Valentine’s Day sneaks up on me every year. Honestly, every holiday during the year does. I find myself scrambling to find simple yet memorable things to do with or for my children to make them feel loved and treasured WITHOUT breaking my bank.
Honestly, I should have entitled this post, "Valentine’s Day Tips for the Last Minute Mom".
I pray my tardy tendencies will turn into tips you can use!
Just like many American holidays that are over-commercialized and uber-expensive, Valentine’s Day for last minute people like me can be a doozy if you try to run out and buy some kind of standard way to say I-love-you.
So mostly, I don’t.
I tend to do simple things – things that are totally doable at the last minute and that will let my kids know that I am thinking of them on a day the world is talking about love. Because even if we love on our kids every other day of the year, one day specifically set aside to lavish a little extra love can't hurt.
Get to Your Nearest Dollar Store PRONTO!
You can totally set the atmosphere with a bit of celebration by grabbing a handful of décor-like items for your kitchen table. Hit the dollar store for a plastic red/pink table cloth, Valentine’s Day themed napkins and paper plates. A red candle, a balloon, or even some fabric floral arrangements will let your family know that you thought about them as you sit down to eat at the table. Surprise your kids when they wake up with something that didn’t break your bank! Look for a box of kiddie chocolates or candy, a card, or maybe even a stuffed animal.
Leave Love Notes in Random or Unexpected Places.
Leave a note for your kids under their toothbrush. Serve your kids their food using a paper towel as a placemat. Write wonderful things about them on the paper towel. They will love it. Put a post-it note on a mirror with an “I-love-you” and a kiss left from your lipstick. Put a notecard in a lunch bag, purse, or even in a shoe that that are sure to put on. Use post-it notes, notecards or random slips of paper taped to their door each listing different reasons why you love them. (Reason #1 - You are funny, Reason #2 - You have a great smile, Reason #3 - You have a kind heart, etc)
Use Technology to Tell Them that You Love Them.
Fix Them Food They Love.
My kids love pancakes. This year I think I’ll make ‘em red (with a little bit of food coloring). What is a favorite meal for your children? Cook, bake, or mix it up! Need an idea? Try this Cupid Lemony Love Potion. Use your favorite pink sherbert and serve it up with whip cream on top and cherry. Want to be adventurous? Hit up Pinterest and search for “Valentine’s Day” and “kids”. Make and decorate cookies. Keep your eyes peeled for a heart-shaped cookie cutter (they might be on sale just for late mamas). Make homemade trail mix. Keep it simple, quick, and casual or do it big! Host a restaurant-like dinner for the kids. Serve steak or lobster or shrimp cooked at home with a special molten cake for dessert. Dress up, use the good plates, and light candles. Your kids will never forget it.
Mail Belated Valentine’s Day Cards.
So what if you are late! People love getting mail (instead of bills) any time. Just tell them that you thought of them on Valentine’s Day and wanted to let them know. Your kids will love getting mail addressed to them. Get a card from the dollar store or make it yourself. Drop it in the mail. I can promise you that when they get it on they won’t care that it’s February 16th, 17th, or 18th!
V-Day Celebration @ Home.
Have a V-day picnic in your living room (or somewhere else your kids don’t typically get to eat. Sing karaoke, have a talent show, or play a game to keep your time together fun and festive. Celebration can be silly! Make the evening special by renting a movie from Red Box for $1 or using that Netflix membership that you forgot you pay for every month. Get some blankets and cuddle up with your kids to watch. It doesn’t take much to make your kiddos smile.
Massage from Mom.
Give your kids a massage. Put on some good music, light a candle and give each of your children a 10 minute back massage. Use massage oil if you have it but lotion works just fine).
Love on your kids then help them learn to love on others. By a bunch of cheap flowers and go random places handing them to random people. You never know when you might make someone’s day. Take it up a notch by having your kids make a sign that says “Jesus Loves You”. Take the picture. Send that pictures to family or friends to let them know they were though of Valentine’s Day. Make cards and take them to a nursing home or children's hospital.
Take Your Kids on a Date for Dessert.
Don’t want to celebrate at home? Go get some “sweets” with your “sweets”. Treat your children to dessert at a local restaurant. Trade your date night with your hubby for a date night with the children. Single? Take the focus off of you having a date (or not) and simply focus on and enjoy the moment with your children.
Not really into dessert? Get up and go to IHOP or Denny’s. Pancakes make everything better. Your kids will be happy because pancakes is basically still dessert.
Buy Something… and Buy That “Something” Every Year.
If you just are itching to buy something for your kiddos that cost more than a $1, get them something they need! Keep it practical. You can create the best memories by using Valentine’s Day to consistently give your child a particular item – pajamas, thermals, underwear, socks, toiletry care package, etc. Throw in some chocolate if you are so inclined.
Okay. There you have it. A few ideas from me to you for how to get-it-going for Valentine's Day. But I know that I am not the only one with simple ideas to love on those kiddos. I'd love to hear your tips and ideas.
What do YOU do to celebrate your love for your little (or big) kiddos?
Chrystal Hurst, ChrystalEvansHurst.com