Valentine’s Day may be a holiday that takes on many different meanings and forms of celebration, but my favorite thing about it is the simple act of celebrating love regardless of what form it is in. While getting dressed up and spending the evening out with a loved one is something I’ll always enjoy, one of my favorite Valentine’s Days ever was spent volunteering at an animal shelter where they actually held a Valentine’s Day party for the dogs. Myself and a group of staff members and volunteers spent the night decorating the shelter, taking photos, and most importantly, spending time with a group of amazing, and deserving animals who were patiently awaiting their forever homes. We culminated the festivities with a parade around the neighborhood with all the dogs, and it turned out to be such a fun and special experience that I’ll always treasure.
Regardless of what your plans are this year, I believe that there are so many ways we can spread love this Valentine’s Day, big and small, and show compassion for those around us.
Support a Local Business
Many small businesses are still struggling without regular business, and offering extra support around the holidays is a great way to help them out. Ordering flowers for someone this year? Consider ordering direct from your local florist instead of going through a big online retailer. This way you know that you are giving a local business 100% of the profits from your order. The same applies to placing orders at a local restaurant. If you won’t be heading out for your annual Valentine’s day dinner this year but will be ordering take out, placing the order directly with the restaurant ensures that no fees will be taken out from a third party delivery app. Skipping the restaurant all together? Purchase a gift card from one of your favorite local spots for future use. You can even set a date in advance and have floating Valentine’s Day celebration for a later date!
Pay it Forward
On John Krasinski’s holiday episode of “Some Good News” he cited an amazing story about a local Dairy Queen in which 900 customers paid it forward to the person behind them over the course of two days after one man initiated it. This just goes to show how a simple act of kindness not only has the potential to reach hundreds, but the power to ignite the same compassion in others. Next time you find yourself in the drive-through line somewhere, be the first to start the chain.
Send a Gift that Keeps on Giving
For those who may not be able to get out to see family and friends this year, sending a unique gift that arrives each month is a thoughtful way to brighten a loved ones day, and even give them a new project or activity to immerse themselves in. These days, there is a subscription service for everything, so whether the person loves wine, chocolate, cooking, or flowers, consider signing them up so that a special package arrives on their doorstep every month. Below I’ve shared a few of my favorites right now:
Give Back to a Cause in Need
Whether you are able to physically volunteer, contribute a donation, or even simply offer a monetary donation online, there are so many amazing organizations out there. A few of my favorite ways to spread love include sponsoring a wild animal that is in need of rehabilitation before it can be released back into the wild, donating supplies to a local animal animal shelter (many share lists online of what items they need most), volunteering or offering your services at a local women’s shelter, and volunteering with a local youth organization (there are so many great ways to get involved whether it’s offering a few hours of tutoring every week, mentoring a high school student, or assisting with fundraising efforts).
I hope these ideas have offered a bit of inspiration, and that you will consider spreading the love this Valentine’s Day!