Several Februaries ago while on a walk in my neighborhood, I noticed that one of my neighbors had decorated her windows with red and pink paper hearts. It was a seemingly simple act, yet it carried a message of love and connection amidst the dark and gloomy days of winter. I was inspired! I hurried home and filled my windows with hearts, a tradition that my neighbor and I have faithfully continued ever since. It’s a small but meaningful way to make our corner of the neighborhood shine a little brighter for everyone. 


Valentine’s Day, with its reputation for cheesiness, may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I firmly believe that neighborly love and kindness are always worth celebrating. So, here are five ways to cultivate that neighborly love right where you live. 


Deliver Valentines to Neighbors 


One delightful way to spread love and warmth within your community is by crafting or buying Valentines and hand-delivering them to your neighbors. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or prefer store-bought cards, the personal touch of a handwritten note is sure to bring smiles to your neighbors’ faces. If you’re looking for a creative family project, we’ve got an easy watercolor Valentine video tutorial to get you started.  


Use this opportunity to introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met or to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood. Don’t forget to sign your name and include your house number; it’s a friendly gesture that fosters connections. 


Visit an Elderly Neighbor 


I grew up in a church tradition where we prioritized visiting our elders! I am thankful for this lesson, as I’ve made many great connections with older folks over the years. I encourage you to incorporate a tradition of visiting your elderly neighbors into your Valentine’s Day routine. This simple act of kindness can foster deep connections.  


Consider bringing along flowers or a homemade treat to share while you chat. You don’t have to keep with the Valentine’s Day theme on your visit, but you can certainly use the occasion as an ice-breaker. Here are a few on-theme questions to ask: How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day growing up? What words or actions make you feel loved? Who are the people in your life, past or present, who have modeled neighborly love?  


Decorate Your Home and Sidewalks 


There is no shortage of ideas for decorating your home for Valentine’s Day. A simple online search will populate thousands of DIY project suggestions and decor for sale. A wreath on your door, paper hearts or garlands in your windows, and fun messages on your sidewalk are all simple ways to celebrate.  


Fellow Hopeful Neighborhood Project contributor Katy Engle has shared a few DIY approaches to spreading neighborly love. Here interactive sidewalk designs and a project for neighborly greetings could both be easily adapted for Valentine’s Day.  


Organize a Neighborhood Clean-Up 


Depending on where you live, a neighborhood clean-up could be a great way to spread the love on Valentine’s Day. I live in a densely populated city neighborhood and sometimes, especially after a very windy day, our streets and alleyways can become littered with trash. Our neighborhood association organizes a monthly clean-up day where neighbors join together to spruce up the neighborhood.  


Organizing a Valentine’s Day clean-up creates an opportunity to meet neighbors while doing something good for the community. Using tools like neighborhood Facebook groups, Nextdoor, or other points of connection can help you spread the word.  


If you’re able, source a few large buckets with handles, work gloves, and trash grabbers to share with the group.  


Send Valentine’s Day Cards to Community Leaders 


It takes real commitment and skill to effectively serve as a community leader, whether in a volunteer, professional, or elected capacity. I encourage you to take the time to celebrate these leaders on Valentine’s Day! A card directly from your household or a card signed by the folks on your block is a great way to spread love and kindness, right where you live.  


In Conclusion 


Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love; it’s an opportunity to celebrate neighborly love and kindness right where you live. As my neighbor’s simple act of decorating her windows with hearts inspired me, you too can make your neighborhood shine a little brighter for everyone. How will you celebrate in your neighborhood this year? Let us know in the comments!