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Valentines Day Celebrations

By Kathleen McWilliams
On February 12, 2014

Whether you're single and ready to mingle, newly in a relationship or celebrating your eighth Valentine's Day with your partner, there is always an excuse to celebrate this week.
While celebrating a holiday about love can be challenging if you're transitioning from a relationship or just enjoying being single, remember that love isn't just between romantic partners. If you don't have that special someone yet, most of us don't, Valentine's Day can be an excuse to make special plans with friends.
Don't sit around your dorm room commiserating about being alone- gather your friends and head down to Storrs center for a nice meal and a post-dinner trip to Sweet Emotions' candy counter. If eating out isn't on your budget, fire up Netflix and order take out. If each of your friends brings a blanket and pillows you can snuggle up and binges watch "The Office" for hours on end.
For the more ambitious, I suggest hosting a "Galentines Day" or whatever the male equivalent would be. Invented by Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation," "Galentines Day" celebrates those who are always there for you- your girlfriends. Eat a nice meal out, swap homemade gifts and enjoy that long discussion you haven't been able to fit in around midterms. Be crafty and creative with planning. If you and your friends are coffee addicts, head over to Cafémantic in Willimantic for an authentic coffee shop experience. It'll be fun and, more importantly, memorable. If you and you friends are into exercise- take a Bodywise class together and celebrate with a trip to Froyo World for a well-deserved treat.
Valentine's Day can also pose a problem to couples on a budget. While most restaurants in the area cater to the college budget, the added expectations and expenses for gifts can make the evening a financial burden.
It's a bit late for crafting a homemade present at this point, unless eleventh hour crafting is a skill of yours, but a simple, inexpensive present does not have to be completely time consuming. A care package filled with your significant other's favorite foods, candies, a UConn shirt and a memento memorializing your relationship can be a thoughtful and easy gift for a significant other. The Co-Op sells high quality picture frames for under $20 and you can print photos at CVS in Tolland for as little as 49 cents. This gift is inexpensive and will be loved by whoever receives it.
If you're feeling super crafty, get your Elmer's Glue ready and craft a collage of pictures of significant moments in your relationship. You can mount the collage on poster board from the co-op for an inexpensive and wow-worthy gift.
After the gift is taken care of-if you even need a gift, spending time together is a gift in itself-you can easily have a romantic meal on a budget. While dining halls are best to be avoided for a romantic setting, ordering in Indian food from Wing's Express or getting Chinese take out from Chang's Garden can be a delightful meal in a cozy setting. Set up a min-restaurant in your dorm room where you can be free of social pressures and focus on being together. Add some fairy lights into the setting and who needs to go out?
Valentine's Day doesn't need to be a romantic comedy level of extravagant to show your loved ones how much you care. Do what makes you happy on the day of love, but be sure to tell someone who is important to you that you care-it will brighten their day.

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