When we think of Valentine’s Day, we tend to think of two lovers celebrating together. If you aren’t paired at this time, don’t let yourself get left out! Here are 14 great ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day YOUR way.

1. Celebrate with a child!

If you don’t have one, borrow one! Invite your niece over for an afternoon of tea with tiaras and tutus, making Valentines, and reading Valentine’s books. Got a boy in your life? How about some Uno, slap-jack or Pente, video games and a candle-lit dinner with fondue – to keep those hands busy! Nice red catsup is good enough for the sauce!

2. Give a party at a children’s shelter.

The Volunteer Director is trained to help you! Simple refreshments, favors, plan a game, tie-dye t-shirts, crafts, play the piano and sing. It’s the thought and the companionship that count. Games? Play musical chairs, tying big red bows to the front of the chairs. Pin the Lips on Ms. Valentine – draw “her” on posterboard – use moving eyes, false eyelashes and pipe cleaners for hair. Put each kid’s name on a pair of red lips cut out of construction paper with tape on back. Blindfold them with a Valentine scarf and proceed! Valentine Bingo – make bingo cards with February-theme items: groundhogs, Presidents Lincoln and Washington, candy, hearts, doves, lovers, Valentines, etc. Serve “Love Potion” for the beverage (Hawaiian punch would work).

3. Make it a special day for someone in a retirement or nursing home.

Put on that bright red sweater and your Valentine tie, scarf, or suspenders (http://store.yahoo.com/tiebar2/valentineday.html ) and head on over! You will be SO WELCOME. Bring along some homemade Ultimate Killer Cookie of All Time (http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/dessert/cookies/ultcookie.html ). ‘All My Lovin’” and other Valentine’s braces available here: http://www.rainbowconnection.com/index.php/cPath/22_71 .

4. Have friends of all ages over for a Valentine's Party.

Sing love songs, watch a video, make an outrageously beautiful buffet spread. Have everyone bring a grab bag gift. Have a poetry contest. Here’s a list of Romantic songs: http://www.inspirationpoint.com/ipmusic.htm . Buy some new CDs here, very affordable: http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/100.jsp?AID=10277616&PID=1814374 .

Or make it a Romantic Opera Night for special friends and aficionados. German or Italian, make a fitting buffet. Obvious selections would be Wagner’s “Tristran and Isolde,” or Puccini’s “Turandot” or “Madame Butterfly.” If you’re longing for love, you can’t match Isolde, so it gets it all in perspective.

5. Call up your son and daughter-in-law and tell them you're coming for the weekend to take care of the kids so they can go celebrate.

Pack the parents off, and then bake Valentine’s cookies with the kids and have a red dinner – red jello hearts, heart-shaped pasta with tomato sauce or heart-shaped pizza, Hawaiian punch and cinnamon hearts in hot cocoa. “Willie Wonka” video, everyone gets in the big bed with Nana, snuggle-time, dogs included. Woo hoo!

6. Celebrate with your animal companion.

There's no more reliable source of love in our lives. Bake some homemade dog biscuits ( http://www.gurney.co.uk/pads/bone.htm ) . Take your dog for a special outing, and on the way, drop off your treats at the local animal shelter. Or take your animal companion with you to a nursing home or convalescent center. Many facilities are making this opportunity available for their guests. You can deck your dog, cat, ferret or rabbit in a festive Valentine scarf - http://www.pet-bandanas.com/valentines-bandanas.htm - for the occasion. Valentine’s sweaters, vests, ties, bows, boas! And anything else you need for your little furry friend - http://www.cosettescloset.com/valwear.html .

7. Enjoy the day helping others.

A local place of worship might be building a house for Habitat or going Valentine caroling at a housing project. If not, why not? If not you, who? Organize something with your civic group, singles group or Sunday School class. If the New York Giants can do it, so can you. They visited patients in Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian on Valentine's Day.

8. Book a Valentine cruise on the Costa cruise line and dance the nights away.

Be a gentleman host, or dance with one! Gentlemen dance hosts "work" from 8 pm to 1 am every night, visiting with and dancing with women cruise guests. Great vacation for singles! Gentleman, don’t forget your red cummerbund and bowtie (http://store.yahoo.com/tiebar2/solcolcumbow.html ).

9. Girls’ Day Valentine Brunch.

Go for massages first (try one of those chains w/ a first-time special), then congregate at your house for brunch. Make pancakes and fried eggs shaped like hearts, serve with strawberry or raspberry syrup, fresh strawberries, some nice crisp bacon, strawberry daiquiris and nice hot tea. Yum! Set a terminally romantic buffet table and fill the DR ceiling with pink and/or red helium balloons. Play some Andrea Bocelli in the background. We recommend the “Romanza” CD. Bravo!

10. Check for special events in your town, or get away for the weekend. Bath House Center in Dallas, Texas, has an annual February exhibit called "El Corazon," – interpretations of the human heat by 50 Texas artists. The Detroit Symphony has Chris Botti Valentine, the heart-topping trumpet player who opened for Sting’s “Sacred Love” tour. He performs selections from his hit recording When I Fall In Love. (http://www.detroitsymphony.com/main.taf?erube_fh=dso&dso.submit.viewHome... ). The Plano (Tx.) Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Letterman ("Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," and "Put Your Head on My Shoulder”) . Their style is humorous and interactive. Optional dinner prior, and reception following. At the Chicago Lyric Opera? Rigoletto, with Bella Figlia dell’Amore … what could be better?

11. Try something zany. The Embassy Suites, Richmond, Va. offers the King’s Dominion Package – 2-room suite, breakfast, reception, indoor pool and Jacuzzi and 2 adult tickets to go ride that roller coaster! There’s more than one way to ‘lose your heart’ on Valentine’s Day.

Or check out the Winter-storm adventure Ancient Cedars Spa, Vancouver Island at the Wickannish Inn, situated on a rocky promontory at the gateway to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (http://www.wickinn.com/Frames/HPfrm.htm ). Watch 20’ waves pounding the coast from your room with ocean view, deep soaker tub, fireplace, spa, and epicurean dining. Slickers provided. Bring along some friends, your pet, and/or a good book!

12. Feed your heart and your love of learning! Curl up with a good book. Read a super sappy and sentimental romance, or read about love itself. “A General Theory of Love” is written by three doctors, one of whom writes like a poet ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375709223/susandunnmome-20 ).

There are so many ways to make this a special time. Love yourself and make it a great holiday!

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, MA, Professional Life Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc. Individual coaching, EQ programs for businesses, EQ and health coach certification, ebooks, and nutraceuticals, http://susandunn.myarbonne.com for total health and balanced living. Enhance your MLM by becoming a certified coach. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE eZine. Join Club Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music and get some romantic classics – www.susandunn.cc/vivoperlei.htm