What Does The Future Hold for Valentine’s Day?

It’s February, and I know the drill: candy aisles filled with heart-shaped boxes, jewelry ads bombarding my web feeds with Valentine’s Day.

For what initially started as a brutal Roman holiday, Valentine’s Day has become a capitalist wet dream. According to Hallmark, over 151 million cards are sold annually. Which is funny to me, since I’ve bought Valentines (think the pack of 32 that come with stickers and candy sometimes) but never an actual card.

I’ve always been single for V-Day. I’m in good company; as of 2014, Gallup says that 60% of people ages 18-29 have never been married. Another survey says that 58% of millenials view V-Day as overrated.

With student loan debt through the roof, and plenty of millenials living paycheck to paycheck, lots of us don’t have the means to splurge on gifts. So, how will a holiday that thrives on compulsory gift giving and flower buying bode for a decidedly anti-capitalist generation? Well, I have some ideas. Picture this: it’s 2118 and Valentine’s Day means…

Including lovers of all varieties (not just romantic ones)

valentine's day future millennials

The Spice Girls said it best: “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” Except in this case, lovers can take a backseat.

Over the past few years, self-care has become a buzzword, a movement, and a market all at once. So yes, self-love, but this also means not placing as much importance in romantic relationships, and whether or not you’re a part of one.

With phenomena like “Galentine’s Day” taking off, millenials are over this couples-only world. More adult are single folks. More women are growing comfortable in living perfectly stable, fulfilled lives without a romantic partner. I’ve always liked the idea of a Valentine’s Day that uplifts all the people we love, not just the ones we’re romantically intimate with.

In 2118, Marketers realize that unabashed singles are an untapped market. If you try to sell me something on a couple’s pretense, I’m not interested. But in the name of self-care? Take my money, why don’t you!

Advertisers Switch Up Their Tactics

Not too many people genuinely enjoy ads, but I prefer to avoid them altogether. I hit the “skip ad” button on YouTube so quickly. If that’s not an option, I mute them. The case is even more extreme for younger millennials; Generation Z is the most difficult audience to market to yet.

Not only are younger generations less tolerant of commercials, but also the most sexually varied generation. This is a problem when V-Day largely caters to straight couples.

We are the most queer generation ever. We also have an awareness of different intersections of identity (racial, ethnic, sexual) that’s unprecedented. It’s simply not realistic for all marketing toward us to be a white man and a white woman kissing. Evolve or die, as they say, and I imagine V-Day evolving.

Since Millennials value authenticity above else, I  picture more folks getting their Valentine’s paraphernalia from places like Depop and Etsy, rather than big box stores. Or, V-Day cards in the Hallmark aisle with a bunch of different categories (women loving men, women loving women, men loving men, nonbinary, asexual). Instead of e-cards, think meme cards.

Overall,  I imagine a more underground V-Day celebration. Which brings me to…

Renegade Holidays Will Pop Up

future of Valentine's Day for millennials

We’ve seen this happening with the reclaiming of Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s day. For we non-Christmas celebrating folk, there’s Festivus. As a generation that’s already combating gender and sexuality norms, and all other norms,  it would make sense for many millennials to flat out reject V-Day with our own alternative holiday.

We already have that in Galentine’s Day. Some places are ahead of the curve: in Finland, February 14 is National Friendship Day.

In 2118, I forecast celebrations like “Asexual Awareness Day”, “International Vibrator Day” or “International Singles Day,” many of which, incidentally, already exist, taking over. Because commercialism is boring and the internet is a wildly imaginative place.

I’m no psychic, so I may be off target. What I do know is that the existing Valentine’s Day model (dates, heart-shaped chocolates, nice jewelry) isn’t very old at all. Millennials aren’t your mother’s generation. And getting a stale box of Russell Stover’s chocolates is something I can do for myself, thank you.

V-Day 2118 may still have the big box store vestiges of white, pink and red. But before long,  the holiday will largely be in the hands of the independent retailers. No matter what V-day looks like in future, some things won’t change. There will always be folks who, like me, celebrate the holiday on their own accord by eating heart-shaped pizza and watching raunchy comedies.

Read more of our Valentine’s Day coverage like: Valentine’s Day Is Great, But Here Are My Favorite Ways to Show Love All Year Round or The Best Unconventional Date Movies For Your Valentine’s Day.

15 Ways to Throw an Epic Galentine’s Day

The unofficial February 13th holiday Galentine’s Day has become a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your squad.

When I first saw the Parks and Recreation episode where Leslie Knope invites her girl squad out for a Galentine’s Day breakfast, I was intrigued by the idea. In the nearly decade old (!!) episode, Amy Poehler’s iconic character says, “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

Here are 15 fun ways to throw an epic Galentine’s Day with your ladies.

1. Go axe throwing.

All the rage lately, axe throwing is a great way to unleash your inner badass. There are multiple locations around the country. While our moms threw darts in bars, we get to throw small axes into a dartboard. This one is especially fun to take newly single friends to.

axe throwing

2. Take a Pound class.

If you’re still wondering what class Chrissy Metz’s character Kate takes in This is Us, it’s called Pound. Using drumsticks, class members can rock out to music and sculpt their arms into Michelle Obama-worthy oblivion.

3. Attend a concert.

There’s nothing more fun and spontaneous than going to a live show. Websites like Jambase.com and Songkick.com are great ways to look up concerts in your area.

4. Throw an epic Grease-style slumber party.

Invite your friends over to sleep over like you did in junior high. Encourage them to bring fun Grease-style oversized Oxford shirts a la Rizzo or fun lingerie like Frenchie.

5. Channel Parks and Rec’s Tom and Donna and have a “treat yo self” day.

Ever since Parks and Recreation’s ultimate duo went on their “treat yo self” day, it’s been fun to celebrate with a day of excess. Grab your ladies and head to the mall for a day of shopping. Self-love is so important, so don’t be afraid to spend a bit of cash on yourself—you deserve it!

6. Host a potluck with foods you haven’t tried before.

Use Galentine’s Day to ask friends to bring over their favorite dish. Grab some wine and enjoy a night of catching up over new dishes.

friends pot luck

7. Meet up at your favorite bar and play the Galentine’s Day Drinking Game.

It’s true—Buzzfeed created a drinking game involving the honorary holiday! Head to your favorite bar and bring a printout of the game to play while you’re sipping your favorite cocktails.

8. Go on an impromptu road trip.

I used to love taking a road trip to Virginia to a Taco Bell my friends and I loved in college. Even if it’s just a simple trip to get takeout, spend Galentine’s Day with your ladies on a spur-of-the-moment road trip.

9. Get fellow pet “moms” together for a photo shoot.

Organize an afternoon with your friends who are pet owners and use a camera to have a photo shoot with everyone’s furry friends.

10. Go old school with a crafting day.

Remember the days when you used to make friendship bracelets at recess? How about the handmade Valentines you used to create? Channel your inner elementary school kid and have a crafting day with your besties in honor of the day celebrating all things love.

Woman making jewelry at home

11. Give back like Leslie Knope and volunteer.

Get your friends together for a day of volunteering. Pick up trash at your local park, work with kids or spend the day serving a meal at a homeless shelter. Whatever you do, make like Leslie Knope and be kind to others—spread love, it is Valentine’s Day after all!

12. Do a Secret Santa style gift exchange, Galentine’s style.

This time of year, stores like Target and Jo Ann Fabrics are teeming with adorable Valentine’s Day trinkets. Do a Secret Santa/Snowflake style gift exchange with your ladies and make it a small $10-$20 limit. Get ready to ooo and aww at cute mugs, necklaces, wall hangings and more.

13. Visit a nearby winery.

Celebrate Galentine’s Day this year at a local winery. If there aren’t any near you, plan a quick weekend getaway to one with your bffs.

14. Binge watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Invite your girls to come over in their most comfortable sweats for a day of binge watching a show that celebrates women in a big way.

15. Head to a drag brunch.

Going to a drag brunch is something I’ve always wanted to do but never have had the chance to yet. Grab your group and head to your city’s nearest drag brunch for a seriously fun Galentine’s Day.

Throw an epic Galentine’s Day with these 15 fun ideas.