A Valentine’s Day Celebration – Family Style

Valentine's Day Cookies

If your situation is anything like mine, long gone are your Valentine’s Days of celebrating with your sweetie in a romantic restaurant with wine, drippy candles and staring into one another’s eyes. Three children later, Valentine’s Day is still a special and celebrated holiday in our home, it’s just now more of a family celebration.

For some reason, my kids are really into Valentine’s Day. It started a few years ago when we decided to have an impromptu family party. I dug out a red tablecloth, pink plates and cups and blew up a few balloons. We made rice crispy treats colored with beet juice (beautiful color, questionable taste FYI). We played some music and exchanged gifts (mostly homemade) and it was a blast! Since then, we make our annual Valentine’s celebration a fairly big deal. Who says February 14th has to be a day just about romantic love, right?

 

Here are some ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with all the sweeties in your life big and small:

Decorate.

Kids love a party so make it feel like one. Head to your local dollar store and get a balloon bouquet. Set the table with Valentine’s Day themed decor like a paper table cloth, matching plates and cups and any other inexpensive table toppers you can find. I always splurge on a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our “centerpiece”.

 

Make something sweet.

Whether it be a treat like heart shaped cookies, red velvet cupcakes or yogurt dipped pretzels, kids can take pride in showing their love for their family by helping make something special to share. Here are some great ideas from Forkley.com if you need a little inspiration.

 

Share a meal.

If you choose to make this part of your celebration, here is where you can go one of two ways. The first option includes having a special kid-friendly meal. (Think heart-shape anything, such as pizza, pancakes, or grilled cheese.) You could also do fondue or even a fun shaped pasta with red sauce. Option two involves feeding the kids as normal and having a special meal with your significant other after they go to bed. We are fans of option number two in case you were wondering as this allows for the drippy candles and staring into one another eyes. Here are some fun family meal ideas as well as some simple romantic dinners for two.

 

Dress up.

Make your festivities even more special (and extend those Christmas outfits your kids only wore once) by wearing nice dress-up clothes. Mom and Dad, dig out a fancy-schmancy number, or get goofy and sport an old prom dress, bridesmaid dress or leisure suit! My daughter preferred to wear princess dresses for a while and my son old Halloween costumes so those are always some more fun dress up options for your celebration.

 

Pop open the bubbly.

While grown-ups may prefer to sip on champagne or prosecco, sparkling white grape juice is a fun treat for both kids and adults. Pour in a fancy class with a few frozen berries and voila, cheers to love!

 

Exchange gifts.

We have done both store-bought and homemade gifts from the kids in years past. Like most things, it just depends on time and energy. Going out to a shop and picking out a little special something for Mom, Dad and siblings can be fun and exciting but so can making homemade valentines. It’s true that it’s as much, if not more fun to give as to receive so make gift giving in some form or another a part of your celebration.

 

Valentines Day

 

Ok, so here is my public service announcement to you grown-ups

If you are part of a couple, don’t forget each other! Yes you are busy with diapers and carpools, money may be tight and I know this article is about celebrating as a family BUT… likely before kids there was just the two of you, and (hopefully) once your children are not children anymore there will still be just the two of you. So, make sure to show your significant other some love by getting each other a little gift and making he or she feel special, whether it be chocolates, some fancy bath soap, a massage or a poem. And always, always a card!

Tell each other why you love each other.

This can be through a written valentine to every member of the family or by going around and taking turns and telling each other verbally.

You can also do something more creative and “Pinteresty” like:

  • Writing things you love about each other on your paper table cloth
  • Hanging hearts on your kid’s doors and writing one thing you love about them each night for week or as long as you like. It’s something fun they can wake up to! (We did this one last year and only just took the hearts down before the winter holiday). Here are instructions and printable templates.
  • Downloadable/printable love notes and fill them out. Here’s a cute one.

 

Turn on some tunes.

Music is a big part of our family whether listening to blue grass on Saturday mornings, singing along in the car or playing instruments together. We are big fans of Spotify and Pandora as whatever you are in the mood for, there is station just for you. We like to listen to old crooners on Valentine’s Day like Sinatra, Billie Holiday or the Brat Pack.

 

Do something, anything, all together as family.

Have a dance party, play a game (Twister or Charades anyone?), do a craft project, play Mario Cart, go ice skating or get cozy on the couch and watch a movie. No matter what you choose you are creating memories and maybe even new traditions. The point is you are giving each other the gift of each other!

 

I’d love to hear from you about what you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day together as a family! Please feel free to comment below!

 

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Jen Van Rooy
Jen Van Rooy is an Appleton native and mother of three. She has a background in management and human resources and now currently works part time as a social media consultant and community manager for a variety of organizations. After spending a number of years in the Twin Cities, Jen missed her mom so she and her husband moved back to her hometown of Appleton to raise their family. In her almost non-existent free time Jen enjoys reading, writing, being active in the community and of course all things family.

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