How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids?

A few weeks back I was all enthusiastic about celebrating Valentine’s Day with the kids. I stopped into Hobby Lobby (my favorite store besides Target) and bought glittery pastel puffy paint for decorating heart cards, cute old-fashioned picks for cupcakes, heart plate and napkins. I’ve been practicing chocolate heart cookies and making special cherry drinks for the kids. (Cherry 7-Up with cherries in it.)

But after scrounging through closets this week searching for shoe boxes so the kids can make Valentine’s mailboxes and forcing them to write more than 40 Valentine’s between the two of them, I’m feeling a little annoyed with the holiday.

All my mom buddies are doing the same thing. We all had children at the kitchen table on Tuesday night writing out their Valentine’s cards and taping candy to the packages.

Our favorite fill-in host Keith is such a prepared mom she keeps shoe boxes around just for these types of projects. (I never save shoe boxes. Would diaper wipe boxes work? I have plenty of those.)

I’m taking in ice cream sundaes for the kids’ classrooms and special cherry drinks.

I’ve got special meal and dessert planned for Sunday for the family. Heart pancakes, chocolate dipped strawberries, passion fruit juice and of course bacon. (We’re planning to do church on Saturday night so we can sleep in on Sunday.) And then an easy lasagna in a slow cooker for dinner with homemade skillet brownies.

But I don’t have any good inexpensive gift ideas for them yet. I keep thinking about comic books. I know Walsh would love that but I’m not sure about the girls.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids? Do you celebrate with the kids or is the holiday really meant for couples? Did you have enough darn shoeboxes? How are they celebrating at school? What are some good inexpensive gift ideas?

Bonus: Some Valentine’s Day craft ideas for kids

Kaboose.com

Disney’s Family Fun

118 comments Add your comment

Wow...

February 11th, 2010
7:07 am

…you are one compulsive mom! I applaud your initiative regarding your children, yet you do seem to go overboard for all “holiday” events at school. And, while Valentine’s Day is a day for love and remembrance, it is NOT a holiday! So, have fun and try to remember that it was established for LOVERS (you do not mention your husband once in this story), and that does not mean children, per se!

ABC

February 11th, 2010
7:12 am

I agree with @Wow. This doesn’t need to be so stressful. I’m sorry Theresa, but you seem to be the stereotypical mom that some of us simply aren’t or don’t aspire to be.
For V-day, our school box was a family project, so everyone got involved which made it take less time and made it more fun. My son only had to address 18 cards, which was done over a couple of sittings. That’s it, done.
We got my son a small gift (a book) and I got my husband a card and we’ll go to dinner. It doesn’t have to be a bigger deal than that if you show your love for your family all year around.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2010
7:33 am

Fond memories here…when my kids were little they would convince Daddy to buy them their school box of Valentines in early January…as soon as the Christmas things were on clearance,

Of course, by the time the kids actually needed them they were either worn out from looking at them or no one could remember where the kids put them and we had to buy more I finally had to make a rule that they could be purchased early with Daddy but Mommy had to keep an eye on them…..LOL.

I have no big plans for Sunday, as I was supposed to be out of town. Two years ago, I was in Tennessee and felt sorry for the young hotel desk clerk who was working on Valentine’s night. I asked her how she ended up working and she said she had just broken up with her boyfriend and volunteered, so everyone else could be with their honey. I went to dinner ( looks ridiculous to be eating out alone on Valentine’s Day) and brought her back a GIANT piece of chocolate cake….we laughed that we both spent the night alone.

Reality….I am beginning to feel planned out after all these years.
I am trying to plan a summer vacation and it would be helpful if my daughter’s High School would set the date for graduation SOON. I need to plan her graduation dinner and do not want to have a deposit on a beach house when we probably need to be here for graduation….LOL.

@ tiger.. please read my post late last night about only children….this is not a fight I would pick, Of course, I just have an opinion and that is it. There are certainly benefits to having an only child too! They typically get the best of both parents and can be more mature and verbal too. …at least the ones I have worked with in the classroom.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2010
7:34 am

My comment evaporated Theresa…maybe you can dig it out….pretty early for this to happen!

BRC

February 11th, 2010
7:38 am

I will admit to saving shoe boxes specifically for this time of year. Maybe you could use it as an excuse to go buy yourself a new pair? ;-)

heresthedeal

February 11th, 2010
7:48 am

compulsive, annoying…same thing. if you didn’t have a blog to brag about it on, you wouldnt be making sundaes for the whole class, It’s not for the kids, it’s for you, supermom!!

JATL

February 11th, 2010
7:52 am

Yeah, I would take it down a notch (or five). I understand wanting every holiday and occasion to be memorable and fantastic for your kids. I fall into that a lot myself! However, I like to remember how things were when I was a kid and if I enjoyed it or not. I have to say that I always enjoyed Valentine’s Day at school, and part of it was because we decorated our boxes AT SCHOOL! Maybe that is happening -you didn’t say if they were doing them at home, just that you needed boxes. I’m sure any smaller-sized box would do. Do you really need to buy your kids gifts for V-day? I always think of it more as a day to spice up adult love lives or declare a crush or something in adolescence or beyond. For kids I think heart-shaped pancakes or some Valentine’s cookies and their Valentines cards they take for friends should be enough.

For my kids -a Valentine card and a special treat (heart shaped candy or a cookie -whatever they’re into) is the extent I’m going to. My hubby and I celebrate on our own.

JATL

February 11th, 2010
7:53 am

My comment evaporated as well Theresa.

Jeff

February 11th, 2010
7:59 am

My little girl is 7 and I’m taking her out to dinner, dressup and all. That is, assuming her mom, the ex cooperates. I know, gotta pay for past decisions! :)

RJ

February 11th, 2010
8:01 am

Theresa, I so miss those days! Since my son is now in the 6th grade, no more Valentine’s day cards and candies (other than what he’s giving to friends). I remember my daughter’s 5th grade class having a Valentine’s Day box decorating contest. She was so excited! Today she took lollips to school for her friends in high school. Funny how they still enjoy the simple things.

I always get my kids something for Valentine’s Day. Usually my daughter gets one of those cute shirts at Old Navy. I can normally get them for about $5. I give my son a shirt, boxers or just candy. This year I’m thinking of doing something a little different but I don’t know what that will be. I like the idea of heart shaped pancakes.

RJ

February 11th, 2010
8:04 am

Oh, I’m surprising my hubby by taking him out to brunch Sunday after church. The kids will go straight to the grandparents house! It’s a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to take him to.

Photius

February 11th, 2010
8:10 am

I teach my kids a bit of truth: Valentine’s Day is a conspiracy by the card and floral industry to drum up sales and its entirely focused around the woman. Just because you give your special someone flowers or a gift on February 14th means nothing; doing something out of the blue for no reason other than love means more. Teach your children not to fall prey into these BS days of celebration so the machine can manipulate you for money.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2010
8:11 am

I’ll find the other comments as soon as I get on the box —- I’m pretty sure I have strep throat so I’m not super thrilled about taking in ice creams to the classes. I had planned the first grade class because I’m the room mom and nobody else volunteered. I was trying to choose the easiest thing — taking in ice cream and toppings is easier than baking the cookies or cupcakes.Also no allergy concerns — we have a peanut/egg allergy in class to worry about and I hate for the child not to eat what everyone else does. I got a call from my daughter’s class room mom saying she needed help. I told her I had a 5-quart jug of ice cream and a big ole thing of chocolate syrup. so now I’m going to both classes. In mentioning it I was trying to describe how the kids were celebrating at school — I do ask that in my end.

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2010
8:20 am

T…if you have strep throat you probably do not need to be touching any food that will be touched by students….just my opinion and I may be the only one who thinks this. You may need to stay at home. Nurse&Mother? If you are pretty sure then I imagine you have not yet been diagnosed by the Doctor and have been taking antibiotics for at least 24 hours…are you still contagious?

Not on topic but I thought of you when I passed the Progressive Lighting Outlet store off of I85 and Houschton ( sp?) Ga yesterday. Just a tip for anyone who may be interested in a good price….or not…..I did not know it was there.

BShepCarlin

February 11th, 2010
8:34 am

hey..if you have an egg allergy be careful which ice cream you pick…some contain egg. Good luck and get well.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2010
8:35 am

I’m trying to get a strep test today to be sure just for that — I did check the ice cream and it just said milk allergy warning so I think I’m safe — I’m going to email the mom and list off what I have to make sure she’s cool — thanks for the warning on the eggs though

MomsRule

February 11th, 2010
8:36 am

We are not really into V Day so hubby and I don’t typically exchange gifts or do anything out of the ordinary. I prefer demonstrations of love “just because” not because the calendar says “it’s time.” We may go out for date night but we would be doing that anyway so we have nothing specifically planned for Valentine’s.

Re the kids, I’ve always given them a box of chocolates. My oldest doesn’t do anything at school and the youngest is not interested. This year and last year the youngest has had the option of bringing cards/candy (if you chose to bring you must bring for the entire class). They don’t have an official party/celebration but they do make time for the exchanging of Valentine’s. For whatever reason he does not want to participate.

Becky

February 11th, 2010
8:36 am

My husband is always in Daytona for V’s Day..Has been for the last 16 years.I usually just get a card as does he..I will probably take the grandbabies out to an early dinner and give tehm a small box of chocolates..We don’t go overboard on it..They do cards at school and church..

@Jeff..Hoping that the ex will let you do that..Little girls love (IMO) doing that kind of stuff with Daddy.I know that mine loves it when Poppy does things like this with her..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2010
8:44 am

this is what I want for V-Day day — SNOW and the ability not to go anywhere!!!!!From the snow story on the front page —-

The Weather Service said early Thursday that a low-pressure system developing over the Gulf of Mexico should give metro Atlanta a 60 percent chance of snow on Friday.

“It is not a question of whether we will see winter weather — basically snow — across most, if not all of [north and central Georgia], but rather a question of how much,” the Weather Service said.

Forecasters said accumulations of 1 to 2 inches of snow are possible across north and central Georgia by the time the snow ends Friday night, with the greatest accumulations from Atlanta to Athens southward to the Columbus and Macon areas.

DB

February 11th, 2010
8:52 am

My dad would always give my mom the Whitman Sampler box of candy, and I would always get a smaller red heart-shaped box of candy. I always got my kids a funny card, maybe their favorite candy (conversation hearts for the girl, heart-shaped Reese Cup for the boy), and I’d pull out the heart-shaped cupcake pan for Valentine Day morning muffins. That’s it for the kids.

For the hubby, we generally only exchange cards, and I fix a nice dinner. I hate going out on Valentine’s Day, because the restaurants are too crowded, the service is spotty, and it’s not as though he doesn’t take me out to eat quite a bit, anyway. Also, he gets a pass on flowers for Valentine’s Day, since he likes to bring me flowers “just because” throughout the year, and I see no reason for him to pay double just because it’s February 14th. Howeer, yesterday, he stopped by the office on his way out of town to deliver a dozen roses, “so you can enjoy them while I’m gone.” They are sitting on my desk, and yes, I am enjoying them tremendously! As for other celebration that day . . . well, are the details THAT important? ;-) Use your imagination — I certainly do!

Lori

February 11th, 2010
8:52 am

I wish I had your kind of time!!! Of course I celebrate with my son. I don’t think of Valentine’s Day as a day for couples, but also it’s a day to express your love for others. We don’t really go overboard though. A card and some candy, maybe a stuffed animal or something is about it.

FCM

February 11th, 2010
8:57 am

Like most things I do with the kids. I want low key, easy, relaxed, fun, where the memory is that we spent time together. That said, I am guilty of having planned a fondue for them for this weekend. Chocolate covered Strawberries, Marshmellows, etc. We have not done it in awhile and they enjoy it.

Chinese New Year happens to be Sunday as well. We were invited to join friends to celebrate that and we will.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2010
9:04 am

I saw some great recipes for the Chinese New Year! I think mine will like dipping the strawberries.

I guess it was four years ago when the Olympics were in Salt Lake City (was that 4?) Michael had been sent to cover the Olympics for the entire month of Feb. He sent a giant bouquet of roses to me and then also another dozen to Rose. We both loved them.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2010
9:07 am

Lilina did end up with a decorated diaper wipe box for her Valentines. the flip top is actually nice. Walsh made a Mario Cart Valentine’s box — do you see a theme?

Amen....

February 11th, 2010
9:17 am

Lori..Thank you for saying it’s not just for couples..I have a coworker that has read me every single thing that her daughter has posted on her FB page, saying how much she hates Valentines Day..She’s 20 and has never had a boyfriend and it is about to drive me crazy..This is why we are teaching our two little ones that it’s about love for everyone..

Salt Lake Olympics was 2002...

February 11th, 2010
9:23 am

…my how time flies….

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 11th, 2010
9:30 am

cld

February 11th, 2010
10:05 am

I agree, too, that V-Day isn’t just for lovers. It is showing our sentiment to those we love. There are very different playing fields and ways of celebrating, but acknowledging none-the-less. Growing up, we (kids) usually got some kind of candy from our parents (aka Mom). And Mom would make a nicer-than-normal dinner with dessert (we only had dessert on special occasions).

That’s pretty much how DH and I celebrate now. A nicer-than-normal dinner at home, cards and normally some new lingerie (as noted on the VS topic). Our son’s daycare class has a party Friday afternoon. Since he normally stays home with me on Fridays, I will take him in for the party and am bringing strawberries with Cool Whip (they are toddlers – I didn’t think strawberries were very toddler-friendly, but it was the teacher’s request) and plain Elmo valentines. We sent flowers for the daycare directors (from our son), which are being delivered today.

I also had him color V-Day themed pictures to send to his aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Nothing extravagant at our house.

JJ

February 11th, 2010
10:07 am

I don’t need one commercial day out of the year to tell people I love them. I do it every day. I tell my mother I love her every time I talk to her, same for my brother, daughter and nieces.

There’s a lot of love in my world and I don’t need cards and flowers to show/know it.

TechMom

February 11th, 2010
10:15 am

Wow, definitely a lot of planning for a “Hallmark Holiday” as we call them in our house. My son is in HS but it’s a good excuse for the kids to bring candy to school so he’s got a big bag to hand out (no special girl but a lot of friends). Some of the girls in his class still hand out the kiddie Valentines. I tried to talk my son into getting the Toy Story ones at Target since it was his favorite movie growing up! He of course just rolled his eyes at me! His school is doing a ‘dessert table’ at lunch for the high schoolers (yes, he goes to a private school) so I’m sending in cupcakes.

We try not to make big deals out of these holidays. I hate crowded restraraunts and jacked-up prices on flowers so we usually try to go out on a date night a different weekend and I like surprise flowers much more (seriously, how much thought goes into buying flowers for your wife/gf when you walk into every store and there’s a big display right in front of you?) Since we aren’t going out for dinner on Sunday, we’ll probably have something nicer than normal at home (no Hamburger Helper) but certainly nothing extravagent.

s

February 11th, 2010
10:20 am

We just bought a bag of suckers that had a place to address the wrapper. My first grade son addressed them using a sharpie. Thats it.

I will buy him a gift this weekend.

Amen....

February 11th, 2010
10:31 am

@TechMom..I’m with you on the flower markup..I would much rather have surprise flowers over roses for Valentines Day..

LM

February 11th, 2010
10:31 am

I am heading out of town with a girlfriend for the weekend. She has been down lately, health and financial troubles, so I thought a girls weekend would be fun. I even asked her husband if it was okay before I asked her. My wonderful husband mentioned something about flowers a week ago, wanted to have the deliver to the place we will be staying but I told him it was not necessary. He sends flowers often, has them delivered to my office “just because”. He lets me know I am specail daily. Though he is away and I may not see him until August, he ask me if there is anything he can do to make things easier on me. He knows things have been difficult at work, my Mothers health issues, the pain I have been in and my upcomming surgery. Things he can’t control, and really can’t help with, but just knowing he understands and would like to help means so much to me.

My daughter will be celebrating Valentines in Ireland this year (school trip) so if I had not planned this weekend get-a-way, I would have been on my own. Just hope it does not snow too bad we can’t make the trip or get home Sunday.

ZachsMom

February 11th, 2010
10:38 am

My husband and I are spending Saturday night at a B&B in Helen with a heart shaped tub, fireplace and a bottle of wine.

JJ

February 11th, 2010
10:38 am

I much prefer something I can plant in the yard, as opposed to flowers in a vase that will die in a week. Total waste of money. Give me a pack of seeds and I’ll make flowers grow in the yard.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 11th, 2010
10:40 am

@Zachs Mom…..I’m with you. How do I spend V-day with my kid? By getting him a sitter on Saturday night and going out to a nice dinner with my wife.

cld

February 11th, 2010
10:41 am

Haha, @JJ – I wish I could get flowers to grow in my yard! It seems the hyacinths and vincas are about the only things I can plant that won’t be eaten by the deer/rabbits before I get to enjoy them. I have a garden of daylilies . . . it wasn’t until our third summer in our house, that I actually got to see one bloom. The first two years, the deer got to them before the buds opened! And don’t even get me started on the rabbits who dug up my tulips . . .

HB

February 11th, 2010
10:42 am

I think Theresa’s celebration sounds nice and not overblown. A special breakfast and dinner (it’s lasgana, people — she’s not cooking a Thanksgiving feast!) will make for a nice, cozy family day at home. For little gifts, does Rose have long hair? Would she enjoy a fancy hairbow or two (like those made with colored shoestrings or loopy grosgrain)? Pink or red suits the occasion without being something that can only be worn for the day.

As for snow, I live just outside DC and had completely forgotten Valentine’s was this week after being pretty much snowed in since Saturday. The days have blurred together (today’s Tursday, right?). So if you get that snow you’re hoping for Theresa, my wish for you is that it’s only a fun few inches. :)

Tiger needs me on his PR team

February 11th, 2010
10:50 am

@MJG…don’t worry about the only child thing. When his mother and I made the decision to not have more we realized we had to take into considerations the issues that come with being and having an only child. He did start school this last year and mid way through his teacher asked if he was an only child….my heart sank until she said “I would have never guessed that.” So far so good, but he’s definitely a work in progress.

JJ

February 11th, 2010
10:53 am

cld – if you take the hair out of your hairbrush, and put it around your garden, the rabbits will stay out. They smell human, and don’t go near it.

Also, Marigolds will keep insects away. Nature’s natural repellant. I put a border of marigolds around my veggies……

s

February 11th, 2010
10:56 am

I don’t think I want snow anymore. I am so tired of this winter. This is the worst case of Seasonal Affective Disorder I’ve ever had. I don’t remember a winter prior to this that it stayed cold this long. Usually, we have a cold snap that lasts a week and then a nice week. I know I golfed a ton last winter, this winter, only once. I think I am getting rickets from the lack of sunshine. I am ready for the time to change back and for nice warm weather!

In my mind I am wearing shorts and playing in the grass at a nice summer outdoor concert!

cld

February 11th, 2010
10:58 am

Thanks, JJ! I used a different form of human scent one year, on the advice of my husband’s grandmother. (It worked great, but most would be horrified – and I wouldn’t use it near edible plants!) Last year, I used some sliced Irish Spring which lasted most of the summer. As the blooms were fading, the rabbits finally got them. I’ll have to try hair also – I’ve got plenty of that!

Becky

February 11th, 2010
11:11 am

@cld..According to my sister that gardens a lot..She said that if you have a fence around your garden, if you stagger the heights of the posts, the deer will not bother it..She learned this from a tour at Mt. Vernon..I do not have a green thumb, so I really don’t know if this works or not..Good luck..

samlee

February 11th, 2010
11:12 am

When my children were at home, they always had a special Valentine breakfast with a card and gift by their place. Now I send Valentine cards to all of them and the grands. I bake Valentine cookies for all of my students at school. High schoolers love a treat and to be remembered for something special. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers, it is a day to tell others we love and care for them.

Julia

February 11th, 2010
11:26 am

I go a little mushy with Jacob but he appreciates it.. We have church on sunday with a icecream social after the evening service.. but I will get him a little box of candy and he will want to do this hole in ones with heart shapes :)

Lady Strange

February 11th, 2010
11:57 am

I doubt I will do anything this year since my son is only 2. I’d be happy just to get a hug from my boy, he gives the best hugs.

jd

February 11th, 2010
12:13 pm

My girls are both a little old for doing anything at school but I always pick up a card & stuffed animal for them. As for me and the hubby, we’ll be having some friends over for steaks and playing electronic monopoly in front of the fireplace. Oh, and a cooler of Miller Lite by our side :)

jd

February 11th, 2010
12:15 pm

Oh and Theresa, just go by your local shoe store and they’ll give you the boxes you need.

Katie

February 11th, 2010
12:19 pm

we normally get the kids some candy, a balloon and sometimes a book…nothing fancy, but they love it!

just had S.’s class party – heart shaped waffles, cheese sticks, grapes, chex mix, cookies, bingo, graphing, and craft………it was fun! now none of the kids will eat lunch, but oh well we gave them some nutrition ..LOL!

snow is fine this weekend, just make the roads ok, in case i go into labor! oh, and i had S. do all her Valentines last week, just in case I was in the hospital..so we didnt have the tuesday night v-day card fest :)

Why do people...

February 11th, 2010
12:23 pm

…think that beer or wine adds to the party? Can we not just enjoy for enjoyments sake? And if you do enjoy libations, why tell everyone?