When you’re a parent, buying gifts and celebrating Valentine’s Day can be complicated. Doing something outside the house requires a babysitter, money spent on presents makes you feel guilty, and finding the time to do something meaningful or creative can seem impossible.While I mostly enjoy Valentine’s Day because of the sales on February 15th (great opportunity to buy discounted treats for my daughter’s birthday party the following week!) I do think it can be more than just a “Hallmark Holiday.”
Here are some suggestions on how to make Valentine’s Day extra special:
Give your partner an hour (or two!) of kids-free time. Tell him/her that cleaning, worrying, and shopping for household necessities are off-limits! While s/he’s gone, you could do a craft with the kids to present when s/he comes back.
Depending on the age of your child(ren), you could work with them to create a love jar. Have them each paint a mason jar and then fill it with notes as to why you all love mommy or daddy. These will serve as great reminders over the year that the hard work is always worth it.
Split a special dessert after the kids go to bed. Turn off the TV, put down the phones, and enjoy the moment (however brief).
IOU coupons are a cliche for a reason! Maybe your kids are too young right now for you to take a weekend getaway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write out an IOU. Just make sure it’s something you’ll actually make good on when the time is right.
Shutterfly constantly has great deals on personalized calendars, mugs, and more! Create something for your spouse that s/he could display at work so when the days get long, it’ll be there to bring a smile to their face.
Chocolate covered strawberries are always, always a good gift choice. Just make sure you have the time to make them yourself, the pre-made ones are so expensive!
Christmas isn’t the only holiday on which you should establish family traditions! Maybe February 14th is the one night where dinner consists of everyone’s favorite foods. Or is a day where you take a road trip to the family’s favorite restaurant that happens to be 90 minutes away. Whatever it is, make sure it’s an electronics-free adventure.
Paint a picture together. This might be easier to do as a couple without the kids, but to cut down on the fighting and still include them, the parents could create something together while the kids create complimentary pieces.
Have a funny family photo shoot! No matter your age, it’s always fun to play dress up. Pick a theme and have everyone dress accordingly. Set up a mock photo session in your living room and snap away. Just make sure everyone (this means you, Moms!) gets in front of the camera.
Do good together. So many not-for-profits are inundated with volunteers during the end of the year holiday season, but by February many of them are once again in need of help. If your children are too young to volunteer some place, there are always projects to be done in your own home. The important part is to explain to your children why you’re doing what you’re doing and why it’s important to care for others, whether they’re family or not.
Have a dance party! Let loose and turn up the music. Shake away any stress or tension that’s been building and just have fun. Bonus: maybe the kids will wear out and you can enjoy some alone time tonight! (A girl can dream, right…?)
Take a walk down memory lane. Bust out the photo albums and share stories, not only of your children when they were younger, but of yourselves, your parents, and even your grandparents!
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about chalky candy hearts, pink presents, or $5 Hallmark cards. It should be about sharing the love that you have and remembering to continue to share that love all year round.
However you choose to celebrate this year, I hope it’s a day filled with joy and caring.