Every Feb. 14, the holiday of love rolls around, whether you like it, love it or despise it. Many people seem to cloud Valentine's Day with cheap Hallmark cards or expensive dinners, claiming the holiday is strictly for romance, which might be the reason those who find themselves single this time of year don't like it.

Whether you're single, in a committed relationship or anything in between, Valentine's Day shouldn't come just once a year.

With all the celebrations of love expressed on the holiday, you have to wonder, why does everyone wait until now to say these things or buy candy for others? It just doesn't make sense! If you truly care about the person you're sharing Valentine's Day with, you should express that care every day.

The task of making every day Valentine's Day may sound daunting -- all those expensive meals and presents will add up, right? -- but it seems Valentine's Day has lost its real meaning over the years. People see it for face value -- commercialized gifts, silly little trinkets and teddy bears that will sit and collect dust, or one night at an overpriced restaurant, feeling out of place because you just don't understand all the fancy terms on the menu. Sure, it's nice to get a gift or have a night out with your significant other or even just your friends, but that night shouldn't end because the date on the calendar changes.

Valentine's Day is all about love, so show it, but do so every day. A simple gesture like giving someone a compliment or writing a short note can really boost his or her day, and it takes a minute or less. Tell others you think about them, care about them, love them and all the other lovely stuff that you pour out on Valentine's Day. If you're just hanging out, play your favorite song (upbeat or slow) and dance to it. It could be a romantic moment or a hilarious display of horrible dancing skills, either way, it's sure to be a moment you won't soon forget.

So what if you're single? Valentine's Day is a useless holiday that turns into just another day, right? Wrong, again. Spend time with your friends and family! Even if your best friend is spending the night with a girlfriend or boyfriend, chances are you know someone in the same boat as you. Take this Valentine's Day as a chance to get to know someone new. And if it just so happens that that best friend of yours is single too, then have a night together or go out with a group of friends. Have a sleepover with a bunch of the girls or guys: watch movies, talk, play some video games, just enjoy being with each other.

Being single on Valentine's Day isn't the end of the world. It may be a disappointment at first, but as long as you spend some quality time with the people you care about, it's almost impossible to not be happy, even if you hate Valentine's Day.

>Don't go broke buying gifts

So that part-time job isn't paying much and you just spent your last paycheck on that album you've been wanting, but wait, oh no, it's Valentine's Day next week! Have no fear, a handy-dandy list is here!

All kidding aside, many teens don't actually have a lot of money to spend on gifts for their friends or significant others. Here's a list of creative, inexpensive ways to give an awesome gift.

*Write a letter. Even though there are many ways to communicate within seconds nowadays, nothing beats an old-fashioned, hand-written letter. Sit down and write whatever comes into your head. Tell people how much they mean to you and reminisce about some good memories. Give them the letter in a sealed envelope on Valentine's Day, or for an added bonus, actually send it in the mail! (It's called snail-mail for a reason, so remember to send it a few days before the holiday!)

*Personalized I.O.U. coupons. Remember that little booklet of coupons that you made when you were little, telling your parents that you'd do chores and help around the house in exchange for the coupon? Same idea. Only now, take those coupons and make them worth more sentimental things like "Good for one shoulder to cry on" or "two tight hugs." You could even get romantic and make one "Good for one kiss in the rain" or "under the stars." Just be creative! Use things that your boyfriend/girlfriend or friends like! For example, if they are a big "Star Wars" fan, make a coupon worth you sitting through a "Star Wars" marathon with them and letting them tell you all about the background and the remakes, especially if you couldn't care less. It means a lot.

*Plan a special night at home. Keep it simple. No need for fancy restaurants or impressively cooked meals (although it's a nice touch). Make a homemade pizza together, even if you buy frozen dough, you still get to have fun doing something that you'll both get to enjoy in the end. Just spend time together. Watch your favorite movie or play video games, things you love to do that are absolutely free.

*Make a mix CD. Take all your favorite songs and put them on a CD! You could even get the theme songs to your favorite shows or movies and throw them on there, too.

*Make a homemade Valentine. Whatever you do, do not buy a cheesy card for a dollar and expect it to mean something, unless of course the picture on the front reminds you of a specific time you shared together. In any case, breaking out the white doilies and heart stickers will make a lasting impression because you actually took the time to make something, even if it looks like a toddler made it without adult supervision.

*Hit the sweet tooth. Candy has always been a staple of Valentine's Day. Whether it's just a simple Hershey's Kiss or you find their favorite candy bar, it's guaranteed a smile and a happy valentine.

*Frame your favorite picture. Find a picture that you love of you with that special someone and frame it. If you can find a simple frame, then buy some letter stickers and spell out "Best Friends" or "Love" or something else cute and applicable to the picture. It shows you actually put some creativity and effort into your gift.

*Write a poem, song or draw a picture. While all of these seem to require some amount of talent, give it your best shot. Your loved ones will love it regardless. Writing a song for someone and playing it for them is probably one of the most memorable gifts and experiences they will ever get. A picture can be a keepsake, and a poem could just simply be fun. Express yourself!

*A jar of smiles. This sounds a little weird without a description so here goes: Take a jar and decorate it. Use paint, stickers, pictures, ribbons, anything you want. Then, take small pieces of paper and write little compliments and things about the person that you like or that you want to tell them. Keep it positive and complimentary and you'll have your valentine smiling every time they take a piece of paper from the jar!

*Just smile. Even if you don't have a special sweetheart or someone in particular to give a gift to, focus on bringing a smile or laughter to everyone you come in contact with on Valentine's Day.


Top 10 songs to get you in the mood for Valentine's Day:

1. "I'll Be" - Edward McCain

2. "Yellow" - Coldplay

3. "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" - Death Cab For Cutie

4. "Your Body Is a Wonderland" - John Mayer

5. "Iris" - Goo Goo Dolls

6. "Dark Blue" - Jack's Mannequin

7. "Chasing Cars" - Snow Patrol

8. "Our Time Now" - Plain White T's

9. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift (above left)

10. "Just The Way You Are" - Bruno Mars (right)


Hannah Gordon is a junior at Immaculata Academy.