Finding creative ideas to celebrate from a distance doesn't have to be hard. (Illustration by Lina Kang, Rhode Island School of Design)

Feb. 14 is either one of the best days of the year, or just another snowy winter day. For those of us lucky to be in love, Valentine’s Day is perhaps the only day when you can shamelessly spoil your loved one with gifts, chocolates, flowers … the whole shebang.

However, Valentine’s Day gets a little bittersweet when you are in a long-distance relationship, left with a poor Facetime connection and a few red heart emojis. But if you aren’t physically together on Feb. 14, it doesn’t mean you can’t show your love and appreciation in various unconventional ways. So, here are a few helpful hacks for when your bae is away on Valentine’s Day.

1. Make an Extra Effort to Stay in Touch

Getting left on read sucks. But on Valentine’s Day, getting left on read from your significant other really makes those chocolate candies bitter. When you can’t physically be with your one and only, try to be present digitally. Make a conscience effort to keep up with each other’s text messages and phone calls.

This might seem obvious, but everyone knows how easy it is to get wrapped up in a show or homework, and just brush off the vibration coming from your pocket. Send updates on how things are going at work and home, and remind them of why you love them at random points throughout the day. Little sporadic love notes will surely melt your lover’s heart (hopefully, along with all the snow on the ground.)

2. You, Yours Truly and Facetime Make the Perfect Dinner Date

Food tastes better when you share it with someone you love … even if you accidentally burn it. Dinner dates are the go-to move for Valentine’s Day, and a couple miles shouldn’t cockblock this tradition.

Set a time and plan a meal that both of you can make. It’s fun to Facetime each other while you’re cooking, and it might even help out the other person if they don’t understand a part of the recipe. Being on Facetime chit-chatting about your day and how much you love each other will hopefully relieve some of the longing that Valentine’s Day brings to long distance couples.

To take this date to the next level, follow your dinner with a movie you can watch together. “The Notebook” and “Titanic” were made for times like these!

3. Overdo the Snail Mail

There’s just something special about handwritten letters that awakens the butterflies in your stomach. Maybe it’s the signature penmanship of your lover or the way they dot their “i’s”; either way, handwritten letters are swoonworthy.

If bae is away this Valentine’s Day, go all out with the letters. Target has a great selection of cards that will surely make anyone smile. In the age where everything is digital, it is so satisfying to receive a pink envelope in the mail to let your boyfriend or girlfriend know that they are always in your mind.

To take an extra step, purchase a gift card to put in the card. Gift certificates, paintball, paint-and-sip nights or even a spa package will really do the trick. All these little details create memories, something to look back at and laugh about.

4. Make a Private Spotify Playlist for Just You Two

Be sure to include all the jams that remind you of them. Throw in that slow dance song they played at your prom or the random pop song you first made out to in their car. Even if you only heard a song once on your morning commute but it gave you heart-eyes emojis, throw it in there.

Music is both a universal and very personal language. By giving such an initiate experience to your S.O., it will feel like you are back to where it all began. Long distance is tough, but if you listen to these sentimental songs together, the miles apart won’t matter. (Bonus points if you organize the songs to spell out a secret message.)

5. Send a Gift of Significance

There are a ton of online services that specialize in delivering Valentine’s Day magic to your doorstep. Flowers, chocolate-covered strawberries and teddy bears are our safe bets for your boo. To make things more sentimental, handmade or personalized gifts are the way to go.

Etsy has some really creative gifts that will scream your S.O’s name. From wooden postcards to a magic light box, love signs and engraved necklaces/bracelets, personalization is a key to making this holiday the best one yet. You can even just think about an inside joke you both share and go from there.

Expensive gifts are great, but the real knock-your-socks-off kind of presents are the ones that are unique, sentimental and straight from your heart to their doorstep.

Overall, being in a long-distance relationship on a day that celebrates love and relationships can pose some emotional woes. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will make the miles apart irrelevant.


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