“Valentine’s Day is coming!” my daughter exclaimed surrounded by pink and red hearts at the store.
“Yup.” I replied, swiftly pushing my cart past the displays.
Valentine’s Day has long been a holiday that caused in inner battle for me. On one hand I spout that it’s a silly Hallmark holiday and we should show people we love them every day. Of course, while I’m saying this I secret long for sweet declarations of everlasting love, preferably with a heart shaped box of chocolates and flowers.
And therein lies the problem. I hate it and love it all at once, so maintaining my expectations is precarious to say the least. Especially for my husband.
None of this is ideal for a day all about love.
Instead of letting the war rage I’ve decided to be honest, embrace the best of it and let the rest go. Here’s how.
First, I’m reminding myself where love comes from. When I remember that God is love and Valentine’s Day is about love, it takes the pressure off creating some magical greeting card holiday, and shifts the focus to love those around me well.
To do that I’ve divided things into two main two categories because, well, there’s love with kids and there’s love with the hubby. Ready to get started?
Kid and Family Ideas
Valentines – The most important part of Valentines is to know what you’re dealing with. Know the rules, get the class list, know if your kid needs a special box or if a grocery bag will do. Knowing what is required ahead of time saves you from a massive headache later.
Next is to get them early and work on a few each day instead of a tear-filled cram session the night before. This makes a big difference, especially for the little ones.
Finally, remember you are not trying to outdo anyone else. Do what works for you and move on. No one really remembers who gives the valentine with the best sticker.
Simple Kid Craft – I’m not talking Pinterest here. Well, okay, you can find it on Pinterest, but it needs to be simple. An hour or less start to finish. No crying, no wishing you had never started, and preferably no glitter.
Here are a few ideas to keep the sanity and spread the love:
Snuggles – Use this time to remember what is important. Be together, and my favorite way to do that is with extra snuggle time and books.
Serve Someone – Thinking about others is a great way to show the love outside your family. Work together and color pictures or grab some pre-made cookie dough and bake. It’s always a good time to remember people who are important to you like school staff, police, fire and ems workers, library staff, and homeless shelters. You can even bring some dog treats to the animal shelter. The point is spreading the love together!
Be Honest -- Think about what you really want from your spouse and be honest. Saying you don’t want anything if you really want to be surprised with a dozen long-stemmed roses is a no-win situation. It is okay, even preferred, to communicate what would make you feel special. And don’t forget to give your partner the same opportunity.
Think Ahead – If going out is important, plan ahead and get a sitter on the calendar. It’s a popular night to go out so make sure you book early and pay well. If you want a certain type of flowers, order them ahead of time. If you want to eat at a certain restaurant, make a reservation. You’ll be glad you did.
Think Outside the Box – Be flexible with what you do and when you do it. If you can get away for a Valentine breakfast or lunch while the kids are at school, go for it! If you want to celebrate the day after, decide on the details and make it happen. Whatever you do, make your plan so you don’t feel like you both forgot.
Celebrate at Home – This is my favorite. Grab a special dessert and a bottle of bubbly to have at home after the kids are asleep. Light candles and enjoy being together in the peace and quiet of your own home.
Remember When – Take a few minutes and go down memory lane. Look at old pictures or even your wedding video. Tell funny stories, visit a favorite place, or do something you used to do when you were first together.
For a bonus, you can look at how to love other people in your circle. How can you show the cashier love today? What about the secretary at the kids school or the person in the next cubicle? Sharing love doesn’t have happen on February 14th, but it’s a great reminder to love others well.
Be purposeful and present about celebrating this day devoted to love.The best way to enjoy Valentine’s Day is to do what works for you!
Rebecca Hastings | Rebecca lives in Connecticut and traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. Passionate about authenticity, faith, and family, you can find her at RebeccaHastings.net and on Instagram. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places or wherever there is chocolate.