valentine's day
It's the thought that counts. Source: Spencer Platt/AFP

Every February 14, lovers, friends and family exchange chocolates, flowers and gifts to celebrate the most “romantic” day of the year — Valentine’s Day. It’s a tradition that dates all the way back to ancient Rome. At the end of the fifth century, Roman Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 “St. Valentine’s Day.” Then in the 1300s, this holiday was associated with love and romance. 

Cupid, the charming cherub that’s on most of your Valentine’s Day cards, is derived from the Greek god of love called Eros. He was a handsome immortal man with the power to make people fall in love, then the Romans charged in and decided that Eros was a cute little boy with an arrow, and that has stuck to this day. 


Roses are red, violets are blue, being in quarantine is not so sweet, but I love you. Source: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

This year’s Valentine’s Day is set to be very different for college students. Many are stuck on campus or at home with families. Although Americans spent over US$20 billion on Valentine gifts in 2019, according to the National Retail Foundation, you don’t need to spend crazy amounts of money to celebrate. Below we take a look at some neat ideas that could spruce up your room just in time for this holiday you can share with a loved one, friends and family via Zoom or a dorm buddy:

Clean clean clean

You want this to be romantic, not disgusting — dirty laundry simply won’t do for this day of love. Make the bed — however strange this may be to you — take the trash out, and channel Marie Kondo. The attention should be on you and whoever you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with. The cost of this? Free. Only some effort is necessary.

All flowers are created equal

Roses can be exorbitant on Valentine’s Day, so if you’re lucky to be on a campus with a lot of beautiful flora, why not pick out some? They will still be as gorgeous. Plus, it’s the thought that counts.

Candles for ambience

Lighting is a very effective way to spruce up some love or romance, especially in a dorm. Go soft and low. Use candles to evoke some feelings of intimacy — just make sure you are responsible enough to not burn your dorm, let alone your school down! Play around with mirrors so it reflects the soft light and gives more depth to your room. 

Romantic music

Music can emanate the intimate feelings between you and your partner. Aim for a soft and romantic music playlist (there are many on Spotify — like this one) or curate your own.

Food and drinks fit for Valentine’s Day

It doesn’t have to be fine dining to be great. Amazing microwave meals plated nicely, plus some bubbly or any non-alcoholic drinks, taste just as great when shared with loved ones. Don’t forget dessert!