Is Valentine's Day special, or simply another day of the week? PHS editors and authors share their thoughts on the day, and their most memorable (and not so memorable) celebrations!
Me and my guy don’t usually celebrate Valentine's Day because everything tends to be double the price in our part of the world on that day. But last year we decided to go large and book a meal in the little cafe
at the top of our road. It was a fixed menu, bring your own alcohol and it sounded great... or so we thought until we turned up and the place was closed. Like, bolted shut!
All I had was an email address to contact them. We couldn’t figure it out. Had they cancelled without telling us? With no response we headed home with our bottle of Prosecco, picking up fish and chips on the way... only to discover the next day - from the sweet lady who answered my email - that they had a sister cafe down the road and that’s what I’d booked!!! I felt like such a plonker.
Still fish and chips and prosecco is surprisingly sexy! Who knew?
We never really make a huge deal out of Valentine's Day. Yes, there'll be a card, but we're more likely to order in a takeaway and chill out, watching a film, as opposed to actually doing anything big.
For me personally, Valentine's Day holds a particularly special place in my heart because it was the day, six years ago, that I walked away from teaching and decided to restart my life and career. It's genuinely the best decision I've ever made. It alleviated my anxiety and made space in my life for creativity. I consider it to be the best Valentine's Day present I could ever have given myself.
This year, I think I'm more looking forward to a meeting with my PhD supervisor about my creative writing; we're both getting a bit of a kick out of the fact that our first meeting in a while falls on February 14th, considering the focus of my research which is the romance genre!
Valentine's Day is four days before my birthday. We never go out because we find it too busy and over priced. My partner and I do cards and small presents because I love giving gifts. We often buy each other small things during the year anyway, just because - a book, some chocolates, little luxuries that make life special.
Our best Valentine's Day was a while ago and involved watching Mannequin and Crazy Stupid Love back to back, with a crackling fire and Chinese takeaway. Pure magic!
That being said, we don't wait until Valentine's Day to say how much we love each other. But it is a nice excuse to make more of a fuss if we want to. I believe romance is more about every day kindness than big, once a year gestures. Making pancakes from scratch and eating them until we were stuffed was another fun Valentine's Day, and that's what it's all about really, sharing times with the one you love.
I don't like Valentine's Day or any of the manufactured celebrations (see Mother's Day). My husband is of the same mindset so we treat it as any other day.
I was very happy when the kids outgrew the forced Valentine's Day card exchanges in school.
These designated days irritate me no end. I think it puts unreasonable pressure on people.
Instead of showering me with love on a particular day? Treat me well for a lifetime, and I'll do the same. It takes more than one day a year to make a relationship work.
I've always found it quite unromantic to feel obliged to send cards commemorating the death of a martyr! But seriously, Valentine’s Day usually falls right at the start of half term week so my other half and I are almost always either driving for thirteen hours across France to go skiing, or waking up at 4.30 the next day to catch the ferry. When we eat it tends to be from McDonald's, nothing very conducive to romance there!
We don’t mind though, as getting a week skiing (without the children up until last year) more than makes up for it.
A couple of years ago we had to take a different route than usual. We ended up in Chambery where we found a fantastic Japanese restaurant, so had sushi and teppenyaki with a bottle of wine before crashing for the night. It was the spontaneous nature of that meal, which made the day for us.
My husband proposed to me on Valentine's Day. He walked in around four in the afternoon carrying a dozen roses with heart balloons, dropped to one knee and popped the question. Then he took me to dinner and ring shopping. I love Valentine's Day!
Christy Kate McKenzie
At university we used to have Jack Daniels and chocolate parties for those of us who were single. Couples weren’t banned from coming, but they couldn’t act like they were in love!
My best Valentine's Day gift came after I spent the day listening to a younger colleague complaining that her boyfriend had only given her a single rose, and surely she was worth a whole dozen? That night, hubby cooked me dinner and then cleaned the kitchen. That’s romance, I tell ya!
Most memorable Valentine's Day for other reasons? At one point in my career I worked with a devastatingly handsome Italian doctor who spoke very little English. He surprised us all with a giant box of chocolates with a card on the front which read ‘Happy VD!’ None of us had the heart to tell him that VD was not the abbreviation for Valentine's Day...
My husband and I don't believe in Valentine's Day. It's the commercialism and hype which kills it for us. That said, my husband always buys me a bunch of flowers the day before Valentine's Day, which I find incredibly sweet and it makes them that much more special. Plus, I'm the only person in the office getting them delivered on 13 February! I buy my hubby lotto tickets, in the hope that we'll hit the jackpot so we can retire and spend our life travelling the world together! Sadly, we haven't won...yet.
My friend tells a story of her husband in their first year of marriage, buying a ferociously expensive (talk, over a couple of hundred dollars) bunch of long stemmed, red roses on Valentine's Day. She put them in a vase but they must have been over chilled before being sent because when she came home in the afternoon after work, all the petals had turned black and fallen off. All she was left with was a dozen thorny sticks in a vase!
I think I prefer lotto tickets.
What's your most memorable Valentine's Day? Was it a hit, or a shemozzle? Let us know here or on social media. We'd love to hear about your romantic, or not so romantic experiences!