In just a few days, February 14th will turn on our calendars once again. In many parts of the world, this means it's time to think about celebrating Valentine's Day.
I realize there are quite a few people staunchly opposed to this "Hallmark holiday." It seems to have been created exclusively by retailers looking to profit from our mid-winter blues by enticing us to spend, spend, spend.
Once I become a mother, I realized that Valentine's Day didn't have to be revolve around bouquets of roses and teddy bears holding hearts. Cardboard cut-out valentine cards are often quickly forgotten, but with a little creativity and thoughtfulness, this holiday can be made into a celebration that our families will find memorable.
Here are eight ways to make Valentine's Day more meaningful for your family.
Celebrate as a family
Our culture tells us that Valentine's Day is meant for romantic love, and certainly it is a nice day to take time to express your affection for that special someone. Our children, however, aren't interested in that aspect of this holiday, and this is the perfect time to instill in them the long-lasting strength of love within the family.
1. Fill a jar of sweet words.
Repurpose a jar that once held a sweet jam into a jar that holds sweet words for the family. You could have a theme for your jar - for example, "50 Reasons Why I Love Being Your Mama" or "20 Things Daddy Does That Make Me Smile." These little love notes can be handwritten or printed out from the computer. Decorate the jar with tissue paper, magazine clippings, old calendar pages, and some decoupage.
Although this gift is presented on Valentine's Day, it offers little words of affirmation for as long as the recipient wants to hold on to it!
2. Craft a box of memories.
Upcycle an old shoebox into a box of favorite family memories. Encourage family members to write these memories down and contribute other sorts of memorabilia as well. Children from preschool age on up can contribute the memories that mean the most to them, and they never tire of hearing stories from when they were babies and toddlers.
Make plans to spend time together on Valentine's Day going through the box and discussing some of the best times you have shared as a family. Find more inspiration for upcycling at repurposeful and at etsy trashion blog.
3. Create a coupon book.
Although some adults might find the idea of a coupon book to be a little bit trite, kids often see it as a fun and valuable way to enjoy some favorite activities. Parents can present coupon books to kids and vice versa, or everyone in the family could draw names and create a custom coupon book for the family member they selected.
Of course, children will always look forward to the candy-eating festivities that normally accompany Valentine's Day, but how often is a heart-shaped lollipop really memorable? Memories are guaranteed when a child redeems a coupon for "one day spent with Dad at the ball park."
4. Write an emotions book.
All of this talk about love makes an excellent jumping off point for talking about all kinds of feelings. Parents of younger children could print out My Heart . . . A Book About Feelings for each family member. Filling in the pages offers valuable talk time as you get to know each other a little better by exploring feelings.