Valentine's Day … it's all about sharing the love. While we mainly think of our spouses or significant others as the object of our affection, as parents we have a lot more opportunities for sharing the love.
Contrary to all the advertising we see, Valentine's Day is not just for couples. Children love to take part in any holiday (any excuse for a party) so don't leave them out of all your Valentine's Day plans.
Let them know you love them from head to toe with a gift of a hat and socks, covered with hearts. For boys who won't be seen in such frilly wear, even around the house, substitute a pair of boxers (or briefs), still covered with the hearts. The only way anyone will know is if they wear their pants too low! If you can't find what you're looking for in a store, you could easily make your own by stamping plain white ones with fabric paint.
Don't forget to decorate around the house. You could keep it simple, with hearts cut out of construction paper and placed strategically on mirrors and doors … or string them along a ribbon for a heart-shaped garland. Leave a few haphazardly spaced around counters and tabletops with secret messages of love for your family to find throughout their day. If you're feeling crafty, or your children are used to more involved projects, then check out the craft section of your local library for holiday decorating ideas. Or, for more inspiration on sharing the love through art try Fun Crafts , Kids Domain or Kid Domain , and for a great selection of homemade card ideas try Enchanted Learning Cards .
Decorating, gifts, crafts and games … now don't forget the candy! While chocolate seems to be the candy of choice for most moms, I make up a little tin of each family member's favorites, which are often not very chocolaty. I should probably tie up a nice bright red toothbrush with it to remind them to not let their sugary snacks ruin their beautiful smiles.
Make your Valentines Day meals festive with just a few simple adjustments. Cut out heart shapes in their morning toast, pancakes or waffles, and add some strawberries and whipped cream for a very special breakfast. Even a lunchtime peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be adapted for the celebration.
Did you have dinner in a fancy restaurant in mind? Only you couldn't get a sitter, or reservations? Whatever your reasons for staying in, you can still have a special romantic dinner at home. Create your own restaurant atmosphere, or enlist the children to do it for you. If they're too young to do the cooking, and you're not up to making a special dinner yourself, you might try asking a local restaurant for your meal to-go. Many of the popular chains even have a separate take out entrance, serving the same meals off their regular menu. You could even serve the kids their own special meal, then shoo them away with a new video while you share a candlelit dinner with your spouse. You could even put the take-out meal on your best china to make it more special. Who cares if it's not homecooked, as long as it's good!
Sharing the love doesn't have to stop at your own immediate family. Invite grandparents, aunts and uncles, your neighbors and/or your kids' friends and their families to join in a simple celebration of love, with heart-shaped pizzas. And don't forget to take pictures, so you can remember your special day all year long.
Valentine's Day is a great mid-winter excuse for a party. So stop being so busy and just share the love!
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