1. Cook dinner together
This is how I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day this year with my boyfriend. We are going to pick a recipe and both cook together while FaceTiming. It’s a fun way to hang out and also do an activity together. If you end up liking the recipe you pick then you can make it again together the next time you see each other. Challenge yourself to cook a fancy dish and consider sharing the delicious product with your roommates.
2. Mail gifts
This idea largely depends on the type of couple you are. My boyfriend and I typically do not exchange gifts very often, but since being long distance for the past two Valentine’s Days, we have exchanged something small. We have done anything from just sending each other cards, to him delivering me flowers via my roommate. The surprise is honestly the best part, and coming home to a special package in the mail or fresh flowers is just so uplifting. Plus it doesn’t have to be expensive.
3. Write letters
Writing letters can be a romantic way to keep in touch with one another and, similar to mailing gifts, receiving mail is always a fun treat. Writing a letter is also a much cheaper alternative than mailing a gift. You can mail letters throughout the year and hold onto them to read them on a certain day together, or you can just keep an ongoing correspondence. Valentine’s Day is just an extra excuse to write a letter to each other.
4. Movie night
Movie nights are one of my favorite date night activities, whether I’m in a long-distance relationship or not. While my boyfriend and I are apart, we will voice call or video call each other and start shows or movies at the same time together so we can both watch the movies and talk about what is happening, similar to if we were together. You could even use the Chrome extension Teleparty to watch a movie on Netflix with your significant other at the same time.
5. Order in
In my opinion, Charlottesville has some of the best take-out. My personal favorite takeout order is pad thai, and there are numerous Thai restaurants such as Monsoon Siam downtown — just a short drive from Grounds. A fun way to hang out on Valentine’s Day would be to order each other takeout and have it delivered to each other. Try to surprise one another with their favorite dish — it could be fun!
6. Visit each other
This is obvious, but arguably the best way to spend Valentine’s Day long-distance is to visit each other. This is hard to do especially because February is a very busy month, but if you can make it work, then Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to take a weekend trip to visit your significant other. Bonus points if you manage to surprise them unexpectedly.
7. Galentines or Palentines
This isn’t necessarily with your significant other, but one good way to still celebrate the holiday. Doing a fun activity with your friends at school is a great way to still have a great time around the day and also gives people without a significant other a chance to celebrate. For our Galentine’s party this year, my roommates and I will be having a charcuterie night with some pink desserts and watching rom-coms.
8. Plan your next visit
A neat thing you can do together on Valentine’s Day that will potentially brighten up the rest of your semester too is to start planning when you will see each other next. Once you set a day, it can give you something to look forward to, even if it is far off. One year my boyfriend and I split the cost of a plane ticket to visit each other as our Valentine’s Day gifts for each other and it worked out great.
9. Virtual game night
Lockdown due to COVID-19 was a rough time, but one thing the pandemic made popular is group online games and other ways to be social virtually. A cute way to spend Valentine’s Day night together could be to play some online games and just have a good time together. It won’t quite be like a game night together, but it is something different than a typical routine phone call or FaceTime. My personal favorite games to play on a date night are question or problem-solving games.
10. Reaffirm your feelings about each other
On Valentine’s Day it is very natural to talk about your feelings, but there are ways to make it special too. My friend does this with her boyfriend every year. They send each other a good morning text and then FaceTime throughout the day like normal, and then at the end of the night, they send each other a long goodnight text and say the things they appreciate about each other and love about one another. It is a really sweet idea I may steal for myself as well.