I love Valentine’s Day! I can remember my mom decorating the house with pink and red streamers and balloons. There were cards and little gifts on the table when we woke up. One year she even pulled me out of school early to make cupcakes and celebrate. Justin has also spoiled me. One year he surprised me with a newly painted bedroom and new bedding when I came home from work. I love writing letters and coming up with surprises for my own kids. I love helping them make valentines for their friends and I exclusively wear pink and red outfits for the whole week. It’s kind of a big deal.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas to celebrate with the people you love, big and small.
- Fancy breakfast or brunch. This works especially well if it falls on a weekend, but I have been known to change the date of Valentine’s Day and celebrate on a weekend instead of the actual day just to make it happen. Pictured here are mini pancakes with Nutella, whipped cream and strawberries, with sausage.
2. I love a good scavenger hunt. One year I hid the kids Valentine gift and hid clues around the house to have them find it. Anything to prolong the fun is great, almost better than the gift itself.
3. Speaking of gifts, I usually go with a picture book or stuffed animal, but I’m also a big fan of new pajamas, robes or slippers.
4. This year, I’m simplifying the scavenger hunt idea and taping hearts all around the house for the kids to find. Pink hearts for Penny and red hearts for Teddy- equal amounts of each. If you have more than one child, you know why this is imperative. They will collect their hearts that either have little notes or “coupons” on them, and when they finish, they have to put their hearts together to spell out a message because on the back of each heart is a letter. Spoiler alert: The message is “Happy Valentines Day.” Creative, I know. When your kids are young, you gotta keep it simple.
5. Coupons- I’m a big fan of this idea and have reused it for many years. It’s free and it emphasizes spending time with each other rather than material possessions. Usually coupons for the kids are things like staying up later, dessert, free hugs. Anything works. They love “spending” them, and it makes the coming weeks fun because we have little positive activities sprinkled in each day. (Coupons also work for spouses. I won’t share those ones because they can get a little X-rated… )
6. Because I love writing, I also usually sneak in a way to write love notes to the family. One year, I made them mailboxes and they each had to check their mailbox every day leading up to Valentine’s Day to get their love note. I’ve also written notes on their bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker or posted notes on their bedroom door. Hiding notes in a lunch box is fun too, especially if you slip in a piece of candy with it.
7. Valentine’s Day is for friends too. Last year, I threw a Valentine’s party and made personalized conversation heart decorations. We listened to music and ate and played games. Eventually the decorations turned into a game. Who can throw one of those gross conversation hearts into someone’s drink. That I don’t recommend because a conversation heart gin and tonic is pretty awful tasting. I mean, I still drank it, but it wasn’t good.
8. This year, my friends are doing a long distance countdown to V-day. Each day, we message each other on WhatsApp according to the day’s theme. February 2nd, we sent our favorite love songs. On the third, we shared quotes. Today we are doling out marriage advice. That should be entertaining.
I hope some of these ideas got you excited about celebrating Valentine’s. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time, but a small gesture can mean a lot. This weekend I’ll be shopping for gifts. Justin and I have a signature cocktail in the works and I’m guessing we will order takeout and have a pretty chill day. Happy Valentine’s Day!