I won't dispute the charm of romance, whether it's fluttery and fresh or sweetened with age, but no admirer's bouquet of roses can compare to the enduring gift of good friends. Friends offer us laughter, hugs and shoulders to cry on. They are trusty compasses when we're having trouble finding our way. So what better way to celebrate this Valentine's Day than with friends far and wide?
It's not the norm here in the United States but in other countries like Finland and Estonia, Valentine's Day is referred to as "Friend's Day." In Guatemala and in El Salvador, Valentine's Day is known as "Día del Amor y la Amistad," which means "Day of Love and Friendship." These holidays don't leave anyone pining on the sidelines of unrequited love; rather, they encourage everyone to shower appreciation on friends and lovers alike.
In a nutshell, it doesn't matter if you're happily married or crossing your fingers for Cupid's arrow this Valentine's Day, you can guarantee yourself the rush of true love when you dote on your dearest gal pals. And if you're looking for ways to lavish them with affection but prefer to dodge the commercial candy-and-flowers routine, I have a few sweet notions up my sleeve to help you celebrate.
The girlfriend next door » If you're lucky, you have a few good friends nearby (maybe not next door, but at least in the same town). If so, grab 'em and cook up a Valentine's Day plan fit for a lady. Spare no lace, ribbons or organic chocolate. Break out the heart-shaped cookie cutters and pink satin. If you ask me, this holiday has "feminine" written all over it, so why not go with it?