Let’s face it, holidays with 33% of a dozen children can be super fun…and super expensive! Now that Audrey Hepburn says I am officially cleared to wear pearls, I find that I’m less concerned about giving gifts that are customarily given at each holiday.
Just before Valentine’s Day of last year, Ashley, my 6-year-old, excitedly informed me of how she’s so totally excited for Valentine’s Day because she gets more presents. “Well, that’s nice, sweetie. Ummm, excuse me…WHAT? Says who???”
“It’s a holiday so we get presents, Mom. That’s what we do.” Replied my Sassy McSassy-Pants. Oh boy! I had to pull the “Says who?” card right there at that very moment. I think pressure is mounting for parents to provide their children with presents of increasing scale with each holiday that passes and all I have to say about that this Valentine’s Day is a bold HUMBUG!
I feel a personal calling to release you, dear parent/guardian/aunt/uncle/WHATEVER from said expectation and prove that you can certainly provide a sweet, simple, and frugal experience for your child/ren this holiday. And I’ll raise the bar even further to enthusiastically proclaim that you can have a more meaningful celebration with spending very little, if anything at all. Just pick a few of these ideas and you’ll be good to go!
A “Heartfelt” Drink
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for silicone molds and specialty ice cubes. This year, I rolled out my heart silicone molds and we will enjoy a morning mocktail featuring heart-shaped ice cubes & Martinelli’s alongside yogurt parfait topped with granola and strawberry slices. (Ahem, sliced strawberries look a lot like hearts…just sayin’.) If the thought of carbonated apple juice makes you cringe and run for the hills, just skip the Martinelli’s and add a little bit of cranberry juice to the ice-cube tray to make beautiful red hearts to accompany your youngin’s water. Either way, it’s a SWEET, SIMPLE, AND FRUGAL way to add a little love to your loved-one’s Valentine’s Day.
Conversation Hearts of a Different Kind
You’ll have to forgive my novice photography skills…all I can say is I tried my best! A friend of mine (Yay Sondra!) shared with me an idea of taping a paper heart with positive affirmations on each of her child’s bedroom door every night. I have four children, three of them being young enough to where this will work, and let me say that this idea has been by far my most favorite of Valentine’s Day preparations! I decided to add a little Tiffany-style-flare and add details about each of them…praising them for who they are as well as sharing the story before their story began. Each morning, Sasha, Ashley, and Caleb run to the door and search for the new heart and it just makes my soul overflow with joy when I get the opportunity to sit with them and reminisce. This is definitely an exercise in family bonding!
Yes, I agree that it can be rather intense to remember putting the heart up every.single.night; however, Sondra had the wonderful idea to pre-write them before February 1st so they are all set and ready to go. Then, just set a reminder every night to tape them to the door. I cut my hearts myself but you can find heart-shaped paper doilies at the dollar store to help make life just that much easier.
Instead of Cut Flowers, Potted Succulent
Can I just say that I’m also a sucker for flowers? Lilies, roses, cherry blossoms, OH MY! Here’s a little snippet you might not know about me…I have tattooed “earrings” of a lotus on each earlobe! A beautiful garden is my happy place. Along with the confession that I absolute LOVE pretty flowers, I feel it necessary to admit that I am a HORRIBLE gardener. It’s something I’m working on and finally seeing some progress. Enter succulent plants! Requiring very little care, only occasional watering and a little clean up every once in a while, they are a “greener,” and usually less expensive alternative to cut flowers. My 10-year-old shares my affinity for horticulture and I know she’ll be thrilled to refine her gardening skills with a succulent!
“My Heart Pops For You”-Corn
Popcorn is a favorite snack in our household so I was thrilled to find this Pretty-In-Pink Popcorn recipe from Jessica at Butter With a Side of Bread. So easy and frugal…this is sure to be on our list for more than just Valentine’s Day treats! I already have a bunch of cellophane baggies left over from a baby shower that I’ll use; otherwise, I’d just whip up this recipe and fill a sandwich bag. The visual appeal of the pink is perfect! In keeping with the Conversation Hearts of Another Kind, I will cut out a few more hearts and attach them to each bag, saying “My Heart Pops for You!” Cuteness overload, right here! (Click here for Jessica’s recipe and access to about a BAJILLION other recipes of yumminess.)
Awesome + applesauce = Awesome-sauce!
I wish I could say that I had a really cute picture for this one…’cuz it’s not like I didn’t buy applesauce pouches just a few days ago but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared from my pantry. (Insert eyeroll here.) But basically, just attach a notecard, paper heart, or even slap a Post-It on a applesauce cup/pouch and remind your wee ones that they are just plain AWESOME-SAUCE! That’s all there is to it, folks.
A Muffin for Your Stud-Muffin
Okay, okay, okay. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that it’s not all about whites, pinks, and reds and let’s take a moment for the little men in our life who aren’t quite as enthusiastic about all the hearts and flowers as the rest of us. I have something for them too. Along with the popcorn, which I will probably make a batch without any pink coloring, I’ll also be including a muffin for my Stud-Muffin. Just whip up a batch of your favorite recipe, or if you’re not wanting to go that route, just pop a pre-made in their ensemble with a little note encouraging them in their stud-muffin-liness.
If you’re looking for a reasonable non-edible gift idea, you could always consider one of our top go-to’s…a Beta fish. If you’re looking for a good way to instill responsible character in your little human, Beta fish are super easy to take care of with such little expense. They are viable in a smaller environment and as long as you change a portion of their water weekly, they will live and thrive for years. We had one for two years that lived in a 32-oz Ball jar with a moss ball, and their food lasts a good while too.
But Most Importantly, We Mustn’t Forget…
Quality time with you. I am often reminded that my children desire MOMMY and DADDY much more than any snack, trinket, or toy. So, why don’t we take a load off, release the pressure from high expectations, and just kick back to spend some time with our little ones? Truly, I am so amazed at how I wake up each day to a smile and a hug from each of my kids. To them it doesn’t matter how I just about lost my mind on them yesterday for just one more mess they left for me to clean, or that the busyness of life got the best of me and I wasn’t able to read them their bedtime story, or that there is a mountain of dishes left from dinner in my sink. What they want is ME, MY eye contact, MY listening ears, MY tender hugs or wrestling around on the floor. Let’s not lose sight of what we just celebrated two months ago, the unwavering Love that was poured over us so that it’s possible for us to shower others with love.
I hope and pray that everyone has a sweet and blessed Valentine’s Day! Let me know what you’ll be doing to show love to your loved ones. I’d love to get some ideas in the comments so we can all read through and see if any of them fit for us.
As always, God bless and stay safe!