By Cammie Jones
Every year just before Valentine’s Day, I make a cake. I know this doesn’t sound like much but I make a red velvet cake from scratch. For those bakers out there this may not be much of a feat, but for me it is a labor of love. I have to say it tastes delicious but it is not the prettiest thing to look at. Most of the time, the cake looks a little like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but my girls don’t care – they love it just the same. When thinking of ways to celebrate this day of love, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. It’s the little things in life that count and allow us to spread the love to others.
1. Plan a Family Meal
We all know that going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be crowded and stressful. Instead of going out, plan a meal including everyone’s favorite foods and let each family member pick their favorite dish and put it together in a meal everyone will love. Get your children to help – this will make them feel part of the meal and the celebration. After the blessing and as you enjoy the meal, have each family member say what they “love” about someone or something.
2. Craft & Bake Day
Take an afternoon or evening after school or work and bake some sweet treats. These treats can be given to neighbors, family members or friends to show that you appreciate them. Get your kids involved and let them help you in the kitchen. This can be as simple as slice and bake cookies or any other made from scratch treat if you’re feeling a little like Betty Crocker that day.
You can also have a crafting day where you and your children make homemade valentines. All you need is construction paper, scissors, glue and maybe some glitter to make this a ton of fun.
3. Rethink Gifts
If you are like me, gift giving can be a little stressful. An article I found on www.ahaparenting.com suggests using the GIFT test if you are purchasing a gift. The GIFT test asks if the present creates more gratitude, intimacy, fondness and trust between you and the recipent or is it just a git to impress. My favorite gifts from my children are always the homemade ones that were meant just for me and also gifts from friends and family who really know me and what I like. It really doesn’t matter the cost – if it’s from the heart, it’s priceless.
4. Put it in Writing
A personal note never goes out of style. If you are giving a Valentine’s Day card to someone special, add a little personal note that tells him or her how much you appreciate or love them. Take your time in writing it and really think through how they have affected you and your life so far.
5. Plan a Date Night
This is an idea more for you and your spouse but pick a night close to Valentine’s Day (if you can’t go on Feb. 14) and make a night of it. Go to your favorite restaurant and instead of the usual romantic movie, go bowling or see a comedy show that is not the norm for you. Jazz it up a little.
You can also plan a date night or day with your children. Go to their favorite restaurant and do something they may want to do such as roller skating or some type of family activity.
6. Give to Others
We all tend to think of those less fortunate during the holidays but why not instead of doing something in December, volunteer your time or give a monetary donation during the month of February. Salvation Army or Goodwill are great options. See what non-profits in your area need volunteers of all ages and make a plan to help out in your community.
7. Enjoy Family Movie Night
Find an age-appropriate movie that the whole family can enjoy and pop some popcorn for an evening at home. Put on your pajamas, cuddle up on the couch, light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a family flick. The kids will love it.
All of these ideas are ones that can fit any budget. You can fine tune them and mix them up to what would work best for you and your family. Think outside the box and enjoy this Valentine’s Day with the people you love the most.
This article appears in the February 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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