Lately, Valentine’s Day is different from when I was younger. Either one goes all out to celebrate the day or just prays it passes so fast because they cannot stand the sight of all the red, white and black and the accompanying love expressions.
However, therein lies a problem because Valentine’s Day ought to bring joy rather than regret. There should be no big divide in how the day is perceived and no one should be left out.
Lisa Kimani, a counsellor, says we should all make an effort to reach out to another and not wait to only receive. “How about sharing a smile, some kind words, a compliment? When you mean them, these strengthen even the weary heart yet cost nothing,” she says.
Here are some habits you can develop to make Valentine’s Day special for others regardless of their relationship with you.
Embrace the spirit of the day
Granted, the day is extra special for those in romantic relationships but it is not exceptional to them. Kimani says making someone feel they matter will make all the difference. “That said, it will be shown differently to different people for it could be a security guard, neighbour, a co-worker, a waitress, an elderly person down the street or that boda-boda man. If you thanked these with a card, a single flower or chocolate, depending on your relationship with them, then they will have every reason to believe in the power of love again,” she says.
If you are getting that floral package, Shirlene Mwesigwa, a florist, shares a few things you could do differently. Roses are the flowers in season this day. “However, when thinking of giving flowers to friends and acquaintances, getting a different flower type is ideal. You could also mix roses with other flower types when giving a bouquet,” she says.
You could also buy big bouquets of different flower types such as carnations or chrysanthemums and tie a ribbon to form a bow on each stem. “Hand these to friends, workmates and even strangers. It will brighten their day without emptying your pockets,” she adds.
Cards and gifts
In an era of everything digital, Evace Uwimana, who calls herself a hopeless romantic, says a handwritten note, or letter, for that matter will speak volumes. “Reading through and hearing your appreciation for them will bring the point home. A thank you note can also be as appreciative as possible yet non-committal,” she says.
So how about that dating couple that is uncertain about what tomorrow holds, the serious couple that needs to take the next step, the married couple? How do you pick the ideal gift?
Uwimana says getting gifts that are a representation of where you are in your relationship helps the receiving party not to feel pressured or undervalued. Here are some tips to do it right:
Just been to a few dates and are only testing the waters? Uwimana, suggests you get a book or two, a movie ticket to their favourite movies, a gym bag or something to help them with their work, say a tech gadget. “These allow to keep the atmosphere neutral and friendly even as you enjoy that dinner,” she says.
Been on several dates and have known one another for several months hence more comfortable with one another? She suggests a piece of jewellery, a spectacular art piece or tickets to an upcoming event. “These show that you are more acquainted with one another thus know more about one another and you hope to be around rather than simply hitch hiking,” she says.
Married? Then things could be done with mutual agreement because some couples are extravagant while others are minimalists. “Whatever works for you is okay, more so in this time where a lot has changed. Just make sure that whatever is done makes each of you happy and fulfilled,” Uwimana says, adding that mutual consent helps so that even when requirements overtake celebrating, a small dinner as opposed to one in a restaurant will be appreciated.
Special does not mean big and expensive as we often see but sharing it with your loved ones and it is okay to have it at home. Olivia Namukasa, a mother of five, says the presence of children usually means eating in. “Appreciating these allows you to be thankful for the additions as more people to love, which is amazing.” She adds that the love is in filling the place with your best and giving your all in preparing the meals.
Mind the little things:
Dress up better. You can never give what you do not have. So, while you want to make someone feel special, it must start with you. One way to do that is dressing better. Kimani says when you feel good about yourself, the feeling will effortlessly flow to others around you. So, make the effort regardless of your relationship status.
Do not create sadness. Kimani adds that Valentine’s Day is not for breakups or first dates. “We are showing love so it is not time to be cruel or experiment. Do that three days before or after the day for the sake of keeping the joy of the day,” Kimani says.
Do not forget about the children. According to Kimani, this is the time to teach them the beauty of loving and being loved. As such, give them a card, flower, or even a hug. Follow that up with telling them what the day means.