With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by advertisements that make it seem imperative for us to express our love for friends and family with purchased goods. From staples like flowers and candy to bank-breaking jewelry and five-star restaurant reservations, decades of Valentine’s Day marketing have effectively equated love with flashy gifts and showy displays of affection.
Valentine’s Day as we know it in the United States primarily focuses on romantic love, often downplaying or outright excluding the relationships we have with family and friends. Alternatively, the Valentine’s Day equivalent celebrated in many Latin-American countries is “El Día de Amor y Amistad,” or “The Day of Love and Friendship.” In countries such as Colombia and Bolivia, the focus on both love and friendship encourages the celebration of our relationships with families and friends alongside relationships with significant others.
Here are some ideas for how to celebrate this Valentine’s Day as your own personal day of love and friendship:
Add a personal touch and DIY!
Do-it-yourself gifts can be more personal, thoughtful versions of the types of gifts we see year after year in the “Valentine’s Day” section at the local supermarket. You can show off your creativity by trying out one of these cool card ideas for a loved one, and crafting can also be a fun activity shared with the whole family. Take a trip to your local craft store and surprise your loved ones with personalized, one-of-a-kind gifts straight from the heart.
Friends who eat together stay together.
Whether you are planning on going out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are many local restaurants and cafes that offer delicious food as well as an opportunity to support Arizona’s economy. Planning on whipping up a homemade meal for your loved ones instead of going out? Visit a farmers market near you and pick up some in-season fruits and veggies for a tasty, nutritious meal. For those of us cooking for a significant other: carrots, arugula, asparagus are all currently in-season and considered aphrodisiacs.
Make memories and explore!
Take the day as an opportunity to get out, see Arizona sights and support local businesses. Stroll with a friend or loved one through the Botanical and Japanese Friendship Gardens to soak in some of Arizona’s natural beauty. Pack up a basket and host a picnic in a local park. Check out this list of fun, unique events hosted around the state you can participate in as a duo or family. Get creative, discover new attractions, and create unforgettable Valentine’s Day memories for yourself and your loved ones.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
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