What I didn’t realize before having kids, was that traditions aren’t usually these well-planned out things that you plan on passing down to your kids. I guess maybe they can be but, for the most part, all of our family “traditions” are things that we did once, had a lot of fun doing, and decided to do again. Ta-da! Tradition is born!
Making Valentine’s Day into a big deal is one of those inadvertent traditions that we’ve adopted in our family. It started with my buying a bunch of red and pink stuff in the store one year on a whim and has turned into a tradition of decorating the house after the boys go to sleep on February 13th so that they can wake up to a special breakfast on the 14th.
I think what makes Valentine’s Day easy to embrace is that we’re constantly saying, “I love you” in our family- seriously, it’s to the point of overdoing it. It’s easy to turn that into a special event one day in February. It’s just fun to make a big deal out of a day of celebrating love. When you have kids, it isn’t about romantic love. It’s just about celebrating that we have people in our life that we adore- friends, extended family, each other. We don’t do gifts or candy, we don’t make fancy or complicated cards. We just have a really fun breakfast and then making each other valentines with construction paper and crayons: no pressure but lots of fun!
The internet can sometimes make you feel like you have to make EVERY holiday a big deal. But you really don’t. Pick ONE that you love and make it special. It doesn’t have to mean making crafts, or elaborate foods, or a Pinterest-worthy party. Just pick something that means a lot to you and your kids and run with it. For example, I decorate for Valentine’s day every year, but it’s not beautiful or perfect. I put up tons of streamers and balloons in the red/pink/white color scheme. Streamers automatically make everything seem decorated and festive and even a low budget of streamers can make a big impact if they’re all concentrated in one room. I cheat and buy some red or pink paper napkins or plates to put breakfast on. Whatever we’re having for breakfast gets turned into a heart shape. It’s easy but seems like a huge deal to the kids. And it is a big deal, because it’s not what we do every day.
My kids are still young and they’ve been homeschooled, so we haven’t yet run into the point where Valentine’s Day turns from something fun into something where people feel excluded. (And boy do I know about that- my sweet dad sent me flowers in high school so I wouldn’t feel left out amidst the flower deliveries that lots of my fellow high school girls received on Valentine’s Day) But I hope that as the kids get older and head into regular school next year, they get to hang on to Valentine’s Day as something fun and festive for a little while longer. And once they’re old enough to roll their eyes at the heart shaped breakfasts and streamers thrown around the room, I hope that starting off the day with a burst of extra love from me can help lessen any potential blows that may come from the peer pressure environment that Valentine’s Day might become.
Is Valentine’s Day a big day for your family? How do you celebrate with your kids?