Celebrate Love With These Valentine's Day Traditions
Love is in the air! Can you smell it, or is that my diffuser?!
I absolutely love Valentine's Day and our family's traditions! (Que a grumble from the peanut gallery.) Listen, I know what you’re thinking. “It’s a hallmark holiday designed to sell cards, teddy bears, and chocolate to unsuspecting consumers.” As it turns out Valentine’s Day, as a day to celebrate love, started during the middle ages, and the oldest known Valentine was sent in 1415. (Click here to read more about the history of Valentine’s Day.) So you may be right that Hallmark has propelled us into overindulgence and frivolous spending, BUT when given a reason to party and solidify fun family time, I won’t balk at your silly objections. I believe that each holiday is whatever YOU make of it, and in our case we choose to celebrate and cultivate love. Love for family. Love for neighbors and friends. And even love for our enemies.
Growing up, Valentine’s Day was so much fun! Every year, February 14th brought a trail of hearts, lots of little presents, and a very special tea party! Having such great traditions as a child set me up to be confident on Valentine's Day because I didn't need a significant other to make it special. While all of my high school and middle schools friends who lacked a boyfriend or girlfriend sulked, I was pumped to get home and celebrate! What a gift! I was just as excited for this day when I was 18 as when I was 5! It was a very special and fun day and there was always lots to love.
I am now enjoying continuing these traditions with my family. It is so much fun for my sweet little ones and of course for me too! To prepare for the celebration, I go to the dollar store and purchase some simple, useful, and fun items such as a valentine’s craft, heart shaped slinky, valentine themed pencils, stickers, etc. With two children, I currently buy two of everything. I wrap each little gift with some special wrapping paper or colored tissue paper. I then cut out hearts from construction paper (or you can buy the foam ones from the dollar store and re-use them each year.) These will be used for our trail! I also plan out what treats we will have and prep them the day before.(Follow this link for some sweet but healthy options!) The day begins with lots of love as usual and great expectation of what is to come. After an early dinner, while my husband plays with the kids in another room, I hang streamers and decorations and set up a tea party. I then set up the trail and place the presents in pairs along it. I always add some essential oils to my diffusers to set the mood! (Click here for diffuser recipes). When all is ready it’s time for the fun to begin. The children come out of the room and are greeted by a trail of hearts. They follow the trail through the hallway, down the stairs, and around the playroom. Along the way they stop and open the little gifts together. When they reach the dining room, they see the beautifully decorated room and table set with tea, treats, and a few more special gifts. Here we include some bigger items like a book and a shirt. We exchange cards, open gifts, pig out, and enjoy the party! Those of you who know me, know I like to keep it as healthy as I can! Check out some great recipes here!
The family time during the tea party is a great time to talk about why you are celebrating. We use this time to teach our kids about love. We talk about who we love and about God, the author of love! This year I plan on writing some verses on cards and setting them on the table to read and talk about. Here are some suggestions:
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
“…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
In my opinion, LOVE is a great excuse for a fun celebration! Whether you decide to use all of these ideas to create new traditions for your family, or just a few, I wish you a happy and fulfilling Valentine’s Day!
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