Friends will tell you its a candlelit table at a Michelin star restaurant. The Meg Ryan enthusiast in your life will say it’s at the top of the Empire State Building or in New York’s Riverside Park with golden retriever named Brinkley. But me? I’d say the best place to spend Valentine’s Day — significant other in tow or not — is at Target.
Honestly, nothing really compares to Target when it comes to creating the ultimate Valentine’s Day vibe. Target captures the pure essence of Valentine’s Day in the most innocent, entertaining, whimsical way: with aisles and aisles of Cupid cardboard cut-outs, candy, balloons, stuffed animals, and cards. Every year, Target creates what is essentially a Valentine’s Day amusement park, and it’s the only place I want to open my heart.
Target’s careful Valentine’s Day curation seems thought out. In fact, as soon as Jan. 1 hits, the Christmas lights, ornaments, and wrapping paper disappear, immediately replaced with an explosion of hearts in every shade of red, pink, and purple. There’s an entire shelf dedicated exclusively to heart-shaped Reese’s Cups. There’s a section populated by an assortment of stuffed animals. And of course, there are literally hundreds of overly sentimental cards filled with touching prose that rival a Nicholas Sparks storyline.
And sure, it’s an obvious move for Target to roll out all of the Valentine’s Day stops to make money. Even the strategic placement of the merch at the very front of the store (and in the dedicated holiday aisles!) screams, “BUY ME!” But, for me, it’s about so much more than that.
In fact, I’d say that Target’s commitment to Valentine’s Day excellence has made me feel, on numerous occasions, that it’s not about having a significant other to shower in chocolate, but just a reason to celebrate, and excuse my Marie Kondo verbiage, but to simply spark joy.
How can you not get happy when you see a stuffed dog holding a heart? Damnit, that’s literally my dream come to life. How does your heart not explode when you see those paper cut-out Valentine’s that preschoolers are going scribble on and then proudly hand over to their moms and dads? And while I’m not partial to the taste of candy hearts (disguised chalk, in my opinion), they look so chic in a glass vase on a coffee table.;
That aisle pops up at just the right time, too. January is officially 2,342 days long and freaking cold. Everyone needs a pick-me-up from the winter, post-holiday blues.
Target also provides you with the necessary tools to create any kind of V-Day experience you want. A few years ago, I threw an amazing Galentine’s Day party with my girlfriends, simply because I was obsessed with red and pink balloons — of which Target has plenty. I replaced my dish towels with Valentine’s Day dish towels solely because they were accented with hearts. And let me tell you, washing my dishes is so much less grueling.
In the Valentine’s Day aisles at Target, you can pick up a box of Russell Stover chocolates for someone special or a new mug for your mom, but you can also just stand there and soak up the magic that is streamers and a monochromatic color scheme. You can simply enjoy fun, sweet things for yourself. And since life is pretty tough as a rule, you can use it as an excuse to push the negativity aside and celebrate what does make you happy.
For me, that’s heart-shaped placemats, and of course, Reese’s.