Love in the Time of COVID:
How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Safely
by Lucy E.M. Black
It’s approaching that time of year when many of us acknowledge the special people in our lives by giving them Valentine’s Day cards, organizing small celebrations, or preparing other small loving gestures. This is yet one more occasion, unfortunately, when it will not necessarily be safe to celebrate as we have done in previous years. I have been thinking about some of the special people in my life and brainstorming ideas on how to mark the day for them. Whether it will be safe to be with them or not, I think that this year especially, it will be important to really make an extra effort. I suspect we all could use positivity and love in our lives after the events of the last year.
The following ideas are just some random suggestions based on the reality that, for many of us, heading to favorite restaurants, theater productions, or romantic weekends away just may not be possible. I hope they prompt your thinking as you endeavor to plan something meaningful for the special people in your life.
For those who are able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone in person, great food options can add so much to the festivities. Start the day with a gourmet breakfast (i.e., sausages, croissants, fresh fruit, or pancakes) maybe even served on a tray in bed. Luxuriate over a chocolate or cheese fondue. Enjoy a charcuterie board together (i.e., cheeses, cold meats, dates, figs, olives, crackers, French stick with olive oil). Spend the day preparing a multi-course meal together, to be eaten on your best china in a candle-lit room. Have an indoor picnic together while relaxing in a part of the house you rarely use. If a special person in your life cannot be with you as a result of health or safety concerns, drive a meal over or have it delivered from their favorite eatery using a food-sharing service, and then “dine together” virtually using social media.
Depending on the weather, and your local pandemic restrictions, you might go for a hike, or go skating, or take a bike ride together. You might prefer a drive in the country, maybe somewhere scenic to watch the sun set. It might be fun to watch a favorite movie together or find a new romantic comedy to watch. Depending on your shared interests, a board game might be pleasant. Light the fireplace or lots of candles. Do you a have a lot of old photographs you could look through together or pictures from a previous vacation? Would a foot rub or a massage be pleasant or maybe a bubble bath? Can you re-enact part of your best date and reminisce about those days when you were falling in love? Put on some favorite music and listen to it together, or sing along, or dance in the kitchen. Again, although clearly second-best, if pandemic restrictions force you to remain apart, try to be creative about how many of these you may be able to do virtually, in some way.
Errands, Chores, Acts of Service:
Whether you are together in close proximity or forced to be farther apart, is there something loving you could do for your special person? A closet that needs sorting, a room or office that’s a disaster? Is there a project that needs attention? Have you been promising to paint a room, or declutter? Are there any truly awful jobs that someone you care for would be relieved by your taking care of? If so, this could be the way to score some major points.
Using your words to write a love letter or a poem (if you’re talented in that way) is always special. You don’t need an expensive store-bought card for the day. Piles of sticky notes with loving messages stuck all over the house could be fun, or simply use whatever comes easily to hand (or computer mouse). It’s the thought you put into the message that will matter. Post something loving on social media as a tribute.
This is not the best time for us to be shopping for gifts. (Besides which, many Silver Sagers likely have more than enough “stuff.”) If a gift is what is needed (and admittedly some of us do love gifts), is there something hand-made that you can construct? Could something like a book, a CD, or a meaningful, small remembrance be ordered online and delivered? Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful.
However you choose to mark Valentine’s Day and whatever obstacles the pandemic has put in your way to do so, consider disconnecting from any distractions so you can focus on your loved ones. Whether in person or on screen, consider ditching the casual clothes we’ve all been wearing and get a little dressed up for the occasion. And in the midst of all that is changing and uncertain, take time to really celebrate the loving relationships in your life.
Photo credit by Laura Ockel (St. Louis Missouri) @viazavier
Lucy E.M. Black studied creative writing at the undergraduate level and later earned an M.A. in nineteenth-century British fiction. She has also studied at the Sage Hill School of Writing, the Humber College School of Writing, and the University of Toronto Creative Writing Programme. Her short story A Hawk in Winter won third prize in the 2014 International Rubery Short Story Competition. Other stories of hers have appeared in Cyphers Magazine, Fast Forward Fiction, Gargoyle Magazine, under the gum tree, the Hawai’i Review, Forge, Temenos Fiction, Romance Magazine, Vintage Script, and The Antigonish Review. The Marzipan Fruit Basket, a debut collection of her short fiction, was released by Inanna Publications in June 2017. Her first novel, Eleanor Courtown, was published by Seraphim Editions in October 2017. She lives with her husband in a small town near Toronto.