Valentine’s Day is all about love. Cards verbally express love. Romantic meals showcase the sensual joys of love. Flowers parallel the beauty of love. And thoughtful gifts remind the recipient that they are loved.
The history of Saint Valentine and Valentine’s Day
Interestingly enough, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in honor of a Catholic martyr. Saint Valentine lived during the third century so little is known about him. But it’s likely that he was either:
- A priest who married young lovers during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who decided to ban marriage so that more single men were available for military service.
- A bishop who was beheaded by the same emperor.
- A leader who was imprisoned for helping prisoners escape from the harsh conditions of jail. He was later imprisoned and penned the first “Valentine” to his lover, signed, “From Your Valentine.”
- Or all of the above.
Regardless of his unknown identity, he left behind a heroic legacy that stands up for love, passion, and romance.
- Right after the death of Saint Valentine, Romans celebrated a pagan fertility holiday on February 15.
- That pagan celebration was outlawed by Pope Gelasius in the 5th century.
- There is a gap of history between 400 and 1300 where there was no celebration in mid-February.
- By the 1300s, February 14th was deemed as a day for love in England, which coincided with the first day of the bird’s mating season.
- And by the early 1400s, men began writing loving Valentine’s letters to their wives.
- It was common to gift your friends with small presents on Valentine’s Day during the 1800s.
- Printed greeting cards gained popularity in the 1900s.
- In present day, people buy more Valentine’s Day cards than any other holiday (except for Christmas).
Although it has become a commercialized holiday, you can still make it a special day with your family! Try one of these 12 ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids!
1 – Countdown to Valentine’s Day paper chain
Create a paper chain to countdown the days till Valentine’s Day, starting on February 1. Let your kids take turns removing links. Everyday when a link is removed, say one thing you love about your family.
2 – Flowers
Flowers have always been a way to express love for someone you adore. Buy your kids flowers in their favorite colors. Place them in a pretty vase in their bedroom.
Or purchase flowers as a family and give them to someone that your whole family loves, like Grandma or your next door neighbor or a family friend.
3 – Decorate your house
Waking up to a decorated house is almost as exciting as waking up on Christmas morning! The night before, string up decorations in your living room and dining room to surprise your child in the morning.
- Hang up red, white, and pink crepe paper.
- Blow up balloons and draw hearts on them. Or put heart-shaped confetti inside.
- String up a “Happy Valentine’s Day” or “I love you” banner
- Tape Xs and Os on the walls.
- Cut out paper hearts and tape them to the walls and doors.
- Put out a candy dish with candy conversation hearts, Sweet Tart Hearts, or Hershey kisses in it.
4 – Give your child a Valentine.
Buy a Valentine’s Day card and write your child a love note. Leave it out for them to find in the morning, either on their bathroom counter or where there sit for breakfast. Don’t know what to say? Try one of these ideas:
- I love (blank) about you.
- You make me smile when you (blank).
- (blank) makes you easy to love!
- My favorite memory of us is when we (blank).
- I’m so glad you’re my son/daughter because (blank).
- I’ve loved you for (blank) days and counting! (Calculate the number of days since they were born or when you found out you were pregnant.)
- I’m so proud of you because (blank).
- Draw them a silly picture.
- Put on lipstick and kiss the card or envelope.
5 – Heart-shaped Breakfast
Make heart-shaped breakfast!
- Try cutting pancakes, bacon, or toast into a heart.
- Arrange fruit in the shape of a heart, or an X and an O.
- Bonus if you dye the food pink or red! (Including oatmeal or cereal)
- Make a red smoothie with strawberries and yogurt.
- Serve food on a heart-shaped plate or doilies.
6 – Heart-shaped Lunch
Valentine’s Day only happens once a year, so why not make every meal of the day special? Have a heart-shaped lunch too! Cut their sandwich or quesadilla into the shape of a heart, send them to school with a heart-shaped love note, or stick a napkin decorated with hearts in you child’s lunchbox.
7 – An afternoon kiss
Surprise your child with an afternoon kiss! Although a real kiss is nice, a Hershey’s kiss is a Valentine’s Day surprise treat!
8 – Host a tea party
Tea parties are special, fancy, and the perfect way to celebrate this holiday. Complete the tea party with fancy clothes, fine china, tea (or juice), and mini cakes. Place a delicate tablecloth on the table. Display the cakes on a lovely platter. And be silly by slurping up your tea or drinking it with your pinkies sticking out.
9 – Heart-shaped Dinner
Remember how breakfast and lunch were special with heart-shaped food? A Valentine’s Day dinner with your kids should be the same way! Make pizza for dinner, and serve it with heart-shaped pepperonis.
(Hint: homemade pizza is yummy, but there’s nothing wrong with adding your heart-shaped pepperonis to a takeout or frozen pizza.)
10 – Eat dinner by candlelight.
Romantic Valentine’s day meals are never complete without candles. Grab a few candles and spread them out on your dining table. Turn off all of the other lights in your house and eat Valentine’s dinner by candlelight. Your kids will be tickled by the fun atmosphere, and candlelight puppets may emerge by the end of the meal.
11 – Heart-shaped Dessert
Yes, your heart-shaped day should end with heart-shaped desserts! Bake cookies at home in the shape of a heart. Decorate with red, pink, and white sprinkles or icing. Older children may even enjoy writing on the cookies to make them look like candy conversation hearts.
12 – Or go out for dessert
After all, Valentine’s Day is well-known for dates. Take a family date and venture out for festive donuts or cake as a family.
Love your kids!
Valentine’s Day is a fantastic day to remind your kids how much you love them! Whether you do everything mentioned above or only complete one of those ideas, you’re doing a great job. Your a fabulous Mama who loves her kids, and that’s what matters!
How do you spend Valentine’s Day with your kids? What special family traditions have you done over the years?
Want to keep reading?