, for some this is just another dinner and a movie with nicer clothes, for some this means getting a sitter for the kids for the first time all year, for some this means a night of eating ice cream and crying, and for some this means absolutely nothing other than the fact that it’s a Friday. None of these reactions are right or wrong, and don’t let anybody tell you differently. So why is it called “Valentine’s Day” and not something simple like “Love Day”?
Saint Valentine is the man for whom this sappy holiday has been named, but ironically he both did and did not lead a very romantic life. He lived in a time when society was very lax on relationship rules, polygamy was kind of the norm, but of course the Catholic church didn’t like that one bit. They were pretty convinced that to have any ‘relations’ it should be within the bounds of a marriage, and a marriage was between one man and one woman, period. Unfortunately there was this emperor guy, Claudius, who persecuted the Church at the time, and did not allow people to marry within the church. Well, mister Valentine was like a secret cupid, and for those couples who wanted to be married within the rules of Catholicism, he would marry them.
As these things often go, Valentine was caught and throw in prison, where he was tortured for contradicting the Emperor. But being such a nice guy, he kept helping people even in prison. There are stories of him praying for a man’s blind daughter and healing her, the father was so astonished he converted to Catholicism. Then, in 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution: a beating, stoning, and finally beheading. All because he wanted to unite young couples in love. Under the doctrine of the currently not-in-fashion church beliefs. However, he left his legacy by reportedly writing a letter to that man’s no longer blind daughter before his death, and signed it “from your Valentine” (Source: CBN). It should be noted that some sources argue whether this legend of St. Valentine is based on one or two separate people (Source: Catholic.org). His official feast day is of course, February 14.
For more on the history of Valentine’s Day, see this Huffington Post article, and History.com.
How to survive VDay financially
Now, this year, Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Friday. It also just happens to be President’s Day weekend, meaning the following Monday is a holiday. This is a total jackpot if you want to plan a long weekend with your sweetie. However, it also means that there will be more people traveling, and places which cater to Hallmark holidays such as this are jacking up prices like mad. Hotels, gas stations, restaurants, you name it. Not to mention cards and candy for your kids’ classroom, flowers for the wife, dinner, wine, chocolates, and lingerie, and so much pressure. All this spending just as taxes are around the corner and starting to weigh on your mind. How do you survive this without burning a hole in your wallet?
1. Celebrate on your own terms
Just because some Catholic guy got beheaded in Rome a long time ago doesn’t mean you need to recognize his sainthood with an over-priced steak. Besides, calendars have undergone a few make-overs since then, so our February 14th isn’t even the same. The Wall Street Journal has an article by Brett Arands wherein he calls for a VDay revolution. He makes the splendid point that even by a simple comparison of hotels one week later versus on the big weekend, you can save 25% or more if you simply choose a different day to celebrate. Pick any day you want and shower your sweetie with love. It will probably be even more special, because then you will be the only couple with excessive PDA instead of everyone in the building.
2. Have an at-home date night
Much like a stay-cation, home date nights are a fantastic way to still break your routine and spend quality time together without breaking the bank. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Get cooking or baking, have a movie/Netflix marathon, or play some games together. You could have a nice dinner ready when your special someone gets home from work, like my Male & Female Style Pizza or make my homemade pizza dough from my Vegetarian Pepper Pizza (and top as you wish). Bonus points for making it into a heart shape.
Here are the Top 10 Stay-Home Date Ideas from AskMen, and the Top 50 Date-Night Ideas from Redbook.
3. Get away for cheap
If you are really feeling the cabin fever and want to get out of the house, or take advantage of the extra time off, try getting away but not to your typical hotel. Camping is always a great budget option, and you could look into traveling further south for warmer climates if you’ve been stuck inside during recent snowstorms. House sitting/swapping is also an option if you’re feeling adventurous. Here’s a good article on 10 things you need to know about home swapping from USA Today.
Now that you have tons of ideas, get to planning, or even better plan nothing at all. This totally applies if you’re single too. Take yourself on a date, go see a movie, make something fancy for dinner, have your own personal wine tasting. If you don’t have a “partner” or “significant other”, spend the time to shower yourself with love. After all, if you don’t love yourself then you can’t rightfully love someone else. In fact even if you DO have a partner you should show yourself a little love. No matter what you decide to do, enjoy yourself and anyone else you’re with, make happy memories, and be safe.