Why? Because the holiday is usually rife with pressure. Pressure to find a date, pressure to choose the gift or card that expresses just the right sentiment, pressure to find a perfect night-on-the-town outfit. Maybe you’ve eschewed the holiday all together. Either way, we see Valentine’s Day as just another opportunity to spread more of the good stuff ’round the world, and our suggestions will have you feeling all warm inside, even if you’re not the Hallmark type.
1. Romantic Night In:
If you want to woo someone with your aphrodisiac and compassionate culinary skills, try this menu out:
Valentine’s Day eve is one of the biggest nights for dining out, and many charities know this. Take your date, friends, or yourself out for a great meal that benefits an organization you believe in. Just a cursory glance at Chicago’s charity dining options showed prix fixe (with vegan options) meals that benefit a local animal shelter, a children’s hospital, and a youth violence intervention network. With a little searching, you’re bound to find a meal that fits your dietary needs and passion.
4. Chocolate Is Forever:
We needn’t elaborate on this truth. Give your valentine vegan, fair-trade chocolates that will make everyone happy from Allison’s Gourmet
5. Treat Yo’Self:
Who says that after you’re done spreading the love, you can’t give yourself a little something special? I’m loving the entire Aromi vegan makeup collection (6) (with reds and pinks that are perfect for the holiday or anyway), the eco-friendly Wilby Clutch (3) from the UK, and perfumes from Lurk (2) and Pour Le Monde (11) (which gives back to charity). All vegan, all completely luxe.
6. Hang with Homeless Animals:
Valentine’s Day is often a big puppy-at-the-pet-store-buying day. Show the wonderful companion animals at the shelters that you’re rooting for them by working an adoption event or just spending much-needed time with them. Working an adopt-a-pet and helping animals find their forever homes is not only life-affirming, but is an excellent way to meet fellow compassionistas.
7. Write A Love Note.
Or Three: Are there people who’ve done you a solid? Teachers who’ve inspired you? The maintenance guy who joyfully fixed your heat when it was -13? The bus driver who makes sure you get to and from work safely every day? The neighbor who made you laugh when you were having a terrible day? TELL THEM. Better yet, write them a note of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be a kittens and kisses-type note, just a heartfelt thank you for their contributions. Valentine’s Day so often is reserved as a holiday for lovers, but really, it’s an opportunity to practice gratitude and appreciation, and those feelings keep the love going.
8. Keep the Love Going:
Did you know that February 10 – 16 is Random Acts of Kindness Week? It’s a real thing and wonderful impetus to embrace thoughtful, day-brightening gestures before and beyond V-Day. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Bring flowers to someone just because. Smile at and compliment a stranger. Get your kids involved and ask their ideas for how to brighten someone’s day (they always have the most interesting suggestions) so they learn that you don’t need a special occasion to spread joy. Or, you can donate to an animal saving cause that fights to break new ground in a place where few voices for animals currently exist!
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