8 Valentine’s Day Ideas That Don’t Make You Want to Walk into the Sea

We promise, these aren't lame

(Photo: Stocksy)
(Photo: Stocksy)

When it comes to divisive holidays, Valentine’s Day has to be a top pick for the most controversial. While the origins around Valentine’s day are a little murky (Saint Valentine is rumoured to have been a priest who performed marriage ceremonies for lovers in secret, a bishop who was beheaded by a Roman Emperor and an imprisoned man who actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement), all legends emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure. But what some believe originally started as a day to commemorate his death has been co-opted by consumerism and turned into a mega-monster of all that is red, pink and chocolate-y. And while some people are entirely here for using February 14 to go all out, showering their loved ones with gifts and public displays of affection…

For others, the holiday—and all the romantic dates and OTT gifts that go along with it—can elicit a pretty different reaction:

And can we really blame them? In the super-industry that Valentine’s Day has become, it can sometimes feel like all originality and IRL sentimentality has left the building. (Seriously, I can’t own another pink stuffed bear and they know me by name at Olive Garden). As FLARE writer Anne Thériault so aptly summarized it: “Somehow ‘love’ has become synonymous with ‘buying your partner an oversized teddy bear that will collect dust in a closet for five years before being donated to Goodwill’ and ‘trying to get a reservation at a nice restaurant, where, in spite of said reservation, you will still have to spend half an hour sitting at the bar waiting for a table, and by the time you’re finally ready to order food you will be embarrassingly tipsy.'” And the pressures of V-Day can feel even worse for those of us who aren’t in a relationship.

But fear not! We’ve rounded up the best Valentine’s Day ideas to ensure that every time you hear “February 14” you won’t respond like someone’s just told you it’s Friday the 13th:

From low-key friend activities to romantic AF date nights, we have Valentine’s Day ideas for any and all situations; whether you’re single, coupled up or somewhere in the middle.

For when you want to keep Valentine’s Day seriously low-key

Maybe you’ve been with your partner for years, or maybe you’re just the kind of couple who’d prefer to stay in rather than deal with freezing temps and long restaurant waits. If you’re looking for a simple Valentine’s Day idea, look no further than your own couch. V-Day is the perfect time to sit back, relax and spend some quality time with your S.O. while doing what you do best: watching trashy films.

Our simple Valentine’s Day date night idea? Throw on some terrible rom-coms (or some so-cheesy-they’re-cute ones, like the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before sequel, coming to Netflix Canada on February 12), pop some popcorn and heckle (or most likely cry) your hearts out. For some added fun, buy some cocktail-or mocktail-making materials (plus some literature, like Free the Tipple: Kickass Cocktails Inspired by Iconic Women, $17 on Amazon) and perfect your mixing skills. Best themed drink wins!

Plus, you could end the night like this

…with the added bonus of falling into your bed (and not a drunken Uber ride) afterwards.

For when your gals (or pals) are the real loves of your life

If Jennifer Lopez’s star-making turn in Hustlers hasn’t already convinced you that pole dancing is a) a serious feat of athleticism and b) something you need to do, then let us convince you—you need to try it. And what better time than on Valentine’s Day with your BFFs?

Both pole dancing and burlesque classes have been popping up across the country over the past few years. From Vancouver Burlesque Co. in its namesake city to Strut Fitness & Dance in Calgary AB (where drop-in pole classes are $26) and workshops from Toronto’s Hot in Heels, there are tons of options for people at every level. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day idea for you and your besties, trust.

A workout, a fun bonding experience *and* the chance to get in touch with your bod and feel sexy AF? We love that for you.

This could—and should—be you:

For the adventurous couples looking for *actually* unique Valentine’s Day ideas

While this unique Valentine’s Day idea might sound like a literal nightmare to some people, for those of us who are truly adventurous at heart—and have a partner who is the same type of bonkers—then we have the perfect date for you. Nothing says “I love you and will do anything with you” like taking an improv or comedy class with your significant other. Comedy clubs like Toronto’s Second City offer drop-in improv classes for as low as $15 (plus, there’s an improv for anxiety drop-in class to accommodate people who may not be as comfortable with putting themselves out there in front of strangers).

For when you want a legit romantic Valentine’s Day

This one is for the romantics at heart. Looking to go all out this V-Day? Here’s a super romantic Valentine’s Day idea: plan a mini-vacay! A romantic getaway can look however you’d like it to, depending on the amount of time you have and your budget. Maybe it’s a weekend away in wine country at a super cute Airbnb, an overnight stay in the great outdoors that includes hiking, or maybe it just means turning off your cell phones and exploring your own city like tourists. The point is to spend time with your S.O.

For the couple who’s still getting to know each other

Coming up with first Valentine’s Day ideas can be hard. You’re trying to really get to know your new partner, while still trying to impress them with your ability to organize the perf date. It’s a tried-and-true date idea but if you’re looking for a way to continue connecting with your new boo, a wine and paint night is the way to go.

You don’t have to be a Picasso to have fun with this date (TBH, it’s probably better if you’re not). Pushing yourselves out of your comfort zone is a great way to bond in a relaxed environment while sipping on some delicious bevvies. (With the added bonus of a built-in memento to take home). Plus, it’s the perf excuse to riff on the iconic Titanic line: “I want you to [paint] me like one of your French girls.”

And added bonus: you can do this anywhere with a little DIY creativity. Trying to save some money this February? Pop out to your local dollar or art supply store and have a wine-and-painting night at home!

For when you want to treat yourself

Because your #1 should always be you! Whether you’re coupled up or loving being single this V-Day, it’s important to put yourself first with the ultimate Valentine’s Day idea for your single self—a relaxing spa day. Is there legitimately anything better than wrapping yourself in a fluffy robe, sitting back with a mimosa (or delish rooibois tea) and being pampered?

Head outside the city to try out the Scandinave spa (found across Canada), visit your local spa or facialist, or just purchase a luxe face mask from your local Sephora and chill at home. The world is your self-care oyster.

Take it from the experts (a.k.a. us):

For when you want to show your FWB some appreciation

Friends with benefit situations can sometimes be complicated, but at the root of the relationship is one key goal: you both want to have fun. That’s what the relationship FWB is meant to be, right? Just two buddies who get along meeting up to ensure the other has a safe and fun sexual experience. So a fun Valentine’s Day date idea only makes sense. While you could keep things in the boudoir, there are other ways to keep it light and friendly outside of it. An escape room, an IRL game where you and the other players have a limited amount of time to decipher clues and puzzles in order to escape from a themed room, isn’t just super fun, but the thrill of the game—and not to mention all that puzzle-solving—is bound to get you revved up for the ~latter~ part of the day. Because nothing’s sexier than watching the person you’re sleeping with use their brain.

And when you want to give Valentine’s Day big F-U to the day altogether

If Valentine’s Day just really isn’t your thing, why not throw up a big middle finger at the day entirely by celebrating something else: Lupercalia. An Ancient Roman festival, Lupercalia was historically held on February 15 and was supposed to banish evil spirits and promote fertility (fun stuff!). The rights included priests cutting strips of goatskin, stripping naked and running counterclockwise around the base of the hill where the cave was located.

During this mad dash, women who were trying to get pregnant would try and get in the priest’s way so they could be playfully hit with goatskin strips to help fertility. Honestly, who doesn’t want to spend the day running around in the nude?

So, go forth friends! And happy love day, however you may (or may not) celebrate it.