Valentine’s Day – An LGBT Couple’s Guide to the Most Hetero Holiday Ever

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Let’s face it – there are two kinds of people who love Valentine’s Day:  15 year old girls in love with their first boyfriend and people in a position to make money off flowers, candy, cards and last minute stuffed bears that will get lost behind the bed and covered in dust and dog hair before the end of the week.

I’m not bitter – I’m just honest.

Having said that, there are all kinds of people who actually celebrate the holiday.  Perhaps it’s while rolling their eyes or agreeing that it’s all feeding into the corporate machine and contributing to the commercialization of human emotion … but off they go to buy a card, look for a thoughtful gift or simply make a bit of extra effort to show their partner how much they mean to them.

Over the years, Valentine’s Day may have been promoted as a holiday to spread the love, but when it came to gifts and marketing, heterosexual couples certainly seemed to have cornered the market.   Everywhere you look, gifts and cards are clearly aimed at male/female couples.  While hetero love can be a beautiful thing – what about those of us who don’t fit into that ‘tab A into slot B’ definition of couplehood?

Making Valentine’s Day About LOVE

Recently, a number of companies have stepped up and began offering Valentine’s Day cards and gifts with same sex couples in mind as well as options that simply leave gender out of the equation all together.   This year, greeting card goliath Hallmark marks its third year running a Valentine’s Day ads featuring real life LGBT couples, including Spencer Stout and Dustin Reeser, the gay couple whose Home Depot flash mob proposal went viral a few years ago.  The best thing about those commercials?  They don’t single LGBT couples out – they simply present them alongside a variety of other couples because the message is simple: Love is Love.   The company backs up their campaign with a pretty impressive line of LGBT related cards for couples who want a card that truly speaks to them and reflects their relationship.

Finding a Gift for Your LGBT Partner

Gift giving at Valentine’s Day is usually limited to flowers or that aforementioned little teddy bear you picked up last minute at CVS.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  There have always been plenty of options for couples who want something a bit different and today there are a slew of options for people who truly want to go against the grain.

LGBT couples don’t have to search for “gay Valentine’s Day gifts” for something that features Rainbow Pride flags slapped onto otherwise genderless gifts – they simply look for gifts that go beyond the clichés.  Etsy shops, high-end jewelry stores and even ideas for DIY Valentine’s Day gifts make it (almost) easy to avoid having to deal with cliché options that don’t quite fit.

Celebrate Diversity, Embrace Community and Promote LOVE

Look, here’s the bottom line: Is Valentine’s Day a completely made up holiday designed to make money by essentially extorting couples into demonstrating their love for one another?  Yes.  Even so, a lot of us participate because, at the end of the day, it’s an excuse to show the person you love that you love them.   So bypass any problems there are in finding same-sex, queer, non-binary options by simply bypassing those cliché, cheesy gifts in the first place.

Giving a gift from the heart means you can bypass anything labelled “valentine’s gifts” completely.  Browse around for unique pieces of jewelry, check out Groupon and Living Social deals for local adventures or days out or have a go with something you make yourself.  And the best part about checking out DIY couple-centric craft ideas is that even if the original idea is aimed at a mixed gender couple you can adapt the directions and customize it to make it truly your own.  If you’re not the crafty type, consider online artists who will create custom comic books, voice prints and other pieces of art for you to get creative with the help of true artisans.

This year, approach Valentine’s Day not as a day of pressure to scrounge up a card and find a restaurant that isn’t booked and engaging in surge pricing.  Forget the stuffed bears, the chocolate hearts and good lord don’t even bother going out to eat.  Instead, whip up something together and spend the night in.  Instead of handing over a box of chocolates and a card, give them something meaningful.  Maybe that means giving them the unique piece of jewelry they’ve been wanting since forever, or crafting the perfect couple’s gift or even commissioning a piece of artwork for them.   Whatever you do – simply make it from the heart and you’ll make this Valentine’s Day truly about love without buying into all the pressure, materialization or hype.  Corporate America may have found a million ways to cash in on your affections but it’s easy to cut out the middle man if you just act from the heart and remember the real spirit of Valentine’s Day – Celebrate LOVE.

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