I love Valentine’s Day. The hearts, the candy, my favorite color (red) splashed all over the place. It may be completely commercialized but that doesn’t stop it from being one of my favorite holidays.
Nevertheless, I want to teach my children to see beyond the fluff. Their sponge-like brains are absorbing everything, so why not guide them in a more positive direction?
This year, I want to focus on making the holiday more meaningful for all of us. Yes, we’ll still make valentines for our friends and family and we’ll still celebrate a family Valentine’s Day dinner with pink-tinted cake and probably a little too much chocolate. I’ll still enjoy the flowers my husband will get me…hint, hint…but we’ll start some new traditions that will hopefully make life better for us and for others.
If you’d like to join us on this journey, why not try one of these ideas?
Talk about St. Valentine’s Feast Day
In my research, I have found conflicting stories of the history of Valentine’s Day. My go to resources for all things Catholic, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and catholic.com, say that Roman Emperor Claudius II refused to allow young men to marry, claiming that they would become useless on the battlefield. Valentine, a Catholic priest, secretly married young couples and became a martyr for it. His letters from jail were signed “From Your Valentine,” which eventually led to the modern-day commercialized holiday. Long story short.
The details of St. Valentine’s life are a little murky, but the fact remains that we celebrate his feast day on February 14th. Have a conversation with your kids about what it means to stand up for their faith. Even the youngest members of your family can understand a discussion on doing what is right. If your kids are old enough, talk about why people are still being martyred and come up with ideas for how you can help.
What better way to show love than to reach out to those who need a little more of it? There are so many ways you can do this. We are planning to bake cookies for the nurses at my grandfather-in-law’s nursing home. We were all ready to do this for Christmas, but life happened and we didn’t make it there (it’s a two-hour drive in good weather.) I froze them and then forgot about them. So when it was the end of January and I thought Christmas cookies might look a little tacky, I ate them. The whole container. By myself. In two days. Oops. Anyway, the point is to do something to help someone else. Even a little gesture can go a long way.
Make Goals for Your Family
Sitting down as a family and sharing how your day went, who likes what in school, and other routine items is a great way to keep the family bond strong. However, I’m talking about something deeper. Dedicate a nice chunk of time to talking about how you can make your family stronger. Find out who has needs that aren’t being met, what goals you want to accomplish as a family this year, how you can spend more quality time together, or whatever you think will make life better for all of you. Then write it down and make a solid plan that works for everyone.
I came up with this particular idea for making Valentine’s Day more meaningful after reading some material from one of my favorite bloggers, Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom. If you like being productive and saving money, you will definitely want to bookmark her site.
Give seed packets instead of candy
I am a big fan of candy. However, I would be just as pleased with a packet of vegetable seeds that I could use to feed my family. I understand that many people aren’t into gardening. However, if you give this idea a try, you just might give someone that last bit of motivation she needs to start a garden. Given the amount of money you can save by gardening, as well as the satisfaction of eating your own homegrown produce, this is a gift that will have a much bigger impact than that box of chocolates from the grocery store.
Do a craft with your kids (they’ll remember it more than that red stuffed monkey you were eyeing at the store)
I absolutely hate doing kids’ crafts and projects, but I’ve found that it keeps them screen-free and gives them more to do than fight. It is also a great bonding experience. There is no way I can compete with the many crafty bloggers out there, so I’m going to point you in the direction of a super easy, extremely fun project I found on Live Craft Eat. Clara, Will and I made this flubber recipe to pass the time on a recent snow day. We used green food coloring, but you can choose any color. If you’re feeling really motivated, you can make your own natural food coloring using one of the bazillion recipes on Pinterest.
Well, there you go. Five honest to goodness ways to make Valentine’s Day about more than fluffy pink hearts and that bouquet of flowers your husband is going to get you. Or that big box of chocolate that mine is going to get me…!