Valentine’s Day is traditionally thought of as a romantic holiday for couples but who says it can’t be celebrated as a family?! It’s just as important for families to show their love for each other, so why not start a new Valentine’s Day tradition with these activities and ideas.
Setting the Scene for Valentine’s Day
Breakfast can often be a rushed and busy time of day, especially on a school morning but, with a little prep work the night before, the family can wake up to a decked out breakfast table on Valentine’s Day morning. Start by draping a white table cloth or old sheet over the table followed by a generous sprinkling of Valentine’s themed confetti.
Prepare heart shaped foods such as pancakes or French toast by using a cookie cutter and serving with strawberries or strawberry syrup to keep the red theme going. Don’t forget to add love notes to the lunch boxes (including the significant other’s) before everyone disperses for the day.
Lovely Sweets & Treats for the Family
While chocolate tends to be the sweet of choice on this day there are many lovely sweets that can be prepared and enjoyed as a family. Revamp a favorite cupcake, cookie or brownie recipe by adding red or pink candy pieces before baking. Red or pink frosting, ice cream and sprinkles are simple ways to top off special treats.
Made With Love
A great way to share this special day as a family is to exchange homemade Valentine cards and gifts. Disney’s FamilyFun magazine is packed with Valentine’s Day craft ideas such as Valentine’s Coupons which can be redeemed for things such as a free hug, a day without chores, control of the remote control for an hour, special privilege for recipient to choose dessert and much more! Get creative in showing family members that they are loved and appreciated.
The Gift of Time
Sometimes the best gift is to simply spend time with loved ones. Find a fun activity to enjoy as a family such as a favorite board game or a holiday themed story. If Scrabble is the game of choice try playing Love Scrabble by only using Valentine’s Day themed words such as hug, kiss, cupid, sweet and kind.
If stories are the activity of choice try Valentines Are For Saying I Love You by Margaret Sutherland (Grosset & Dunlap, 2007) or sharing some favorite, classic love poems. Try popping some popcorn and watching a movie together, such as Beauty and the Beast (Disney, 1991) or Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (Charles Schultz, 2008).
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day for families to show how much they love and appreciate each other. With simple, inexpensive crafts, recipes and activities Valentine’s Day can be transformed from a lovers’ holiday into a new family tradition.
A Valentine for Everyone
For many countries, St. Valentine’s Day means to give gifts to loved ones. Cards, flowers, chocolate and jewelry are the most popular gifts. People in the United States and some European countries, such as Germany, Spain and France, will exchange gifts with their spouses, lovers, parents and other family members. Children even give to their teacher and classmates, showing that the love expressed on Valentines Day is more than just romantic love.
The Scoop on Love
For some other countries, the standard is a little different. In addition to the traditional customs, British children sing songs, receiving gifts for their participation. Denmark calls its Valentine’s Day cards “lover’s cards”. These cards are sent from males to females and are signed with dots. Each dot represents a letter in his name. If the female correctly guesses who sent her the card, he gives her an Easter egg later in the year.
People in Japan and Korea traditionally send cards and chocolate to friends and co-workers of the opposite sex. For their lovers, two days are celebrated. On February 14, women send gifts to the men; on March 14, the men return a gift. This is called White Day, and it is common for the women to choose her gift. Most Japanese women make the chocolate themselves as a symbol of true love.
Valentine’s Day in Scotland is celebrated as a festival. It is attended by an equal number of unmarried males and females. One hat containing male names and another one containing female ones are passed around. Each person draws a name out of the hat. They are then paired off, based on the name the female drew, unless a couple happens to pull each other’s names.
The female places the name she drew from the hat on her sleeve or chest. The couples dance and enjoy the festival together. The females receive a gift.
Each Love is Sweet Love
India, Syria, Jordan, Romania and several other Middle Eastern countries have recently begun to celebrate this Greek god inspired holiday as well. Even if they have to shop for gifts far in advance to avoid the police, they can be seen making their purchases. It is quite popular among the young people who have more exposure to other cultures.
Ukraine has a very unique custom. For Ukraineans, Valentine’s Day is a stroll on the bridge of love to view hundreds of locks on display. These locks bear the names of a couple who placed it on this bridge as a symbol of their love for all to see.
Saint Valentine’s Day is a day for sharing love; it is a day for expressing love. So wonderful of an idea this is, that it is shared and expressed internationally. It has transcended time and space, as love is known to do.