Valentines Day Gifts for all of us — even you!

vLife Valentines Day Advice Blog image 2022

Valentines Day gifts: Asking for a friend

Valentines Day is here again, and with it the PRESSURE to find perfect Valentines Day gifts. And, well, frankly to enjoy Valentines Day. (Or is it Valentine’s Day?? Stay tuned till the end for a brief polemic on the use of attributive apostrophes!*)

Fear not. Auntie Erin is here to help, with this, the latest instalment of the vLife blog. I call it “Asking for a Friend”.

Erin Casey, blogger
Auntie Erin is here for you.

So before you start searching for things to do in Halifax for Valentines day, take a moment to heed my — admittedly unsolicited — advice. Let us venture together beyond romantic love, beyond flowers and gifts, beyond Hallmark and the W Network (which, I confess, got me through the holiday season with its predictably comforting plot lines and absolute lack of sexual passion… but I digress). 

Valentines gifts for her, Valentines gifts for him, Valentines gifts for them

Dear Auntie Erin,

Against all odds, I found the person of my dreams during COVID. We met in line while picking up rapid tests at the library and I’m madly in love! In the absence of Valentines events in Halifax — or anywhere — how can I show my special person how I feel? 

Sincerely, Love Under COVID Konditions Y’All

Dear LUCKY,

Well, look at you! You really did find the holy omicron grail, didn’t you, you little dickens? Might I suggest experiential Valentines day gifts, such as a hot stone massage at Urban Retreat Massage Therapy, or a sexy night away at the Maritime Inn and Mainstreet Café in Antigonish? Perhaps your little cabbage would enjoy a gorgeous handcrafted piece from ARJewelry or a beautiful scarf from Lemonade Stand Designs. In any case, I’m sure I speak for ALL of us when I say how incredibly and unbecomingly envious I am of your good fortune! Happy V-Day!

Valentines Day gifts for those special people you’ve been locked up with for two years

Dear Auntie Erin,

I love my family. I do. But enough is enough! What can I do to show I care AND get five minutes to myself?

Yours truly, Hiding In The Closet Helps Each Day

Dear HITCHED,

I hear you, sister. Why not book your Valentines dinner for one RIGHT NOW? It’s a great way to support local restaurants, and with social distancing measures in place you’ll have your own little bubble all to yourself. Okay… done? Good. Now, have I got an amazing idea for you: Beloved Nova Scotia artist Terry Kelly’s Valentines Day concertLet Love Be Your Umbrella — is streaming from February 12th at 6:30pm till midnight Feb 14th. You can register for this family-friendly show right here and all ticket holders are automatically registered to win local prizes. Maybe you can even sneak back to the closet once you’ve distracted everyone with great music and something sweet from Delectable Desserts, Halifax Bread Factory, or The Cake Lady! Don’t forget to take a cupcake with you.

Friends: Probably the people who really deserve Valentines Day gifts

Dear Auntie Erin,

It feels like I haven’t left the house since 1987, and I have so many questions. When IS Valentine’s Day? Do they celebrate Valentines in Canada? If so, what is Valentines Day called in Canada? Also — is Valentines Day for lovers? If I don’t HAVE lovers, will friends do? According to Facebook, I have 457 friends. Must I send them ALL Valentines?

Huh? Constantly On Notice For Unusual Symptoms Every Day

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music
The hills ARE alive.

Dear CONFUSED,

Sweetie, it’s been a long haul. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what normal feels like. Let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start. Valentines Day is Monday, February 14th, 2022. Yes, we STILL celebrate Valentines Day in Canada, and it’s called — yes! — Valentine’s Day!! So you’re on the right track. Good job! And I am a firm believer in telling everyone you love how you feel, every day, not just on V-Day. But first… maybe whittle down that Valentine list to a few, um, favourites? And then consider Halifax local business Valentines Day packages, like amazing Cheerfetti gift boxes, and the Miller’s Gourmet Kettle Corn Valentines gift baskets you can order right here! Customize them for your sweet friends who’ve stood by you through too-tight sweatpants, two-inch roots, and the worst Zoom lighting on earth. They deserve it, just for putting up with you! While you’re at it, order something for yourself. You deserve it, too, for keeping on keeping on.

Love at work

Dear Auntie Erin,

Do we get a day off on Valentine’s Day? 

Lazily, Don’t Wanna Ever Even Bother

Dear DWEEB,

COME ON. No. No, we don’t get the day off. Now go do some professional development or something. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, why not show some love for your LGBTQIA+ colleagues and let Cynthia and her team at Simply Good Form teach you how to build and grow an inclusive workplace? Love is love! Work is work! Now get to it.

Turn that Valentines Day energy into change!

Young Betty White
Isn’t she SO CUTE??

Dear Auntie Erin,

Is it just me, or is the world on effing FIRE?? Climate change, deadly viruses, mental health crises, inequality. And Betty White is DEAD, for godssakes. I have SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE, and the world NEEDs so much love. I don’t even know where to start. I’ve already bought chocolates for my person, jellybeans for my kid, flowers for my mom, made cupcakes for the lunchroom, and sent Barbie Valentines to all my friends. I think I’m knocking it out of the park, but still… something’s missing.

Your friend, Living Our Very Extra Big Unstoppable Goals

Dear LOVEBUG,

What you need is a matchmaker! There are as many opportunities to give back as there are heart emojis in your inbox (because you’re clearly such a love machine). Check out Volunteer Nova Scotia to be matched with all kinds of volunteer gigs. vLife also has plenty of ways for you to make the world a better place. Check out our Not-for-Profit category and connect with great organizations like No Time for That, a registered charity that works with performers and motivational speakers to deliver powerful presentations about bullying prevention, mental health, and youth empowerment. Our Social Enterprise category features Scotian Shores, a local business that removes one pound of trash from Nova Scotia shorelines for every purchase of their locally made jewelry and art, and Teens Now Talk Apparel, which invests proceeds back into community initiatives that focus on addressing poverty, racism, bullying, violence, and stigma. Just promise me one thing: You’ll read the next letter for tips for putting that oxygen mask on your own face, too.

If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Dear Auntie Erin,

I’m having a tough time getting excited about Valentines Day this year. I’m worn out, worn down, and my stretch pants are worn through. I have no spring in my step, and spring itself feels like it’s a COVID-year away. I have what I need, but I’m still… well… sad. And I feel bad about feeling bad. It could be so much worse for me, but I can’t seem to get out of my own way. Help!

Blurgh, Sorry And Guilty

RuPaul as the Queen of Hearts
Queen for day? Yes!

Dear SAG,

Welcome to the club. Feel the feels, but remember that no feeling is permanent. Just because someone has it worse than you doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It’s hard. Radical self-acceptance is the way through this: We are new people, and we are learning about ourselves. It’s even possible this is a good thing! Auntie Erin prescribes self-love. Interpret this any way you want, whether it’s watching Star Trek III: The Search for Spock for the eighth time (I’m not saying I’m doing that personally, or right now), going for long walks, repeating your personal mantra (in my case, “I am right”), re-reading the Twilight series (only a small amount of judgment here), or any any other kind of… ahem… self-love that might strike your fancy. Can I get an amen?

Make Valentines Day 2022 work for you.

Well, my little dears, we come to the end of another vLife blog. Valentines Day can be beautiful, but it can also be prickly, uncomfortable, and confusing. Probably not what Saint Valentine, the patron saint of courtly love (and beekeepers and epilepsy, too, apparently — who knew?) had in mind.

So do your thing. Show love in your own way, to others and to yourself. And to local small business, too.

Love you folks.

xoxoxo

*Attributive apostrophes, as defined by Simon Griffin’s 2015 masterwork, F***ing Apostrophes, are explained here. I have chosen to treat “Valentines” as an attributive noun — or a noun that describes another noun, as in Valentines Day (the day on which we give Valentines) — and not a possessive noun, as in Valentine’s Day (the day belonging to Saint Valentine). This is mostly to meet SEO requirements. If it were up to me, I’d keep the f***ing apostrophe. If you are still reading this, I salute you. You are my people.

Pages 36 and 37 of Fucking Apostrophes, by Simon Griffin

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