4 Non-Traditional Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

I know, I know, Vaaaaaalentine’s Day. Most people cringe when this extremely commercialized and over-romanticized holiday rolls around every year. You either have someone special to spend it with and scramble for last-minute restaurant reservations, or, you don’t have a partner and are reminded of just how single you really are. Well, never fear—partnered or not, we have four fun alternatives to your traditional Valentine’s Day plans.

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#1 Take A Cue From Finland

In Finland, February 14th isn’t just all about lovers—it’s about celebrating friendships, in all their shapes and forms. In Finnish, Valentine’s Day is called ystävänpäivä, literally “Friend’s Day.” Cards and gifts are given, but events and gatherings are also popular. It’s not uncommon for groups of best friends to get together for brunch or dinner parties—think Sex and the City-style outings and get-togethers. So, whether you’re partnered or not, plan a multi-friend gathering, at your place or out, and share all the love!

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#2 Get Out Of Town

Instead of going out to a themed Valentine’s dinner in your home city, where you’ll inevitably be seated next to a bunch of couples who only go out on Valentine’s day (read: awkward), use this day of love to take a trip. Depending on where you live, maybe the weather has been rainy, snowy and cold for months and it’s time to get out of town anyway. Somehow, being somewhere other than home seems to take the edge off this “holiday”. There are a couple of ways to go about this: Pick your favorite city and research unique things to do on Valentine’s Day (check out Travel + Leisure’s tips), or pick your destination based on the type of accommodations you’ve been fantasizing about. Here’s a list of some of the most romantic Airbnb rentals. Happy travels!

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#3 Go On A Date With Your Girlfriends

Trust me, your boyfriend/husband/partner won’t mind. The last few years have given rise to GALentine’s Day celebrations in place of the typical guy/gal dinner with requisite flowers, chocolate, etc. Because everyone is so busy these days, use this holiday to wrangle your best gal pals and organize a pot luck dinner at home, or pick your favorite restaurant and enjoy a bottle of Champagne among your lovely selves. Galentine’s Day is unofficially celebrated on February 13th, but why not the 14th as well or instead? It’s a great way to take the pressure off you and your partner, and an even better excuse to spend an evening with your girls.

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#4 Movie Night or Ultra Lux Bath

Would you like to ignore Valentine’s Day altogether? Take yourself (and your partner, if you have one) to an independent movie theater. That has charm written all over it! Besides, when was the last time you watched an independent, foreign, subtitled movie? By the time the movie ends, the day will be nearly over, and you’ll only have 364 days before you have to figure it all out again.

Or allow yourself to escape the noise, the getting ready, the which dessert to have. An evening of at-home-spa treatment is designed to soothe and relax. Whether it’s aroma therapy, mud baths or herbal treatments that you enjoy, here are a few recipes to get you started with a luxurious bath hour.

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God speed, dear readers, and may your international day of love—no matter how you choose to celebrate—be filled with friends, fun, and laughter.