I try not to go too over the top with holidays around our house. Mostly because if I set up the expectations to be too high, I tend to get stressed out and then nobody is happy. I love traditions and can get very distraught when I can’t keep them going year after year so I’ve learned that simple is better when it comes to minor holidays. Our family has two easy traditions for Valentine’s Day that we’ve somehow managed to hold onto and both take very little prep or mental capacity. In case you’re feeling the judge-y eyes of Pinterest upon you, here’s a little inspiration.
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Valentine’s Dinner at our house is always fondue. We tend to stick with kid friendly cheese and chocolate fondue which helps the picky eaters at our table be able to participate. I limit myself and my budget to just 3-5 dipper options for each course. We bust out our oh-so-practical wedding gift for this once a year experience and I feel like a rock star mom who makes dinner special. I love that the decision making process is already done so I’m not scrambling for a fancy recipe or heart shaped meatloaf tins in the wee hours of the night. I think interactive meals are always more fun and we do tend to set the table with some fancy plates and napkins to make it more festive. Here’s some recipes we’ve used before with some of my favorite dipping options.
Favorite Items for Dipping – Bread cubes, broccoli, carrots, sliced sausage, mushrooms, cubed chicken
Favorite Items for Dipping – marshmallows, strawberries, apple slices, pineapple, banana, pound cake
We even tried Pizza Fondue one year and that was a big hit!
Our second tradition is even easier than the first. The night before Valentine’s Day, after the boys are asleep, we cut out hearts and write things we love about them to decorate their bedroom doors. When they wake up, they have a fun surprise waiting for them and I can’t tell you how many times they’ve asked us to re-read the hearts or looked at them throughout the rest of the month. It’s such a simple thing but I can tell that both of them are really impacted by those words of affirmation on their doors and I like that it focuses the holiday on showing love to other rather than just buying gifts and candy for romantic partners. I use whatever construction paper or cardstock I have around and make between 5-8 hearts per door. Some years they’re all in white printer paper and sometimes I’m fancier with some scrapbook pages but they honestly don’t care. I cut the hearts out by hand and make the imperfection of this project a good spiritual practice in letting go. If that overwhelms you, you can always pick up something like this or this to make it even easier.
So those are our two Valentine’s traditions. They take less than an hour to prep for and they are already decided for me each year which saves me from having to make new choices (a must for my brain). My best advice is pick one or two things you love doing and let the rest of it go. I promise your kids will remember those special things and won’t miss any of the other parts because a less stressed mom or dad is always better than a thousand cupids shaped muffins!
What are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions? How does your family celebrate the day of love?