It happens every year and it’s really no surprise once it gets here. After all, the stores have been hitting us all in the face with hearts and chocolates since the day after Christmas. If you’re caught off guard by Valentine’s Day, then you probably haven’t been out in public in over a month. And, if that’s the case, I’m sure you’ve had your reasons. To you, I say welcome back! You’re just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Folks, Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be for those adorable couples walking around the mall and holding hands so tightly that they almost seem afraid to let go. No, it’s a day that can be enjoyed by the whole family. And it should be enjoyed by the whole family. So if you’re looking for some ideas of how you and the kids can share February 14 together, look no further.
1. Make Valentines – Okay, it’s a good idea to get the most obvious one out of the way from the start. You could go to the store and buy some of those cute little valentines, like the one with a picture of a bumblebee that says, “BEE MINE!” Yes, those are good for the occasional laugh or wave of nostalgia, and it’s the thought that counts. But it’s really not hard to work together to make some great valentines that will probably mean a lot more in the years to come. Grab some paper and crayons or markers. If you’re feeling adventurous, get out the glue and glitter. Disclaimer: glitter is messy. You will want to spread out some newspaper on the table before you break out the glitter. Also, you will want to spread some newspaper on the floor. Because glitter will get everywhere. And just when you think you’ve cleaned it all up, you’ll find it in your hair. Three weeks later. Anyway, don’t just make valentines for each other. Make them for friends and family outside your household. You’ll make a lot of people smile. Especially if they see you’ve embraced the brave world where glitter exists.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
2. Write Love Letters – This is very closely related to the previous idea. What are valentines if not succinct love letters? Well, with a real love letter, you can take the time to really write out all the reasons you love each member of your family. This may be difficult for those of you with small children who have yet to learn how to write, but that could be even better. Moms, help your kids write a love letter to dad. Dads, help the kids write a love letter to mom. While you’re working together, imagine how many memories you’ll build while sharing what you all love about each other.
3. Watch a Movie – The romantic comedy, or rom-com, is a mainstay when it comes to Valentine’s Day cinema. But, let’s be honest, there aren’t a whole lot of rom-coms that are necessarily appropriate for the whole family to enjoy while you pile onto the couch and munch on microwave popcorn. If you want a good, romantic, family friendly film, check out Lady and the Tramp. You can’t go wrong with some classic Disney animation. Try to deny the fact that your heart melts just a little bit when those two dogs share a plate of spaghetti. Just try.
4. Say “I Love You” – If it were left to that, this would be a simple suggestion. But don’t just tell someone you love them. Tell them why. For example, “I love you, son, because you make me laugh!” “I love you, mom, because you sing to me when I’m scared.” “I love you, dad, because you tell the worst jokes in the world. But you commit to those jokes, and that is impressive.” Of course, you will need to come up with your own reasons for loving the people in your family. Because everyone is different. Not all sons make their parents laugh. Not all mothers sing to their children when they’re scared. But it is safe to say that all fathers tell horrible jokes. That may be a universal fact.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
5. Bake Things – The things you bake don’t have to be heart shaped. Although, it is Valentine’s Day. What’s it going to hurt if you have some heart shaped chocolate chip cookies? The only requirement here is that your kitchen is filled with the smell of something warm and gooey and possibly not very good for you. A second requirement would be that you do this as a family. That part should go without saying at this point, though.
6. Go Out and Commit Random Acts of Kindness – Take a field trip as a family. Get into the car and drive around town, looking for opportunities to do nice things for people. Remember those valentines that you can buy at the store that say “BEE MINE?” Get some of those and visit the library. Place those cards with handwritten messages inside random books as a nice surprise for the next person who checks them out. Other ideas: visit a nursing home; plant a tree; write messages in chalk on the sidewalk; hold the door for a stranger. It can be remarkably easy to make someone’s day.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
7. Pray Together – Make a point to thank God for your loved ones. Thank Him for His love and the ways in which He displays that love. Thank Him for the love that Christ showed us when He gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sin. By the way, this is not something to be reserved for Valentine’s Day It’s recommended that your family pray together on a regular basis. All year long.
“But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple.” (Psalm 5:7)
Many of these suggested activities can be enjoyed throughout the year. Valentine’s Day does not hold the monopoly on the emotion of love. It’s something that can and should be felt and expressed 365 days a year. In a few short days, the stores will clear their shelves of everything pink and red to make way for pastel M&M’s. That doesn’t mean that the love you feel should make an equally swift exit. Don’t allow love to be a fleeting feeling. Make sure it’s an action you take every day.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)