Because I won't be spending Valentine's Day with the family this year (I'll be at the writing retreat) we'll do some of our celebrating this weekend. It's probably true that Valentine's Day is mostly marketing gimmick, but it is fun to make the day extra special (in a reasonable sort of way). I'm sharing a few ideas here today and links I've used. But don't forget: this is NOT a DIY blog where I show you the elaborate Valentine's crafts we're creating together or the gourmet cupcakes I'm sending with them to school. You will have to look elsewhere for that! Here goes:
1. Tie a balloon to each of their chairs before they come down for breakfast on the morning of Valentine's Day. There's nothing like a balloon to announce, "This day is special!"
2. Write a card to each of your children (husbands, too, for that matter!) I have yet to read the article that circulated on facebook, which citing research against praising your kids too much. But I still think there is something to be said for what is the very Biblical idea of blessing. On Valentine's Day, in the cards I write to each of my kids, I use it as an opportunity to bless them: to tell them what's uniquely special about them, to name ways I see God at work in their lives, and to write a verse I'm praying they grow into.
3. Make an extra special treat to send to school with them or to enjoy at home. Make it together if you have eager and capable helpers. It doesn't have to include fondant, people! Here, it will probably be homemade chocolate chip cookies, and I'll be asking Ryan to also include these great jokes in their lunch. (You can print the jokes here.)
4. Give a $5 gift card to Starbucks or a favorite ice cream shoppe. My kids love this! They feel incredible grown-up when they're handing over their own "credit card" to pay. And it's a great excuse for a date with them. Another idea is to give coupons you personally fill out for other "gifts": intangibles like something you might do together. This year, my kids will be getting a coupon for a book of their choice, and we'll make our first visit to a charming children's bookstore that is close to our house. If your boys like legos, make a coupon for a mini-figure of their choice, and take a trip to the toy store.
5. Make their valentines with them. Admittedly, my girls will like this better than my boys. And well, actually, Audrey did roll her eyes at me when I showed her the idea I'd found for this year. "I'm almost eleven, Mom??" So it might just be me and Camille this year with our craft paper, scissors and glue!
Some great verses on love to talk about this Valentine's Day (all from 1 John because that's where I'm reading these days.)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:21
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. 1 John 5:3