Valentine’s Day: Lockdown edition

Excitement builds up each year as the calendar turns to February.

Flowers and chocolates become rare commodities as they fly off grocery store shelves and land in the hands of loved ones. Reservations at restaurants are booked and jewelry that has been hiding in the bottom of the sock drawer comes out to shine.

These are some of the ways many Canadians choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Whether it be sharing a thoughtful note, a love story or a candlelit dinner, these are the customs that come associated with the holiday.

However, with the closures of businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these traditions that couples have been anticipating just aren’t possible.

Some couples who began dating at the beginning of the pandemic aren’t going to be able to have the first Valentine’s Day that most other couples have experienced.

Erica Raley and her partner, Aidan McCulloch, started dating in April 2020 – a month after the pandemic began. They haven’t had the same opportunities as other couples when it comes to date nights. But, they make the most of it and appreciate the time they get to spend together.

Erica Raley (left) and her partner, Aidan McCulloch (right) began dating at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking forward to spending Valentine's Day together at home.

Erica Raley (left) and her partner, Aidan McCulloch (right) began dating at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking forward to spending Valentine's Day together at home. Photo credit: Erica Raley

“I love to cook,“ says McCulloch. “Especially with her, it’s like having my own personal sous-chef in the kitchen.”

After all of the work, he and Raley enjoy the satisfaction of sharing a meal that they made together but, most importantly, they enjoy reminiscing about the fact that they were able to spend quality time together.

As Valentine’s Day draws near, McCulloch has some plans in mind that he hopes will make Raley feel special while giving them the opportunity to do something together.

“I want to buy her a nice bottle of Rosé, cook her a nice meal and maybe get outside and take lots of pictures together,” he says with a big smile and rosy cheeks.

“Yeah, we’ve really been working at getting out more because we know it’s good for our mental health,” says Raley.

Rather than being disappointed, there’s an upside to the current COVID-19 restrictions. This year could be an opportunity for people to save money, to actively spend quality time with their loved one and not have to leave the house.

Here are some fun date night ideas you can do with your loved one this Valentine’s Day, together and virtually.

1. Indoor picnic

This is a great way to experience all of the fun picnics bring, but from your living room.

First step: assemble food. This is where the picnic-goers get to be creative.

Grab an assortment of picnic-esque foods. You can use this as an opportunity to use snacks you have hidden around the house, whether they be sweet or salty. The traditional sandwich, veggies with dip, cheese, crackers and an assortment of nuts are all timeless for any picnic. Pair this with a favourite bubbly and dessert and it’s a date.

All that’s left is to lay out a blanket, spread out the food and enjoy. This is also a very versatile option because it can work for any meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner.

2. Scrapbooking/Collage

This activity can be a great one to do with your partner or even to give as a gift to someone.

All there is to it is gathering supplies and decorating. First, collect items you want to include in your scrapbook or collage. These can be photos, keepsakes from travelling, concert or movie tickets, notes you have exchanged and more.

Then, assort the contents onto a page until you like how it looks, draw some doodles, whatever you feel like. The scrapbook can be assorted by date, by alphabet or by activity, the possibilities are endless and is completely up to the artist.

Once it’s done, date it so you can look back and reminisce, and enjoy that you had the chance to create it together.

3. At-home spa day

Why spend money on a trip to the spa when you can do it from the comfort of your own home?

There are plenty of ways to bring the blissful experience of relaxation into your life while wearing your favourite pyjamas and slippers.

Doing a face mask is super fun, but what’s even better is making your own. That way, you and your partner get to make something together – could be something you do together more often.

Elle Magazine has tons of recipes that use ingredients found in the pantry like turmeric, lemon, honey, yogurt, oats and avocado. Each recipe targets different skin needs. Some examples include masks to ease hyperpigmentation, soothe and calm the skin, hydrate the skin and improve the skin’s texture and tone.

Partners can also trade off giving each other massages with relaxing music playing and a scented candle burning.

Time together is sacred and something the pandemic has given us lots more of. So, set down the wallet and snuggle in tight with an activity that brings you and your loved ones closer.


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