Valentine’s Day is a tricky holiday. Regardless of your relationship status, the annual celebration of love often comprises a potent cocktail of pressure, stress, and possibly even emotional torment.
For single people, the day is often sold as an opportunity to embrace self-love. Cue streams of patronising memes and advertising campaigns glamourising microwave meals for one.
As for those in a relationship, Valentine’s Day becomes all about proving how in love you are with your partner to the rest of the world.
Not only do you have to have the most romantic day ever – think expensive flowers, candlelit baths, and maybe even a love sausage or two – you need to tell other people about it by posting the picture-perfect couple snap on the ‘gram #couplegoals.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that some social media users have expressed their gratitude to the nationwide lockdown for giving them a reason to ignore Valentine’s Day altogether.
But in times of crisis, there’s no doubt that we could all use a bit of romance in our lives.
Plus, with it being lockdown, it provides the perfect opportunity for couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the intimacy of their own homes, arguably the most romantic setting of all.
Whether you’re usually a staunch advocate of the day or not, here are the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in lockdown – or do them another day if you consider yourself a renegade.
Recreate your first date
This is a go-to idea for those in long-term relationships, for whom the spark and chemistry they felt for each other on their first date may feel like a different lifetime.
While you might not be able to return to the exact location where you had your first date, given that the hospitality sector is closed, you can try to recreate the setting at home.
If your first date was at a restaurant or pub, why not see if you can order a takeaway from there? Or perhaps they’re offering meal kits that allow you to cook restaurant-style meals at home?
You could even try and recreate some of the decor in your kitchen by ordering particular tablecloths or plates online that remind you of the ones you had there.
Once you’ve sorted the food and the decor, you can go for that extra level of verisimilitude by wearing the same, or a similar, outfit you wore on your first date, if you can remember what that was.
Try a cocktail making class
If activity dates are your thing, your options will be substantially more limited in lockdown. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t fun things for you to do together from the comfort of your living room.
Why not take an online cocktail making class together? There are countless brands offering Valentine’s Day deals that come with all of the ingredients ready and measured out for you.
This two-hour one includes three different themes cocktails, including one named “The Love Potion”, or you could try this 90-minute class, which offers participants chocolates to pair with their cocktail recipes.
You could also do this virtually in your respective homes if you and your partner live apart.
Go for a long walk somewhere special
It might sound dull but going for a long walk with your partner can be a romantic activity, so long as you plan it right.
For example, if you live close enough, why not revisit the area where your partner grew up, and let them tell you all about the parks where they played as a child and the cafes they used to visit with their parents?
Consider it an opportunity to indulge their nostalgia, and you might learn something new about your partner in the process.
Design a scavenger hunt around the house
It might sound kitsch, but creating a scavenger hunt for your partner around your home is a fun and creative way of reminding one another about all the things you love about them.
An easy way to do it is to simply buy some post-it notes and place them around your house. You could either create a clue system that leads your partner from one post-it note to the next, or you could simply write different things you love about them and time how long it takes them to find every post-it note.
Then your partner can do the same for you, and whoever is fastest gets to choose what you watch on Netflix later.
You could even try writing different questions about yourself on each post-it note and leave rewards by them if your partner gets the answers right. A pandemic-approved version of Mr and Mrs.
Enjoy a bottomless brunch in bed
If Valentine’s Day dinner isn’t your thing, why not try brunch instead?
You can bring your partner brunch in bed, complete with an array of their favourite foods, whether that’s avocado toast or boiled eggs and soldiers.
Then, if you both drink alcohol, you could recreate make your brunch bottomless by providing a bottle of prosecco that you use to top up your respective glasses every time you finish your drink.
Create an at-home cinema
This is a great idea for any cinephiles, who will undoubtedly be missing their weekly trips to the cinema given they’ve been closed for most of the last year.
You can easily buy a projector online and use this to create that large cinema screen at home by either projecting the film onto a white wall or by hanging a sheet on the wall and using that.
Then it’s time to get the snacks in – think classic cinema-style popcorn and confectionary. Or, you could make the most of the fact that you’re at home and not in an actual cinema by indulging in pizza or burgers and chips.
As for the film, why not pick one you watched together in the early days of your relationship?