If you ask me, Valentine’s Day gets to be much more fun when you become a parent. As parents, we get to toss aside the ridiculous expectations, the pressures, and all the entrapments of the “Hallmark holiday” and dive into the simplest of pleasures—celebrating the love in your family with all the sugary sweetness you can stomach.
Here are 6 simple ways to celebrate this Valentine’s Day with your family.
Set the Mood
After the little ones have gone to bed on February 13, add Valentiny touches to your home that will delight them when they awaken! Some super easy ideas are: a Valentine’s Day-themed tablecloth in the dining room or kitchen, cut-out hearts on the windows, a heart-shaped wreath on the front door, Valentine plates and napkins for breakfast, red and pink streamers hanging about, and fresh red or pink flowers, to top it all off.
Play Love Songs
Set up your mushy, gushy, sappy, but totally kid-friendly Valentine’s Day playlist in advance. Some of my favorite songs to add are Louis Armstrong’s, “What a Wonderful World,” “You Are My Sunshine” by Elizabeth Mitchell, and “This” by Darius Rucker.
Serve Food With Heart
A simple heart-shaped pastry cutter can turn almost any food into a Valentine’s Day treat. Toast? No, Valentine’s Day toast. Pancakes? No, Valentine’s Day pancakes. Meatloaf? No! Valentine’s Day meatloaf.
Got strawberries? They were born to be Valentine’s Day treats. Simply cut a v-shape when removing the stem.
The dessert options are endless. You can take that pastry cutter and make heart-shaped cookies, brownies, cakes, and more. You can take those strawberry hearts and dip them in chocolate or add them to the top of a strawberry shortcake. A red velvet cupcake with pink frosting is another no-fail option sure to delight all of your Valentines.
Get crafty as a family, making Valentine’s for each other and others. There’s no shortage of inspiration online, obviously.
Gift Experiences, Not Things
This would be my advice for every holiday, really. If you incorporate gifts in your Valentine’s Day celebration, aim for experiences over things. Gifts like a trip to the zoo, a museum membership, tickets to a show, tickets to an amusement park, movie tickets, or a gift certificate to a pottery place or fun gym would all qualify and the memories will last a lifetime.
End the Day Reading
Theme your bedtime reading around Valentine’s Day with stories like “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney or “Me With You” by Kristy Dempsey.
Got older kids? What better time to introduce some Shakespeare than with an introduction to “Romeo and Juliet”? Or check out this list of the 10 Greatest Love Poems Ever Written by the Society of Classical Poets (ClassicalPoets.org/2016/10/27/10-greatest-love-poems-ever-written/).
Happy Valentine’s Day!