The Actual Origins of Valentines Day are not so lovely or romantic. Valentine’s Day, February 14th, is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. There are several different versions of how and why Valentine’s Day started, and none of them are particularly romantic. Maybe St. Valentine was really a cat? Who knows? But one legend suggests that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome who was killed after he performed marriages in defiance of Emperor Claudius II ban on marriage for young men. Other legends have Valentine being killed for helping Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. One legend is that Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that an imprisoned Mr. Valentine wrote a love letter to a young woman before he died, signed: “From your Valentine.” Whatever the actual truth of the Valentine story, he became a rock star of the Middle Ages, one of the most popular saints in England and France. In Great Britain, by the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes on February 14th. Americans started following Valentine’s Day tradition in the early 1700s and in the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America. Ever since, Valentines Day has been lovely, or loathesome, depending upon how you view it. But even if you’re not romantically tied to someone today, there are plenty of ways to be romantic, Here are some quick and easy ways to enhance romance, whether you are with someone, or not. Do you have favorite ways to enhance romance? Please add add your own suggestions in the COMMENTS section!
Light up your life! Candles, scented or not, are a calming but also seductive way to relax and enjoy the end of the day. The soft, flickering light makes any room romantic. Try tall tapers on your dinner table to add a special touch to any meal, even if you are dining alone. If you have little ones or pets around, the battery operated faux votives are fabulous, and look almost like the real thing. You’d be amazed how even a little candle can make you feel calm and pampered. Try it!
Dress for love and romance! Wearing your bathrobe or sweat pants around the house is bound to depress you. This is particularly true if you work at home, or you are currently unemployed. Dress in clothes that make you look and feel empowered, instead of what you’d wear if you were lying around like an invalid! Putting on real clothes makes you feel more like being ready for fun. And ypi’ll be ready to roll if you get a last-minute offer that changes your plans to hang out at home. Red is the color of love. In fact, it’s been proven that the color red makes hearts beat faster. Wear something red today, and get noticed!
Clean Up: Does your house look like a disaster area you never fix or clean because “no one ever visits me anyway?” If you feel too ashamed to ask someone over, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. You might not be able to turn a pigsty into a palace overnight, but make a resolution to start, today. Until you can paint, fix or replace ugly furniture, throw a pretty sheet or blanket over it. A ripped, dirty, smelly “man couch” with sunken pillows is no place to enhance romance! Who wants to hold hands and be romantic on that?! At least replace the smelly pillows your pet chewed, with new ones that are welcoming and comfortable. And, speaking of pets, use a link roller if you’re having company. Pet hair stuck to your …well…everywhere, can be a real romance-killer. And don’t forget your bathroom. It’s not just a place to read the paper and do your business. Replace your threadbare linens with the best ones you can afford, in cheerful colors. Add a luxurious air freshener. And, for the record, even just one new, thick, luxurious towel will make you feel sensuous and decadent every day.
If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On. This is one of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare because music really does have magical charms. Even Plato said so a very long time ago. There’s nothing less romantic than hearing the your neighbors, kids, dogs and babies, and other invasive noise. Worse still, is dull, deadly silence. So add some romantic background music. You have your own favorites, but if you are really stumped on what works to change a mood, try a classic crooner to sing you to a happier place. Barry White, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra are some. Maybe it’s Lady GaGa that gets you going, but classical music will move you in ways you can’t imagine! Liszt, Chopin, Vivaldi…they will make you feel better in minutes. Even the Beatles or Celine Dion enhance romance! Put on your favorites and play them often.
Find Flowers: Flowers are the ultimate romantic touch that make you feel loved. No wonder they are the #1 gift on Valentines Day. Don’t wait for someone to buy you flowers to enjoy the romantic touch they bring. Just a single, beautiful rose, or an inexpensive bouquet romances a room. Tie a ribbon around the vase for an ultra-romantic touch. If you have a garden, clip a few blooms and feel their magic, immediately. I never realized this, but men really like getting flowers, too. So send some to the special men in your life, today.
Write Your Own Love Story – Keep a personal journal: This is a day to write, whether it is all about you in a journal, or a special note to someone else to let that person know you are thinking of them. If you are dating or on a date today, write down everything that happened on the date. Some day you may have the basics for a best, seller! You can get a lot more information about how writing can help you find a lasting love, in the Advice Sisters Book Recruiting Love: Using the Business Skills You Have To Find The Love You Want.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry! Within moderation, food, wine and celebration is romantic and fun. Don’t wait for “company“ to treat yourself to something delicious! The way to everyone’s heart is through a great meal. A good meal for one is a treat to give to yourself. Set a nice table, even if you’re dining solo. It makes the food look and taste better. Treat yourself to a great beer or a nice wine. If you’re not going to finish the bottle (and I’m not suggesting you should drink that much, by yourself), get a wine stopper. They’re cheap, and effective, allowing you to savor the wine a few extra days. Get some inexpensive but appropriate glasses for your wine or beer. Drinking out of the bottle or in paper cups or old juice glasses cheapens the experience, even if the beverage in it is expensive! If you do feel like having company, you don’t have to wait for a holiday or other occasion. A casual “TGIF” get-together, or a Sunday Brunch is a nice was to order up a little helping of romance for everyone. Dim the lights, fluff the couch pillows, put on some romantic music, serve wine, juice and cheese, and ask everyone to “dress up” even if it’s just “the gang.” It gives everyone something to look forward to and makes an otherwise ordinary week, special.
Don’t Let the Day Bring You Down: If you find yourself alone, or without a special love on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, don’t despair. You don’t need to celebrate Valentines Day at all. There are plenty of other ways to turn a frown into a smile. Just remember: it’s 24 hours and then it’s over. Read The Advice Sisters Top Tips To Handle the Holidays, Single or Not
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