It's time to rebrand Valentine's Day

I don’t know about you, but Valentine's Day is not usually my cup of tea. I think it can be fixed with an image makeover, though.

Two hands forming a heart shape Photo:

I wouldn’t label myself as anti-Valentine’s Day or anything. I can admire the aesthetic as much as the next girl, but there’s just something about the general gooeyness of it all that makes me walk a bit more cautiously than I normally do. Maybe that’s just because I had to buy my own obnoxiously large teddy bear (shoutout Terri) this year, though—a dent to my bank account and my ego.

I believe that we live in a society that places a lot of pressure on young people—university and college students, especially—to find partners and to find them fast. Too fast, if you ask me.

Thankfully, my family isn’t the type to demand why I’m still single at every gathering. However, with the number of horror stories I’ve heard where this does happen, I wonder if I’m an outlier in a problem that plagues the majority—in which case, Valentine’s Day might seem like a curse to the average young person.

I don’t think that’s fair.

Valentine’s Day is a tough subject for a lot of us because it discounts all the other forms of love that we experience daily and instead places romantic love on a pedestal. I call my mother more than I’ve ever called a boy (and, honestly, my mother listens better than anyone else ever could). I hold my best friend’s hand on the bus, grab a drink with my twin on Thursday nights, and snuggle my cat more than I even think about romance. I don’t think I’m alone in this either.

So, that being said, I think it’s time for Valentine’s Day to get a bit of a rebranding. It’s time we validate all the other forms of love alongside romance. So, let’s gather up all the pink and the sparkles and remove the labels. Valentine’s Day is now about families of all shapes and sizes, the friends who get us through everything and, yes, the romantic couples, but more importantly couples from across the rainbow. No more pressure, no more exclusion.

This year I propose we fully establish Gal-entine’s Day (or Pal-entine’s Day, because we aren’t all gals here) alongside Valentine’s Day. Here are some thoughts on how to celebrate:


Binge all the romcoms you’ve been meaning to watch… again

Look, I’m not one to judge—I watched Leap Year four times last week. I’m telling you, Amy Adams and Matthew Goode infuse that movie with literal magic. And OK, I know I just went on a rampage about how Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romance, but that was a way to say that all love is valid and equally worthy of celebration. If you want to embrace the gooeyness, I won’t get in your way!


Or…skip all the romcoms like your life depends on it and watch Brooklyn 99

Doing a complete 180°, if watching the romcoms is going to make you feel terrible, do not force yourself to watch them. I repeat—do not watch romcoms if they’re going to make you sad. This goes for all Valentine’s Day traditions. It seems obvious but sometimes we torture ourselves when we definitely should not. Self-love is just as important as every other kind of love—if not more so—and I think it’s crucial to take care of yourself on Valentine's Day, even if that means ignoring it completely. I too might be jumping on the sitcom train this year and there’s no shame in that!


Have a painting party

Creativity is an outlet that has been proven to make us feel immensely better. What better way to use Valentine’s Day than to express your love through some cheap acrylics and canvases with your best friends? You can even make a game out of it: try drawing names from a hat and painting how you feel about your person and then gifting it to them. Don’t underestimate the impact that a few hearts and squiggly lines will have on your besties!


Don’t like to paint? Have a slumber party

Honestly, I think this should just be a staple in everyone’s life. There’s something to be said about the miracle that is cozy pj’s, junk food, and laughter. My best friend and I love to bake (well, she loves to bake, and I love to eat raw cake batter and watch) so perhaps try making some over-the-top cookies with pink icing and way too many sprinkles.

Hint: if you don’t like sleepovers, try a games night instead—same idea but you get to go home and sleep in your own bed!


Get ridiculously dressed up and take your bestie—or besties—out for dinner (or brunch!)

I’m declaring it now, again, this year going out isn’t just for couples. Time for some showmanship: bust out the heels, dawn the cherry lip gloss, take three hours to curl your hair. Take up the space you deserve to take up! This is your day too, so might I suggest making that reservation at your favourite place now?


Go old school and make cheesy Valentine’s for your friends

I think there’s somewhat of a theme developing here and it reads a lot like, “embracing the inner child makes us happy.” I know making my Valentine’s Day mailbox at school always gave me joy. I don’t see why we still can’t embrace these simple joys. Make art, buy the Barbie cards, share with your friends. That’s what it’s really all about! And of course, don’t forget to make an extra special one for your mom.


Watch the Olympics

I bet you didn’t expect to see this here, huh? Well, this year Valentine’s Day can also be about your love of sports (and perhaps a dash of unhealthy pride for your country—we always rock the Winter Olympics, after all). It just goes to show that nothing is off limits for your day. You should do what makes you happy!