Ten Ideas for Valentine's Day

Marcia Bosscher

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Several years ago, just a few months after my husband had passed away, I had an unexpectedly delightful Valentine’s Day. That year a grad student couple, good friends of mine and excellent cooks, invited me to have a Valentine’s Day dinner with them. Their invitation transformed the week. Instead of dreading the calendar reminder of the emptiness I would experience, I had the cheer of looking forward to a delicious meal with friends who cared enough to include me in what is often a “couples only” celebration.

The next year, with three single women living in my house, we decided to throw a no-holds-barred supper party. We put out the invitation: “If you don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day, come for dinner. Dress up. We’ll have candles, wine, hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down dinner, and chocolate fondue for dessert.” It helped that Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday. By mid-week, three people had responded. But by Friday, we had twenty-five RSVPs saying, “I’m in!” It was a delightful time.

We would like to encourage any of our readers who might be ambivalent about Valentine’s Day. We polled some of our writers at The Well who have written about being single and asked them what they would suggest for a Valentine’s Day celebration in lieu of a romantic date.

Here are some of their suggestions:

  1. Have a great meal at home with friends — have everyone bring a dish or pitch in and cook together. Our writer suggests plenty of wine as well. Or have good pizza and watch a romantic movie. Her advice — just don’t be alone.
  2. Get together with a friend and go to a special restaurant. Pay for each other’s meal. You get taken out to a special place you might not consider going to otherwise and you get it at half the cost of a couple.
  3. Have a red, pink, and white party — come in red, pink, and/or white, and bring something red, pink, and/or white to share (wine, brownies with red hots, champagne, lasagna . . . it can be a fun spread!)
  4. Spend the evening making truffles. Do your own Internet or cookbook search for exotic recipes, imagine your own flavor combinations, or visit a neighborhood chocolatier to get ideas. This is a fun project to do with others and you go home with a delicious reminder of the evening.
  5. Get together with a few friends and plan a larger party. Send out invitations to a broad group. Make it festive: ask guests to dress up and then provide (with their help if needed) plenty of candles and good food and drink. Consider having appetizers, the main meal, and dessert in different rooms to encourage guests to mingle. For a sit down dinner, be bold and assign seats with creative name cards. Give thanks before your meal — God has placed us in communities and the people around us are his gifts to us.
  6. Get a bunch of girlfriends together for a Valentine’s Day party. Wrap up something you would like to get from a guy in your life and do a White Elephant gift exchange. As our writer says, just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’ve given up on your femininity.
  7. Embrace the joy of the day (adapted for Valentine’s Day from a Christmas post at the fast.pray. blog). Don’t wait for a husband or boyfriend to come along; buy yourself some flowers, scour a resale shop for some vintage jewelry, eat chocolate. Enjoy the traditions of the day now, whatever stage of life you are in.
  8. Make a list of all the ways God and people have loved you. It’s amazing what that exercise in and of itself can do.
  9. Do something for someone else. Invite someone out you expect doesn’t have plans — a recent widow, a divorced mom, single friends. Give a rose or a bouquet to someone who may not receive flowers. Send cards. It’s a great day to celebrate the people we love.
  10. Make time to spend with God. Your to-do list may be a mile long, but carve out time to be alone with the Lord. He longs to refresh and comfort you. Consider Zechariah 3:17, Psalm 45:1-17, or Psalm 23:1-6. Valentine’s Day is about sharing love. Let God share his love with you.

For more from these writers, see fastpray.wordpress.com and articles at The Well, Dear Mentor: Advice for the Single Life, and You Are Not Alone.

A Note to Couples:

For Valentine’s day, you might plan a gathering (small or large) such as those listed in 1, 3, 4, and 5 above and include single folks in your invitation. Nurturing friendships with people who are not married can be a joy to all. This is easier to do in some settings (such as a university-based church) than others, but if you find yourselves as a couple only spending time with other couples, you are missing out on some very interesting people. Ask someone from church to join you and your spouse for lunch after worship. Invite single people in for a movie night. If you have kids, invite singles to spend time with you as a family. Everyone benefits.

Do you have alternative plans for Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear from you!

Marcia Bosscher is an associate of Women in the Academy & Professions.


Perfect!!! Thank you for sharing out of the box ideas for all people to celebrate all different types of love!

Feb 15, 2014 12:17PM by cetwedt

Sounds great . . . all except the wine part. WHY do people keep thinking alcohol is a cool way to celebrate?!! Not saying it's a sin, but with alcoholics in my family, alcohol is THE VERY LAST thing I would want to see or even think about on Valentine's Day. Yuck.

A little sensitivity goes a long way.

Feb 14, 2013 10:45AM by

Then just don't bring alcohol to the gathering. Simple as that! It's not brain science. Maybe you should show some sensitivity the the author of the article.

Jan 12, 2017 3:53PM by Anonymous

Thanks for your comment. I'm so sorry to hear about the alcoholism in your family. We definitely agree that you should use care when offering wine or alcohol to someone. Drinks like this can be beneficial and celebratory for some, but carry difficulties for others. Part of showing love to each other is knowing your friends and family well enough to make discerning choices in this area. Thanks for raising the issue!

Feb 14, 2013 12:53PM by Ann_Boyd

Sharon, Red Supper sounds like an amazing tradition! I think you've rolled up about 6 of these suggestions all into one grand celebration. I love the way it includes all ages and friends and family. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Feb 13, 2013 7:52PM by Marcia_Bosscher

For over 15 years, we've had a family event called Red Supper during the week of Valentine's Day. (I never get enough of family time over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and I got tired of being disappointed by the faux romantic gestures and last-minute bunches of roses from my loving but clueless spouse. I hate roses, actually.)
We include family members and a few single friends, and although our older son is 30, he and his best friend and their wives still make it to Red Supper. We decorate for the day, and serve only red food (lasagna, tomatoes and mozzarella, red velvet cake, strawberries, and a killer punch with cranberry juice and Southern Comfort). We ask guests to wear red and bring a red food item; we keep a basket of red handkerchiefs at hand just in case. At some p[oint, we ask everyone to say something about their "year-in-love." A craft table with hearts and flowers stamps is set up on our porch for the youngest Redsters, and everyone leaves at the end with a hostess gift (like a few chocolate kisses tied a lace kerchief).
Have a Happy Red Supper! (Sharon Carnahan)

Feb 13, 2013 5:43PM by

Thank you, Melanie! Lots of good ideas here from our creative, and loving, writers and readers.

Feb 13, 2013 2:37PM by Marcia_Bosscher

Great article, Marcia! I look forward to sharing it.

Feb 13, 2013 2:22PM by

I love the creative and meaningful ideas listed here. For some more, with a trash-free theme, see my post here: http://mykitchenmyvice.blogspot.com/2012/02/ideas-for-trash-free-valenti...

Feb 13, 2012 12:44PM by Keri M.

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