You may remember Valentine's Day as the day to pass out a tiny card to everyone in your class at school, or you may be intrigued by the history of Saint Valentine's pursuit of performing outlawed marriages. Wherever your thoughts on the holiday lie, Valentine's Day is a celebration of love. Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to be in love to celebrate. Rather, Valentine's Day is a fantastic time to simply, and intentionally, show your friends and family that you care about them. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas.
Handmade Valentine Cards
While store-bought valentine cards are completely fine, handmade cards always give a personal touch. Making your own valentines will require a little more time and thought, but will be worth it in the end. Start with a package of white cardstock. Cut the cardstock down to your preferred size, then stamp it with a heart-shaped stamp. Alternately, you could use a heart-shaped sponge (tip: cut a heart shape from a sponge you already have) or a heart-shaped cookie cutter (dipped in paint). For a different way, try this DIY toilet paper roll heart stamp. Once your valentine is dry, add a message if you like and glue a wrapped piece of candy to the back. Do you want something a little more practical? Try your hand at these wonderful Heart Bookmarks.
Throw a Valentine's Day Party
Show your children's friends (or even your own!) some love by throwing a Valentine's Day party. Dress code: must wear red, white, or pink. Serve heart-shaped pancakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Put out a big bowl of conversation Cuties (Cutie oranges with handwritten messages on them). Hang red, white, and pink streamers. Add balloons and a tablecloth from the same color scheme. Plan some silly games like Musical Hearts, Heart Toss (for older children, instead of the crumpled paper, you could make your own bows and arrows to fly through the heart), and this Cupid's Arrow game that uses straws and colored Q-tips. If it's an all-girls party, consider inviting everyone to dress up in their fanciest, frilliest clothes and having milk-tea together. Bake a tray of tiny sugar cookies and when they're cool, simply dip in some melted chocolate and shake some sprinkles on top. Serve with a fruit salad and tiny sandwiches or cheese-and-meat roll-ups.
Love Your Neighbor
Think about the people who live closest to you. What might they really love to receive? Would they love for you to simply knock on their door and say "Happy Valentine's Day?" Would they be touched by a bouquet of handpicked flowers (even some bushes have the pieces to make beautiful bouquets)? How about a small mason jar filled with Hershey's hugs and kisses candies? Consider giving your neighbor's each a valentine card and write a personal message telling them what you appreciate about them. Show up with a broom (or a snow shovel if appropriate) and offer to sweep their front steps. Chances are your neighbors will be touched by any small gift because you took the time to think of them.
Random Acts of Kindness
You've probably heard of this idea most around the December holidays, but Valentine's Day is also a wonderful time to practice these. Some ideas: tape quarters to the candy machines at the grocery store, hold doors open for people and do it with a smile, pack several bagged lunches so you have them on hand whenever you see homeless people on the curb (think: canned tuna with a pop-top lid and a row of crackers with a cup of applesauce).
Yes, Valentine's Day is a day of love, and loving is thinking of other people and helping them to have a wonderful day. We hope that you use the holiday to encourage and bring beauty to all the people around you.