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Guys, it’s 2018. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be corny. So leave that slow jams mixtape in ’03 where it belongs. This year, think about celebrating love by spending quality time with yourself and others who are special to you. Here are seven fun, alternative ways to enjoy February 14 (that still involve chocolate...phew).

 

Wake Up Early to Watch the Sunrise

We’ll Provide the Wake-Up Call

wake up early bedroom Unsplash

Switch up your morning routine by waking up early to catch the sunrise. Find a comfortable spot in your home, snuggle underneath a blanket with a cup of coffee and take in your new perspective solo or with a partner. You’ll find yourself to be happier and more productive by starting your day this way, rather than in bed scrolling through Instagram.

Connect and Communicate IRL

Institute a No Phones Policy (Just for the Day)

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Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to completely shut out all technology. Yes, we really mean all. No televisions, phones, computers, you get the drill. Isn’t that peace and quiet nice? Now that you can actually communicate without the use of emojis, you may learn to appreciate the lack of distraction and find out something totally new about one another.

Focus on a Homemade Dessert

And forget fussing over dinner

Instead of whipping up a four-course meal (that also takes four painful hours of prep), look to your favorite takeout spot for dinner and channel your efforts into the sweet stuff. Something rich and decadent you made yourself checks the “chocolates say I love you” box in a seriously sweet way. And let’s face it, this holiday is all about the desserts, anyway.

Here’s What to Bake:

chocolate sheet cake The Fearless Baker

If You Order Pad Thai, Make a Chocolate “High Ratio” Sheet Cake

High ratio refers to how tender and moist the cake is, and that’s before you use Dove Chocolates to create the whipped ganache on top. This easy-cleanup cake will go down effortlessly after a tasty plate of noodles.

chocolate dipped strawberries dove @dovechocolate/Instagram

If You Order Pizza, Make Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Simple yet foolproof (just like the pizza). To create these at home, melt down a bag of Dove Chocolates, coat the berries, and roll them in whatever topping you prefer (we’re partial to coconut flakes and crushed hazelnuts).

Host Game Night with Friends

Why Should Couples Have All the Fun?

friends game night MATJAZ SLANIC/Getty Images

Whether playing a heated game of charades or anxiously watching someone fuss with the bottom Jenga piece, board games are a great way to loosen up a crowd. This Valentine’s Day invite your closest friends over to partake in some friendly competition. No pity parties here.

Spend Some Time Giving Back

Volunteer Your Time

dog walking header hedgehog94/Getty Images

Valentine’s Day is all about giving someone that warm and mushy feeling inside, right? But who ever said that should be limited to your inner circle? Look to the web to do research and see what kind of organizations are looking for volunteers, and choose something that feels up your alley. Then, instead of spending the evening on your couch examining that box of chocolates like a forensics analyst, go out and give back. It’s the best feeling ever, trust.

Fun Ways to Help:

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Help a Child with Homework

Maybe you’re a stickler for good grammar, or you do a lot of math for a living. Share what comes easily to you with a child who needs a little help after school. Tutoring is usually appreciated across the board, so you can pretty easily work with whatever ages you want.

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Visit an Animal Shelter

Hightail it to a shelter where animals need people to help keep them clean and socialized. And if you’re worried about feeling bad for the animals while you’re there, know that everything you’re doing makes them even more adoptable. It’s a win-win.

lap blankets ~UserGI15633745/Getty Images

Make Lap Blankets for the Elderly

Okay, so for this one, you can still sit on your couch and nom on chocolates. Here’s what you need: Go to a fabric store and pick up a couple pieces of fleece. Lay them on top of each other and cut fringe on all four sides. Tie each top and bottom fringe length together. Then, drop them off at a long-term care facility to keep residents feeling cozy.

Teach Each Other Something New

Now’s the Time to Break Out a Hidden Talent

guitar lessons South_Agency/Getty Images

Envious of your partner’s ability to play the guitar with ease? Perhaps they watch you in awe as you seamlessly weave together a cable-knit sweater. Whatever the case may be, use this day to give your partner a lesson in an area you excel at. This will allow you two to connect on an intellectual level and not just a romantic one. What’s more, it’ll also test your level of patience (just a little forewarning).

Host a Cookie Decorating Contest

Put your piping skills to the test

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Get your besties together for some Valentine’s Day competition…in the form of baking. Here’s how it works: Give everyone a piece of cookie dough that they can shape however they want. Bake them. Once they’ve cooled, let everyone have at it with the decorations. Put all the finished products side by side and number each one. Snap a pic, post it on Instagram, and ask your followers to vote on which one they like the best. By the end of the night, the “Cookie Queen” will be crowned.

Winning Ideas:

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Pretty Pink Lips

All your beauty-loving friends will definitely vote for this pucker. Use a dash of edible glitter and blow your competition out of the water.

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An Emoji

Tell everyone how you really feel. Someone on Instagram is sure to relate.

marbled cookie Unsplash

Marbled

This work of art was practically made to collect “likes.” Swirl around a drop of food coloring on white icing and prepare to collect your winnings.