By Cammie Jones


The history of Valentine’s Day has varied explanations but all point to a common theme: love. Valentine’s Day began with the Roman festival called Lupercalia, held in the middle of February. The festival celebrated the coming of Spring and included fertility rights and giving women to men in a lottery. It was officially renamed St. Valentine’s Day at the end of the fifth century by Pope Gelasius. There are a couple of accounts of who “Valentine” was in history. One explanation is the name came from a priest who was martyred in 270 CE. He always signed his letter “from your Valentine” to the jailer’s daughter, of whom he befriended. Another account is the day was named after Bishop of Terni St. Valentine but some historians say that these two people could be the same person. Finally, another story says that St. Valentine went against the emperor’s order and secretly married men and women so that the men would not have to go to war. Any of these explanations are plausible, and again, all point to L-O-V-E. So, with all that said, maybe February 14 is a day to celebrate love and what fun to begin that at home with your own family!  Here are a few simple ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day:

1. Bake a Sweet Together

I love piddling in the kitchen making dinner or baking (or trying to bake something) that is “Valentine’s” delicious. Go to the grocery store with your kids and let one or all of them pick out one or two things to bake. It can be those break and bake sugar cookies with the red heart in the middle, cupcakes with pink icing and sprinkles, strawberry bread or whatever your children’s sweet hearts desire. Carve out some time (and maybe a little extra depending on your children’s ages) to cook.  It doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day if your schedule doesn’t permit.  Just find a day near February 14  and enjoy!

2. Make Cards for Those Who Need Love

Because the entire premise of Valentine’s Day is to show love, why not take that day to show your love to others.  This can be making handmade gifts for elderly people at an area nursing home or delivering items to the local children’s hospital.  What about leaving a treat in the mailbox for your mail carrier that day or the crossing guard at your child’s school? There are many individuals around us who would love to receive a special treat.

3. Be Neighborly With a Treat

Take a little time to put together a small goody bag of treats or deliver some cookies to your neighbors. Homemade items are the best but if you don’t have the time, a store bought cookie or cake would be just as nice. It really is the thought that counts.

4. Catch a Valentine’s Day Flick

Watching a movie with my girls was always one of my favorite things to do, when they were younger and actually wanted to be with me and my husband. I would love to go back and watch more with a bag of popcorn curled up in cozy blankets and pillows. Find a movie at your local Red Box or On Demand that is a fun love story and enjoy some family time in front of the tube or get out and enjoy some time in front of the big screen.

5. Create a Custom Valentine’s Day Dinner

Instead of the same old thing you cook on the weekly basis, make this dinner a little more special. Let each child pick out their favorite dish to go with whatever main dish you are cooking. If you are having chicken, let the kids choose the sides — mac and cheese, carrots with ranch, salad or fruit. I know that if my children had the option to choose, we would have steak with WifeSaver macaroni and cheese, hot wings from T-Bonz and fresh fruit salad.  It may not be your ideal meal but your children will actually be excited about a dinner custom made to their particular tastes.

You can make February 14 a special day for your family without going over the top or spending too much money. This is a day of L-O-V-E so remember to make some memories or traditions that will last long after the day is over.

This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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