Valentine's DayValentine’s Day didn’t start out as the exclusive domain of lovers. It was originally a Christian holiday created to remember the life and martyrdom of St. Valentine, who was arrested and eventually killed for going against the Roman Empire to perform weddings and minister to Christians. Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage, believing that men who were single were much better soldiers. St. Valentine ignored the emperor and secretly continued to marry young couples until he was arrest and eventually put to death.

It was during the Middle Ages that lovers began exchanging flowers, handmade cards and confectionary treats as a way of expressing their affections for one another. Today, many of those same traditions are visible as lovers send bouquets of flowers and chocolates to one another on Valentine’s Day.

Not Just for Couples

Sure, we think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday for couples; however, it’s also a day to celebrate the many loves and friendships in our lives. From the love we feel for family and friends to our deep appreciation for those who make our lives a little easier, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to say “thank you.” As you prepare to shower your beloved with heartfelt displays of your devotion this February 14th, keep in mind all of those other important people in your life.

 Of course, none of us would be where we are without mom and dad. But in the business of our daily lives, we often forget to tell them how we feel. Sending them a caring note attached to a lovely bouquet of brightly colored blooms is a wonderful way to say you’re thinking of them on Valentine’s Day. Our brothers and sisters have shared in so many of the defining moments of our lives. From graduations and weddings to the birth of our children, they have been there for all of them. Treat your brother to a day at the ballpark for some long-overdue sibling bonding time, or send your sister a box of her favorite chocolates. The ones she won’t splurge on for herself.

Grandmothers always know what to say or do when you need it most. You can tell her how much that meant by delivering a pot filled with the gorgeous violets she enjoys so much, and then share the afternoon reminiscing together.

Like a sibling, best friends cheer you on during your triumphs and lift your spirits when you struggle. Take the time to send her a card expressing how grateful you are for the times she was there to celebrate and support you.

The gift of time is another great way to show someone you care. Many of us know an elderly neighbor who would appreciate a few hours spent visiting over a warm cup of tea. Other ideas include helping your child pick out a thoughtful card for his or her favorite teacher, or leave some baked goodies for your hardworking postal delivery person. So even if you don’t have a special valentine this year, looking beyond the romantic you will find there are lots of other ways to share the spirit of Valentine’s Day.