(Insert: rant about commercialization of a made-up holiday designed to make you spend money to prove your love…)
Valentine’s Day Decorations
Okay, fine. We planned a LITTLE bit ahead on this one, but I still had to share it because it is literally the GREATEST IDEA EVER (I can’t take credit… I found it on Pinterest years ago and I can’t find the original source…).
Every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (to keep the kids busy on a day off school), we take down all the Christmas cards. We draw big hearts around all the faces and the kids cut them out. They then spend the day sewing (with a needle and thread) all of the hearts together into a big Valentine’s Day garland that we hang in our window.
Why I LOVE this idea: You love getting Christmas Cards, but feel guilty taking them down and throwing them in the trash. This gives us a set date to take them off the fridge (MLK day) and it refreshes them into something new. Then, each year, our Valentine’s Day decorations are literally made from pictures of people we love! (Also, after Valentine’s Day, there’s no guilt at all taking the garland down and throwing it in the trash!)
Last Minute School Valentine’s Day Cards
My kids are WAY ahead of me on this one… they’ve been designing and making cards since Christmas with construction paper and water-colored hearts… but you can get your kids to replicate them in one evening! It’s really not that hard! (Also, a secret: Teachers actually love it when they bring cards without names on them… it makes passing them out so much faster! Just have them write a generic note: “Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Penny”)
If you’re more of a standard grocery-store Valentines card kind of person, did you know that you can find several great options FOR FREE online? Even Curious George has some cute printables you can use! (Yes, I follow Curious George on Facebook, so I get all the updates… also, Curious George’s posts are a breath of fresh air on any Facebook feed.)
Valentine’s Day Activities for Your Kids
Did you know that relatively heart-shaped pancakes with sprinkles are a fan favorite? (Really! Even if you stink at making heart-shapes like I do… the kids love them!) And you’ll have a hard time finding a meal that costs less than pancakes!
A great way to tell your kids you love them is to send them on a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt. I take regular pieces of white paper that I cut into hearts. On one side of the hearts, I write their names in pen. On the other side of the heart, in a white crayon, I write them notes (ie: I love your smile. I love you. You’re so sweet. etc.). Then, they are sent off to find the hidden hearts around the house (“Only find the ones with your name on them! If you find one that has someone else’s name, put it back and don’t tell them!”). After they each find 10 hearts, they pull out the water colors and paint all ten hearts to find their secret messages! This is a great idea because it’s FREE, it takes very little time to set up, and the kids LOVE finding their hidden hearts and then revealing their secret messages with paint!
Frugal Romantic Valentine’s Day
Maybe I’m weird… but I never found it all that romantic to get a store-bought card with a pre-written message and some grocery store chocolates. (Also, I do love flowers, but have you seen the RIDICULOUS PRICES for roses on Valentine’s Day?! Highway robbery!) If you really want to show your spouse that you care, try making the greatest card ever! How are your drawing skills? Terrible? Awesome! Can you come up with a cheesy one-liner? Perfect! If you want to get more serious about it, get out some fancy stationary and write a perfectly crafted love letter.
Now my love language is food (that one’s not in the book?). But even more than grocery store chocolates, made-with-love baked goods are my jam. If you really want to go special (or can’t figure out how to bake fancy desserts without your spouse knowing), find the BEST DESSERT IN TOWN and order it to-go. Since you’ve spent $0 on this holiday up to this point, spending $8 on that super fancy and amazing chocolate peanut butter pie may be just what you need!
After the kids go to bed, you can crack open some Martinelli’s you have in the garage from New Year’s (just us?) and dive into your fancy desserts! No need to spend obscene amounts of money waiting in crowds at restaurants to eat food that isn’t the best because chefs are forced into mass-producing for this holiday as well.
Also, nothing’s more romantic than a financial date night. Oh, that’s not true? Alright. Whatever works for you… Happy Valentine’s Day!