How to Still Celebrate Valentine’s Day During the Pandemic

A guide to help you ‘lock down’ romance and enjoy a social distanced Valentine’s Day



Crafting together on Zoom is one pandemic-friendly way couples enjoy Valentine’s Day together.


It’s the morning of Feb. 9, five days before Valentine’s Day, and I’ve just mailed my girlfriend her gift. This Valentine’s Day is special to us — and not just because we’re spending it in a pandemic. It marks the 11th month of our relationship, half of which was spent long distance: she at a college in St. Paul, Minnesota and I here in New York.

Though it wasn’t the pandemic that separated us, many other couples are experiencing newfound struggles like travel restrictions, a stricter guest policy in college dorms, no spring break and financial hardships, all of which are threatening many people’s Valentine’s Day plans. Even for short-distance sweethearts, the threat of COVID-19 may disrupt the ability to have the romantic Valentine’s Day date of a regular year. 

Don’t worry, though — as a certified long-distance lesbian, I am more than qualified for the challenges of Valentine’s Day 2021. Here are some ways to spend the holiday with your person: pandemic edition.

Level 1: Lockdown

Are you looking for things that you and your partner can do together without having to go outside or take the train? 

  1. Have an indoor picnic! Turn your room into a romantic tent with string lights and a floor blanket, order some of your favorite takeout (bonus points for cooking, even if it’s in the McKeon kitchen), turn on mood music and enjoy. 
  2. Craft together! Whether you are painting, making jewelry or decorating candles, make sure you have a supply of snacks to sustain your creative effort. While taking turns picking the music, you can make each other little Valentine’s crafts as a keepsake. 

Hear from the director of Fordham Counseling and Psychological Services, Jeffrey Ng, about the importance of romance during the pandemic on Retrospect:

Level 2: Six Feet Apart

You can meet your partner, but there’s no way for you to hang out in private? Here are some ideas for a safe (and warm) way to explore the city.

  1. Go to a museum! The Met, for instance, has pay-what-you-wish tickets, and the Guggenheim and MOMA offer free and discounted tickets on a first-come-first-serve basis. Take as many hours as you want perusing the collection, and finish it off with a cup of hot coffee on the museum steps. 
  2. Instead of buying a gift in advance, go shopping for one! Pick a store that sells items you both will like, and then adventure through it with the goal of getting your partner a present that they will love without them noticing you take it. Alternatively, pick each other outfits to try on and take pictures in. 
  3. Try the TikTok four-course meal challenge. With easy access to the subway, rock-paper-scissors each turn to decide what food you will get for the corresponding course — drinks, appetizers, entrees and dessert — with the added bonus of getting to catch up between the spots. Winner chooses, loser pays!

Level 3: Miles Away

If you’re like me and your partner lives over a thousand miles away, it’s time to pull out the big guns.

  1. This might sound obvious, but send each other gifts! Even if you can’t afford to mail a heavy-duty package, a letter filled with some dried flowers, a picture you drew or a printed-out photograph will likely make both of your days. Even if your gift doesn’t come in time for the holiday, you can always make a FaceTime date out of unpacking it! 

For this Valentine’s Day, I mailed Grace a beautifully adorned box of assorted Valentine’s merchandise, including (but not limited to) a strawberry growing kit, heart socks with the words “BFF” on them, heart boxers, a chocolate bar shaped like a naked man and a homemade snowglobe from a Welcome Week activity at Fordham (which totally didn’t fall apart ten minutes before I finished the package).

  1. Have a virtual game night! This can be as high-tech or as low-tech as you want it to be. For minimal stress, you could play GamePigeon games while you call (“20 Questions” is my personal favorite, especially when each person picks words and phrases related to the relationship). Some smartphone-less solutions include online chess, scrabble,, or multiplayer games like Minecraft. Though Grace remains unlucky due to me not having the game, I would give anything short of the $20 it actually costs to build our own little world with her. 
  2. Take personality quizzes together! You can call on a platform like Zoom or Skype that lets you share your screen with your partner and peruse BuzzFeed or uQuiz to your heart’s delight. This is a particularly cute one — who doesn’t like personality quizzes? — but it’s also perfect for getting to know your significant other more. I especially recommend the New York Times’ 36 Soulmate Questions that are said to make the two people taking them fall in love. 

Regardless of whether your person is yet to be found, lying next to you or sleeping somewhere five time zones away, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day taking care of yourself and those around you. If anything, you have the discount candy at CVS to look forward to on Monday.