14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day During Cancer Treatment


Valentine’s Day can mean dressing up, fancy dinner reservations, sparkly gifts and high expectations. However, there's nothing wrong with wanting something a little more laid back and low key. If your loved one is coping with a cancer diagnosis, spending the holiday in the hospital or just wants to focus on love and support, check out these ideas to create a meaningful night.

  1. Plan a movie night or Netflix marathon, complete with takeout from your significant other’s favorite restaurant. (Keep in mind that certain cancer treatments can affect taste and appetite, so you may need to make some adjustments.)
  2. Focus on relaxation by getting all the elements for a DIY spa night that can be enjoyed at home or in the hospital. Make or buy organic and unscented body scrubs, face masks, lotions and more. Set the atmosphere with a zen playlist and an essential oil diffuser.
  3. Decorate your loved one’s hospital room with all the pink hearts, streamers and balloons you can find! (Check first to make sure these items are allowed.) Feeling extra ambitious? Ask a local singing group (or friends with great voices) to stop in and sing “your” song.
  4. Go electronic-free, completely. Turn off your phones, laptops and TV. Vow to spend the entire evening living in the present.
  5. Re-create elements of a favorite memory. Is there a beach vacation you fondly remember together? Grab some grass skirts and plastic palm trees from the dollar store. Have you been on a date to see a hilarious comedian? Download a few of their stand-up shows to relive the laughs.
  6. Find a few new board games to play. Better yet, create your own two-person tournament and make a scoreboard poster. Or, record a night’s worth of TV game shows and play along with the contestants.
  7. Challenge each other to a poetry battle. Make a list of random words and place them in a bowl. Draw a word and spend 30 seconds freestyling a poem (or rap!) about that word.
  8. Ban the word cancer. Come up with a silly penalty for breaking the rule (i.e. you have to say the alphabet backward or sing, “I’m a little teapot”).
  9. Choose cozy gifts, like warm, soft blankets and slippers. Add in a bouquet of their favorite flowers to top off the gift. If real flowers are off limits due to treatment protocols, make paper flowers!
  10. Paint a masterpiece together, with a canvas and small set of paints. Alternatively, purchase adult coloring books and colored pencils.
  11. Play charades! Fill a bowl with pieces of paper containing different people, places and things. Act them out or provide clues to get the other person to guess correctly.
  12. Become a two-person book club. Purchase or borrow a feel-good book you’ve both always wanted to read. Spend the evening reading aloud together and discussing.
  13. Create a list of all the things you want to do in the future. Get a stack of magazines to cut out photos and phrases for a vision board.
  14. Have kids? Create your own “restaurant” where they can play as wait staff. Give them construction paper to make menus and see what they come up with!

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Above all else, throw expectations out the window and focus on spending quality time together, filled with comfort and love. Share more ideas you have in the comment section!