Photo credit: Photogen Inc.

I have heard about 100 times this week that Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday. And when I tell people I am celebrating anyway, they usually make a comment about how sweet it is that we’re newlyweds and celebrating.

While I agree that it certainly doesn’t compare to many very significant holidays, and teddy bears, chocolates and cheesy balloons aren’t my thing, I strongly believe that any excuse to celebrate love and life is a good thing. And I plan to work hard to make sure that this is not something we only do when we’re young newlyweds, but that it continues throughout our lives.

I like to create my own excuses with date nights, girls nights and more, but why not celebrate love this weekend too? Here are my top three reasons to celebrate love:

1. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to try a new restaurant you’ve been thinking about. This year, my husband is in charge of the evening (including picking out a restaurant) and I’m taking charge of our day. We are celebrating tomorrow instead of Sunday and plan to make a nice dinner at home Sunday. Jenna of Eat Drink Pretty is doing brunch. Either way, it’s a great excuse to enjoy some time together.

2. Valentine’s Day is a fancy chance to get creative. I am doing a fun and creative day filled with clues and activities like a treasure hunt. He will receive a small box by the bedside table tomorrow morning. It’s just a homemade valentine that says “Will you be my Valentine?” and a box of biscotti. It also asks him to meet me in the kitchen for coffee and breakfast.

Throughout the day he will receive six gifts and homemade valentines with messages that tell him what the next activity is. The inexpensive thing to do is to plan activities together like visiting a free museum, brunch or dinner together at home or reading at a coffee shop and the box could have a small memento that relates to the next activity. I’m not going to give away all of my plans and gifts, but you get the idea.

3. Life is short and it’s up to me to make sure that each and every day is filled with love, happiness and meaning… that includes days that may have been created by a card company to increase profits.

So to any nay-sayers out there, I agree that this is a Hallmark holiday, but why not embrace any opportunity to spend your time and energy on love? While you’re at it, take a shot at winning a free photography session for you and your loved ones.

Live the fancy life!