Several months ago, Brittany and I sat down to talk about blog content for 2021. We decided that writing a post about celebrating Valentine's Day when your service member was away from home would be fitting for so many military spouses. What we didn't anticipate was that I would be living that life in 2021 and this would be a very applicable article for me. This year my husband will be enduring the suck of Ranger School on February 14th so I will be taking this list to heart. So let's dive in!
1. Channel your inner Leslie Knope and celebrate Galentine's Day! One of the things Brittany and I both love (besides planners) is the show Parks & Recreation. If you haven't seen the show, first, I feel sorry for you because it is comedic gold, and second, the main character Leslie Knope celebrates "Galentine's Day" with her local girl gang every February 13th. So this year, grab your girls for a meal (waffles and whipped cream at JJ's Diner, anyone?), a small gift exchange, and quality girl time. The best part of Galentine's Day is since you don't celebrate on February 14th, your girl friends aren't limited to just those who are single or their spouse is away. You can include EVERYONE and do it every year! One way to make the gifting simple and special is to set a theme and a price point for everyone to bring one gift that fits the requirements. Another great way to do gifts is for each person to bring several small items (the same item) to be divided up into goodie bags. For example, if 4 people were attending, one person could bring 4 face masks, another would bring 4 nail polishes, someone else would bring 4 bags of their favorite snacks, and the last would bring 4 small valued Starbucks cards.
2. Celebrate with Your Little Loves! Ok, I know not everyone has kids, but I will say having kids on Valentine's Day can take the sting away just a bit from having your spouse be geographically separated from you. Since becoming a mom, I have spent half of the Valentine's Days without my husband. Each year we do something special for the kids on Valentine's Day, but on years that Dad is away, I do a little extra. Depending on where you are this year and the COVID restrictions, you could get dressed up and take your littles on a date - mid afternoon probably would work best to avoid dinnertime crowds. You can also celebrate at home with candles, a special home-cooked (or delivered) meal, fancy dessert, and hand made Valentines. Another great idea (and one I'll be utilizing this year since my babies are little) is to have them help make and decorate a special treat. Our son LOVES to help Mama in the kitchen by mixing things and he really enjoys baking special treats. Steer into whatever your children love and then crank it up to 11! It may not be the romantic Valentine's Day you originally envisioned, but it will be one to remember.
2. Go on an Adventure! Just because your service member is away doesn't mean your life stops! Break out your Duty Station Bucket List from your planner (or grab one at our free printable library) and pick something to check off your list! Now, obviously, I wouldn't recommend you pick something your significant other REALLY wants to do, but in our marriage there are things that he wants, things that I want, and things that we want. Pick from your list and go get it!
3. Be Bold and Sexy! This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but book yourself a boudoir photoshoot with a photographer you love and trust as a surprise gift for your honey! Can you imagine their face when you hand them an album full of gorgeous photos of you feeling sexy, confident, and thinking of them?!?! I bet their jaw hits the floor. Another perk of this gift is depending on how long your service member is away, you probably have plenty of time to book the session, have your photographer edit and deliver the images, order your album, and have it delivered.
4. Pick and Plan Your Make Up Date! For us, when my husband misses a significant holiday or family event, we plan a make up date. Usually this date is for when he gets back home, but if we are really on our game we do some before he leaves. We schedule the date and choose one of us to plan the activities (in our house I typically plan all the make up dates and he plans the ones that happen on time). I love being able to celebrate on a non-traditional night because we aren't locked into specific holiday menus at restaurants and it is much easier to find a baby sitter. Pro tip: Offer to watch your friends kids on Valentine's Day if their service member is home and then swap and they keep your kids on your make up date, meaning everyone saves on babysitter costs! The extra time to plan works out great too because I don't feel pressured into finding the perfect date activities on a time crunch. Some of our best dates have been make up dates because you get to go out on a random Tuesday and celebrate with the person you love the most!
No matter the miles between you and your service member this Valentine's Day we hope you find a way to feel the love. I know the holidays can be hard to be apart, even if they're only gone a day or two. If you have experience with making Valentine's Day special when your service member is away, please share them with us! We would love to hear it!