Valentine’s Day Origins
There are many stories about Valentine’s Day history. On the Catholic calendar, each day is given to a saint, and as you may have guessed, 14 February is St. Valentine’s Day. Very little is known of St. Valentine, but there are legends. The one most closely tying him to romance is that he was a priest who married soldiers to young women, who were formerly denied that rite by an emperor. The emperor felt married men made poor soldiers; St. Valentine thought otherwise. He wore a ring with the image of Cupid on it and handed out paper hearts to remind couples of their love.
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a 700 line poem about birds choosing mates on St. Valentine’s Day in 1381. People believe this marked February 14th as the permanent romantic, ‘hearts and chocolates and flowers” holiday on our calendar.
Making Some Family Magic
Today, children, teens, and adults In the United States and several countries around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day. The occasion is usually marked by giving and receiving cards and sometimes small gifts. Chocolate is very popular, as are ‘conversation heart’ candies. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romantic love. We celebrate all kinds of love – especially familial love – on Valentine’s Day, and here are a few ways you can, too.
- Decorate the House
Nothing sets the atmosphere better than a visual reminder that a special event is coming. So grab some pink, red, and white paper, markers and crayons, and get creative! Cut out hearts and write special messages to family members, then put them up all over the house. Involve as many family members as you can and make decorating part of the event. Add some red and pink crepe paper and you’ve easily decorated the house for Valentine’s Day.
- Movie Night
Settle in with popcorn and comfy blankets for a home movie night, with a Valentine’s Day theme. There are many movies that are appropriate for young kids, from the classic “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown!” to the more recent “Gnomeo and Juliet,” an adaptation of the Shakespeare original. More great suggestions are “Princess and the Frog,” “Shrek,” and “Ugly Dolls,” which comes with an important lesson for kids: it is OK to be a little different, and the most important love we can have is the love for ourselves.
- Game Night
Valentine’s Memory: Create small cards with Valentine’s Day words on them in pairs, such as “Love,” “Hugs,” “Kisses,” “Chocolates,” and “Hearts.” Turn all the cards face down on a table and take turns flipping two cards over, trying to make a match. Remember where the cards are! The player with the most matches at the end of the game wins!
Valentine’s Song List: This one is self-explanatory. Think of as many songs as you can with the word “Love” in the title for round one. For each additional round, think of a related Valentine’s Day word, such as marry or kiss. The person with the longest list at the end of each round is the winner.
Valentine’s Tic Tac Toe: Create large Tic Tac Toe boards on red and pink paper and play with fun game pieces, like two different kinds of cookies or fun-size candy bars.
- Valentine Family Reading
Reading is always a great activity with kids. Make Valentine’s Day special with a best-selling read your kids will be sure to remember. For the littles who love picture books, try “Kisses, Kisses, Head to Toe” by Karen Katz, or “Besos for Baby” by Jen Arena and Blanca Gomez. For older children, check out “If Animals Said I Love You” by Anne Whitford Paul and David Walker. Or, try creating an original family Valentine’s Day story with your kids!
The Sweetness of the Holiday
Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to involve chocolate and candy. Any sweets will do, and the ones you make as a family are even sweeter!
Baking special family treats for Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to show your family some love while bonding and enjoying a tasty holiday treat.
Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting and pink and red sprinkles would capture the holiday perfectly and look great on your dinner table.
Classic chocolate chip cookies are always a winner or try oatmeal raisin or peanut butter chip for a new twist on an old theme.
Gooey, chocolatey brownies bring a smile to everyone’s faces! Top them off with pink sugar crystals to incorporate Valentine’s Day color.
Show The Love
Still another great family Valentine’s Day tradition is to go around the dinner table on 14 February and say to another family member, “I love you.” Then add a few reasons why. Some families may want to take this activity a step further by having family members write their reasons on red or pink papers, put the papers in a box, then randomly pull out the notes and read them aloud. This is an especially loving way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with family members of all ages.
Happy Valentine’s Day
There is no end to the possibilities when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Snuggle up next to a fire, enjoy each other, and appreciate the love of your family.