(Image: xkcd.com)

I know so many women who get down as Valentine’s Day approaches. Either they anticipate their husbands or significant others will forget or disappointment them, or they dread spending what is perceived as the most romantic day of the year alone. I happen to love Valentine’s Day and I’ve spent many alone either as a young single woman as well as a married 40-something with a husband who is often traveling on Valentine’s Day.

For many, I think one of the issues with this holiday is that the focus is solely on the romantic aspect. The expectation of grand romantic gestures can lead to big let-downs. If your situation is one that I described, try taking the focus off the romance side of things and instead focus on the light-hearted and sweeter aspects.

When my kids were in grade school, I loved to volunteer in their classrooms for Valentine’s Day. It reminded me of my own grade school days and was just so much fun to help them with card making and mailbox decorating.

Like this 2008 women's luncheon hosted by the organization Film Independent, Valentine's Day gatherings can be lively, thought-provoking, and fun.

As my children got older, I began hosting a Valentine’s Day luncheon for friends. Typically, it was for six to eight women. Most were married, most had kids, and a few did not celebrate Valentine’s Day at all. Some had husbands who didn’t feel obligated to participate in a “manufactured” holiday, and some had really thoughtful spouses who remembered things like cards and flowers. Regardless, we came together to share a special meal at a beautifully set table and spent the afternoon enjoying the friendships we had forged. I always had a small gift for each friend. Sometimes it was as simple as a boxed truffle. We all agreed that it was so much fun to embrace this holiday in some form.

I encourage everyone to take a different approach to Valentine’s Day this year. Host a luncheon or coffee get-together. Or make a batch of a favorite confection to share with friends, neighbors or co-workers. It’s the perfect recipe for a happy Valentine’s Day!