Many people (ok, men….and people who are alone and bitter….) say Valentine’s Day is a commercialized day. And in a lot of ways, it is. But so is every other holiday. Valentine’s Day is about love. We are all so busy nowadays, it is nice to have a day dedicated to pausing and expressing your love.
When I was a kid, my father, who worked an insane number of hours a week, was the one who went out and got each of the 5 of us kids a small heart-shaped box of candy. He of course got my mother a nice big box of candy, which we oooh’d and ahhhh’d over. In the mornings, we woke up and rushed downstairs to find those boxes of candy and a card on the kitchen table. It felt special because it was hard to connect with my father on a daily basis because he was gone so much. This was one way he showed us he was thinking of us. My mother showed us every day she loved us, but this was a day we all came together and we were reminded of how our parents loved each other as well as us.
This Valentine’s Day, no matter the configuration of your family, no matter how unusual your home life, show each other that you care. Demand everyone come home and have dinner together even if that’s not what you usually do. Decorate and prepare for it, because it is a real holiday! I don’t have a lot, just one small box of things, but we put a few things out and talk about it. Buy the little candy hearts and leave them where your family members can find them. Encourage your kids to do valentines for not only their classmates, but for your immediate family, for family that need their valentines mailed to them and for people you have to drive to visit. Make heart-shaped baked goods of your choice. We have a heart-shaped pan and my hubby isn’t big on cake so we make him brownies or a cheesecake. Here’s how to cut out a heart garland. Research St. Valentine. Create a new tradition, which are so important to kids, who like to anticipate things and find comfort in knowing what’s coming. Even using only one of these ideas on a yearly basis helps to mark the day. I actually steer clear of candy (so we’re not on a candy binge from Halloween right on through to Easter!!) and we often get them books instead (and by “we” I mean “me”!). We have a nice collection of holiday themed books now from Halloween through Easter (I have a sense of déjà vu…).
Show your kids how much you think of them; pause and show them how you care for your significant other (studies show it positively impacts kids from a very early age to see their parents showing affection; go ahead! Give each other a hug!)
Don’t focus on the commercialism if that’s your excuse….um, if that puts you off. Make it your own. Make it about home, family and love.