She Celebrates: Holidays of Love

Do you remember celebrating Valentine’s Day as a child? If your school was anything like mine, you probably decorated shoe boxes with construction paper hearts. You painstakingly picked out valentines based on whatever theme was popular that year, and anxiously awaited the day when you could walk around the classroom and drop a hand-selected note into each schoolmate’s homemade box. It was a day filled with fun and excitement (and LOTS of sugar), and it was something I personally looked forward to as soon as Christmas was over.  

As you grew up, you probably found yourself in one of the following camps when it came to celebrating Valentine’s Day: love it, hate it, or ignore it. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that childlike enthusiasm again? This year, no matter where you camp, I challenge you to take advantage of the opportunity to celebrate love, whatever kind of love that means for you. Love for your partner, love for your family and friends, or love for yourself. If you’re looking for a few ways to celebrate that aren’t dinner and a movie (or the overdone cinematic trope of the single person wallowing at home alone), here are a few doNorth-esque options for you:

1.    Candlelit hike

We’ll always look for an opportunity to escape to the woods and this seems like a pretty good one. How magical does it sound to wind your way through the dark forest, with only luminaries or candles to guide you? Candlelit hikes are popular events that have been popping up all over the Midwest, and they seem like a pretty great way to celebrate with your loved ones or, if you’re going solo, surrounded by people who share your love of the outdoors. If you’re in the Milwaukee area, here's one that’s occurring on February 14. No planned hikes near you? No problem! Pack a thermos with some hot cocoa and grab your flashlight or lantern and blaze your own trail. Remember, safety first! Take the necessary precautions to be outside at night and make sure to tell a buddy where you’re going.  

2.    Cabin-ize your evening

Time at the cabin is one of my personal greatest loves. There’s something about being at the cabin that induces relaxation, serenity, and a little bit of playfulness. If a cabin escape isn’t in the plan or budget, bring the cabin to you! You know that fake crackling fireplace that’s on your TV once a year at Christmas? Pop it in (or stream it on YouTube) to get that moody fireplace feel, Next, put on your woolliest socks and stack up your snuggly-est blankets. Finally, round up some Old Fashioned fixings and a deck of cards and get to feelin’ that cabin cozy in no time. 

3.    Freshen up your fitness

Fitness is an important part of many folks’ daily routine, but it’s also something most of us do solo. We encourage you to buddy up on Valentine’s Day for a new experience that can insert a little fun and spontaneity into your routine. Many barre gyms offer couples classes to encourage men to step outside their comfort zone and try a new type of workout. Not part of a couple? Bring a friend instead! Most gyms offer buddy passes or a first class/session for free. If you’re on varying fitness levels, we recommend looking for a restorative yoga class that is accommodating for all fitness types and offers a holistic self-care experience.

 4.    Do something nice for someone else

There is truly nothing that feels better than doing something nice for someone else. If you’re someone who falls into the “hate it” camp when it comes to Valentine’s Day, or you know someone who shares the feeling, change both of your minds by making it a memorable day instead of a bummer one. Send someone a card, buy your co-worker coffee, smile as you hold the door for the person coming in behind you. No act is too small and it just might turn your (and their!) day around.

While Valentine’s Day may be focused on romantic love, we’re not above breaking the rules this year. In the iconic words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, “love is love is love is love is love” and we think you should sprinkle that sh!t everywhere.

Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day, no matter how you choose to celebrate.

Yours in adventure,