Besides the usual romantic dinner, there are many ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, which has evolved into a secular holiday from its origins in the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Valentine. Try these neat ideas to spread the love:
• Wake up a little bit early to make breakfast for your family. If you never get to eat dinner together, try to sit at the table together for at least a few minutes for breakfast. Honestly, nothing is easier than buying a can of cinnamon rolls. Set them out evenly on a pan, and pinch one side to form a heart. Make sure the angles are defined; they will expand a lot.
• Show some love for the environment. Take your date on a picnic if the weather is nice and eat on reusable plates, with real cutlery and cloth napkins.
• Be the sweetheart of your school. Take a huge bag of affordable candy and pass out to everyone. This is a great way to transcend the social hierarchies.
• Make treats (see suggestions on Page 6) and give them to the children in your life. They look up to you more than you might think! Write a few words of encouragement.
• If you like to bake, whip up some treats for a local nursing home. Call ahead of time to see what the policy is. When you drop them off, spend a little while visiting with residents.
• Serve food at a soup kitchen with family, friends or that special someone. Call ahead to schedule.
Heather Finster is a junior at St. Petersburg Catholic and a staff writer for tb-two*, the Times' high school weekly.