Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ideas for Valentine's Traditions?

In a couple days, I've got to turn in a post about great ideas for Valentine's Traditions for our Motherhood Matters Column at the Deseret News.  I'd love some help!

In our family growing up, Valentine's Day was pretty mellow.  We looked forward to each getting a new glass or mug full of candy at the breakfast table on Valentine's Day (it seemed we needed new glasses or cups once a year since my dad was opposed to plastic cups and glassware + nine children and friends = plenty of breakage).  I remember working with my siblings to put together Valentine cards complete with conversation hearts to pass out out all our friends (carefully reading all hearts that went into boys' valentines to be sure I wouldn't be giving anyone the wrong idea).  Valentine's Day was nice. It was sufficient.

Then I went through my teenage years and twenties dreading Valentine's Day.  I become convinced that it was a horrible holiday that caused a lot more pain than joy as it reminded every unattached girl and woman of what she wanted and didn't have.  And on the few occasions when I did have someone I was dating or interested in around Valentine's Day, there was plenty of angst trying to figure out what actions or lack of actions on Valentine's Day might MEAN.  Then when I was married, I quickly found that the angst didn't go away and that going out to dinner on Valentine's Day and waiting for a table for hours just wasn't worth it (especially when finding and paying a babysitter was involved).

Since having kids old enough to care, I've worked to make Valentine's Day more of a family affair.  I love the idea of focusing on the love we all have for each other during February and doing some special activities to celebrate that love.  But I need more ideas.  All I've got so far is that the kids get candy on their plates when they come down for breakfast on Valentine's Day morning (nod to my mom) and we do this great "heart attack" activity I stole from my sister Shawni (check it out on her blog here).

I'd love some more ideas for fun family and/or couple traditions for Valentine's Day (and the week or two prior) that I can use in my own family and share with the readers of our Deseret News column.  What do you do?  What else have you heard of?


bjahlstrom said...

My husband and I don't have children yet, so we keep holidays pretty simple. But...we still like to celebrate each one. For Valentine's Day, we make homemade heart-shaped pizzas and play a few board games together. Making special pizzas allows us to use unique ingredients we wouldn't normally try on regular days, like creating a bacon chicken ranch pizza!

I honestly think that going out on Valentine's Day is overrated, and simply creates stress for families. Commemorating the holiday can still be fun and special if it's approached more simply.

My other idea, for families, is to do a Valentine's Day treasure hunt or scavenger hunt, where each clue symbolizes or alludes to something the parents love about each of their children, ending in a dollar store surprise.

Good luck!

Heather said...

Part of the valentines day candy that I give my kids includes a pack of gum with something that I love about that person written on each stick of gum.

Also, I have wanted to try finding old mailboxes and painting them white and red; one for each child. The kids write notes to each other the week before valentines day telling each other what they love and appreciate about their siblings... maybe this year?

Jennifer said...

I saw these cute felt bags on another blog that I'm going to try & make before Valentine's Day. They require 5 pieces of precut felt sewn into a box (nothing on the top) with ribbon to close. Then the kids can decorate them. I'm going to make 1 for me & dad too so the kids can put Valentines for us in them too. I think the sewing should take about a minute per bag so I think I can handle that & they can be reused every year.

Jen said...

I have a jar of hearts with scriptures about love on them along with something to do each day (like be nice to someone who is mean to you, etc.) Each morning, we choose one, read it, and then talk about it. In the evening, we ask if anyone kept the challenge for the day and wants to share. It's really nice. You can see my post on it (and print the scriptures) here:

Or use this link:

We do this the first two weeks of February to generate more love in our home. We also use festive dishes and I make food in the shape of hearts. On Valentine's Day, the kids like to each make their own personal heart-shaped pizza (that's an easy meal and fun for them).

Jen said...

Sorry, that last comment wouldn't include my full link. go to:

go to "Jen's Blog" then click on the "I Heart February" link. Enjoy!

Patty Ann said...

Oh, I love some of these ideas. I have never thought of making it more a family day. The kids and I do valentines for their classes, I also buy bags of candy for each girl and they get to hand out candy to their classes. This works good for the teenagers too because who doesn't like candy? right?? But, I think I need to really work on making each one feel special this month. Thanks for the ideas.

Allyson said...

Along with some treats by their bedside when they wake up in the morning (that's what I grew up with), I'm thinking I'd like to take a few minutes to write "love letters" to my kids. I always plan to do it on their birthdays, but it never seems to happen when trying to pull together presents and a party. VDay is so low-key I'm thinking it might be a better time to try.

Anonymous said...

Valentine's Day has long been my favorite holiday because my parents always focused it on the family. They never went out for dinner to celebrate by themselves. Instead, we cooked a meal together and always had a CANDLE-LIT dinner. That was the best part! We (the kids) LOVED it! My dad always said he couldn't see his food but that just made us laugh and enjoy the experience even more! It's a tradition that I now carry on with my own family. My mom also mailed us cards (instead of just handing them to us) so we could run out to the mailbox to get them.

Jessica said...

The girls in our house (now including my twin daughters) put on red lipstick on Valentine's Day morning and kiss the boys all over their faces, leaving lip prints.

I grew up in a small town with the tradition of taking your valentine treat and letter to the doorstep, ringing the doorbell and dashing away. I now take my children to leave treats and notes to people who might be forgotten on that day (some single friends and widows).

Jessica said...

Maybe I need to clarify that we're only kissing Dad and Brother with the lipstick;).


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