UNT professor offers 10 suggestions for a safe, budget-friendly Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 12, 2021 - 15:31

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Valentine’s Day may look a little different this year, with COVID-19 restrictions, millions facing financial concerns and an arctic blast sweeping across the region.

Sanjukta Pookulangara, a professor in the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, said there are still ways to have a great Valentine’s Day while staying social distanced and keeping things inexpensive. Her expertise includes multi-channel retailing, social media, consumer behavior and slow fashion.

“In the end, it’s all about spending time with your loved ones, humans and animals,” Pookulangara said. “With a majority of us spending so much time working from home, sometimes it becomes hard to switch off, but there are fun, inexpensive activities you can enjoy even from the comfort of your own home to break away from the day-to-day stresses and spend quality time with your loved ones. Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!”

Whether couples are keeping their distance from others or worried about spending a lot, she suggests considering these ideas:

Learn a new skill together – Celebrate Valentine’s Day at home learning a new skill for both of you. An online cooking class can inspire romance (and a delicious dinner) or a virtual dance class can help you both get into rhythm. There are hundreds of options for couples to learn something new together, many of which are free or low-cost.

Plan for the future – Handmade coupon books with activities or experiences to be redeemed at a later date can be the gift that keeps giving throughout the year. If you’re tired of seeing the same four walls, go online and plan a future trip. Pick a location new to both of you and virtually plan where you would go. Use virtual tours to explore museums or cities that you might be interested in. Quite a few museums are offering virtual tours.

Have a date night at home – Make dinner together, pick a new movie, break out the candles and enjoy a no-pressure date night at home. If you’re looking for something new, look online for a date-in-a-box kit at a reasonable price.

Stay local – Go visit the local bookstore, eat a nice, socially distanced meal at a local restaurant and finish it all off with some shopping. Don’t forget your mask!

Get outdoors – Ride your bike or go for a walk, weather permitting. There’s always something new to discover about the city you live in.

Valentine’s bake-off/cook-off – How about friendly competition in the kitchen? In true Great British Bake-off style, have a baking competition for the most creative or delicious Valentine’s dessert. Or, how about your own version of other baking shows such as Chopped with a fun ingredient or maybe even Nailed It.

Have a scavenger hunt – Stuck at home? Create a fun scavenger hunt for your partner or children. It is fun and inexpensive and can often be done using things you already have at home. More importantly, you can plan it entirely indoors, which makes it a great option for a chilly Valentine’s Day. If you want to include friends and family, you can create a virtual scavenger hunt either on your own or using an app such as GooseChase, which has free options.

Recreate your first date – How romantic would it be to recreate your first date? It is a unique and inexpensive way to relive shared memories while creating new ones together. Want the right music? Spotify to the rescue. Food? Order in. If this calls for a picnic, get creative and decorate the backyard or porch.

Start a couple’s bucket list – This is a fun way to look forward to all the things you can do together. Daydream about that city you want to visit, fitness goals you both have or maybe even just the latest show on Netflix you can’t wait to binge. Have fun with this!

Valentine’s Day with your furry friends – Whether you are in a relationship or not, your furry friends are always there for you. How about celebrating your pet by giving them some extra attention this day? Maybe a long walk, extra cuddles or even a special treat.


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