As a general misanthrope, I have spent my Valentine’s Days in many unconventional ways; from LOTR marathons to too many beers with friends and angsty anti-Valentines shows at pubs, I have probably done everything possible to forget this arbitrary groansome holiday even exists, and just enjoy myself. This year, however, I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. While the thought of it still makes me a bit of a scrooge, I am working with elementary aged children, and it is my responsibility to help come up with a whole Valentines Day themed day camp for the kids, whereby I plan to have a blast. As I’ve been trying to think of gleeful activities to participate in with them on this day, I really wish to go against the stupid corporate Hallmarked message of Valentine’s Day they might be used to, and emphasize compassion and doing nice things for others. So, while I will still be rolling my eyes on my spare time this February 14th, I am really for the first time ever trying to find a healthy medium between wrath and glee. Therefore, I am blogging today to try and get a handle on my melancholic attitude, plus share my very own guide to Valentine’s Day survival whether you roam the earth as a solitary badass misanthrope of the night or are an attached Valentine’s Day hater!
1. First of all, if you have any Anti-Valentine’s angst to get out, I would suggest doing so in the form of heart shaped cookies with sassy messages on them. This has been a tradition of mine for the last few years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, I find this is also secretly a way to do nice things for other people, because I always bake way too many cookies to eat by myself, so I end up sharing with my friends so they can eat their feelings too! It’s really a win win situation. Here is a recent blog post with my secret sugar cookie recipe if you don’t have your own!
2. If baking isn’t really your thang, at least eat your feelings in the form of vegan chocolate or something. If you haven’t tried the Go Max Go bars yet, your life is probably incomplete. You probably won’t even realize it until you bite into a vegan Snicker’s bar though (The Joker, they call it). Sjaak’s also has some rad selections, such as “milk chocolate” salted caramels, and cute little boxes of truffles. If you’re in Canada, you may feel compelled to check out Nice Shoes to obtain some of these goodies. In the United States, I love Food Fight Grocery for their rad selections! Also, I don’t know about you guys, but my local organic market stocks tons of Endangered Species chocolate. Their 10% giveback policy makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside while I’m eating dark chocolate and marathoning Woody Allen movies.
3. Now that we have gotten eating our feelings out of our way, we are ready to start being real good people. I’d like to suggest performing an act of compassion. Volunteer for the day, or make a contribution to your favourite animal sanctuary. I’ve been over this before, but why not make an adorable-as-hell llama your Valentine? There’s no reason not to. Also, a couple weeks ago though, I went to see one of my favourite folksy duos Whitehorse, where I learned about an organization Melissa McClelland and friends have recently started up called Ladybird Animal Sanctuary. They are always accepting donations, and I noticed that for only $15 you grab their rad 2013 calendar! Also look to your local nonprofit animal shelters for their wishlists.
4. Do nice things for your pets. If you have any companion animal lovelies and this wasn’t super obvious to you, then you have an even icier heart than I. Every year, Benson is my Valentine, and why wouldn’t he be? He is kind of the cutest ever, and loves me unconditionally asking only for daily walks and nomz in exchange. Therefore, I like to spoil him whenever I can. Below is a photo of Benson receiving a gift, with his “FOR ME?! YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE” face.
No companion animals in your life but considering making the move? Visit a local rescue and fall in love. I can’t think of anything that warms my heart more than the idea of giving a deserving little dude a home.
5. Actually going out on Valentines? Try your best to support awesome local establishments! While it’s very rare that I come across a totally vegetarian establishment in my city, I have a mental list of great independently owned restaurants that take my values seriously and are always willing to take time to create animal free dishes! Plus, creating demand for awesome vegan food encourages restaurants to keep these items on their menu (or add more, in some cases), so you are doing your part to create and sustain local vegan options for yourself and others!
6. Choosing to stay in?! If this were me, I would gather some of my favourite films, and even throw in a few documentaries. If I want to not think about arbitrary Hallmark holidays, I usually go for things that are generally unromantic (see: From Dusk Til Dawn, Reservoir Dogs, Coffee and Cigarettes), way too cute to actually exist or super awkward(Moonrise Kingdom, Freaks and Geeks marathons), or educational. Recently I watched Vegucated and actually quite enjoyed it. Forks Over Knives is also weirdly a comfort movie for me.
7. At the very end of the day, do something super chill and take care of yourself. For me, this probably includes reading some quality non-fiction in long bath full of my favourite LUSH products, and drinking some chamomile tea (or maybe a real hopsy microbrew) before bed. I would also probably listen to lots of Iron and Wine, but I guess you don’t have to.
There we have it. A fine balance between self-indulgence, voluntary solitary confinement, and compassion for other living beings! No matter where you are and what you are up to, I hope you all have a lovely February 14th and eat some chocolate and do nice things for yourselves and others. ❤