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Alternative Valentine’s Day Ideas for Parents

Anyone feeling a little down because they don’t think they did enough this Valentine’s Day? 

Don’t feel bad!

With Valentine’s Day can come a pressure to do something special for our significant other or for our kids. Where does this pressure come from? Well, even the Encyclopedia Britannica defines Valentine’s Day as “when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts.” Not only this, but the Encyclopedia states that “formal messages, or valentines, appeared in the 1500s, and by the late 1700s commercially printed cards were being used.” Wow! Just based on the extensive history, we have a lot of pressure coming at us.

Then we also have to listen to what “they say!” On social media, or even in just talking with friends, we see all of the different things others are doing and it can leave us feeling pretty lousy, especially if we feel we can’t compete.  

Well, why don’t we go ahead and take this pressure off of ourselves? After all, there are so many alternatives to flowers, cards, candy, and gifts which can be even more meaningful and fulfilling! 

Here are some alternative Valentine’s Day ideas for parents which will save you money and still leave those around you feeling appreciated. 

Instead of buying a gift or jewelry, save money.

Yes, you read that right. We personally don’t buy many gifts on Valentine’s Day. We typically buy what we need or we save.

One idea is to put that money into savings. You could use it for a future trip. Maybe there is place you and your significant other, or even your entire family, has been dying to visit. Maybe it’s too expensive to book now. Put that money you would have spent on overpriced flowers and gifts into an account, or a storage box, and actually take that trip one day.

Another idea is to put that money into a savings account for the kids. We try to save now for what our children will need in the future. We want to buy them cars. They also may decide to go to college. Helping them buy a car one day or helping them pay for college will likely mean way more than chocolates or stuffed animals now.

Last, it can be hard to find a sitter on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants may have limited menus or require reservations many days in advance. So, it might be easier to enjoy a night out when things are less busy. Besides, why only celebrate love or give affection on one day? We should celebrate the entire year!

Instead of buying a card, write in a journal.

We have a journal, and my husband and I write a note to each other in this journal on every Valentine’s Day, anniversary, and birthday. We do this in lieu of buying a card. I love this idea, because we can involve the kids. Even in the early notes to each other, we have traced the children’s hands in the book. We have had them do a little drawing (even just scribbles) that we can look back on one day and enjoy.

Another journaling idea came from my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. This group of mamas is so inspirational and I loved this idea. Last year, I gave my husband a journal titled, “365 things I love about you.” Starting on Valentine’s day the year prior, I wrote one unique thing I loved about him each day. The following Valentine’s day, this was his gift. He could then read 365 different reasons I loved him. This is such a meaningful gift and it costs little to nothing.

Instead of buying flowers, plant something together.

Flowers can be quite expensive on Valentine’s Day and they honestly don’t last very long. Instead of buying flowers, plant a flower or tree together as a family. You can involve the kids and you will always remember the time you planted it. Too cold? Plant an inside herb garden or an indoor plant to enjoy all year round.

Instead of buying a gift for the kids, find an activity to do together as a family.

Check out our last post, 10 Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids That Won’t Break the Bank, for lots of fun ideas!

Instead of going out on a date, have a date night at home.

If you can’t go out, have a date night at home after the kids go to bed. Watch a movie you have been waiting to watch. Have a wine and cheese tasting together. Cook together and have a late-night dinner. Spend time doing anything that makes you happy. Instead of going out to dinner, still treat yourselves to not having to cook by ordering your favorite take out.

Or, include the kids in your plan. It might even make the night more special. You can have a movie night with popcorn and treats, exchange hand-made Valentine’s, cook a nice meal together, the options are endless.

Instead of buying chocolate, make something sweet.

You can make chocolate fondue and dip fruits and marshmallows, or bake something fun with the kids. These strawberry rice krispies treats are delicious and super easy to make! You can have extra fun by cutting them into hearts and decorating them. 

Simply grab a box of Strawberry Krispies and make Rice Krispies Treats using this recipe. All you need is 3 tbsp. butter, 4 cups mini marshmallows, and 6 cups cereal.

The bottom line is, it’s not a requirement to surprise each other now. Instead, make an effort to surprise each other or show love multiple times throughout the year—on any  day. It doesn’t have to be the 14th and it doesn’t have to be once a year. I don’t think it will hurt if we miss one day, in fact, maybe the extra love throughout the year could make a relationship or marriage stronger.

To learn more about me and by blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 17 Time-Saving Parenting Tips

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10 responses to “Alternative Valentine’s Day Ideas for Parents”

  1. julie says:

    Love the idea about planting something together!

  2. Marina says:

    Yep I know that you mean, I normally stay in and cook something good on Valentine…but a gift is always welcome! Hope you had a great day x

  3. Lisa Favre says:

    This is so sweet and I love all of them! I really like the idea in partaking in an activity together as a family.

    • admin says:

      Hi Lisa! Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words. I agree, there is always something special about doing something together as a family!

  4. Those rice krispies sound fab! We always get Chinese takeout on Valentines….I look forward to it for weeks!

  5. Corinne says:

    I love these ideas – my husband and I keep it simple and maybe get a card and a very small gift for one another, but the meaning behind the gift should be more than the cost! 🙂

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Welcome to my blog. I am a licensed school counselor turned stay-at-home mom and writer. I have three wonderful children. I love the water, baking, getting creative, and traveling, especially to new places. I have a bachelor’s degree in science (Psychology major and Sociology minor), and a master’s degree in counselor education (M.Ed.). I wouldn’t call myself a parenting expert exactly, but I believe all parents are experts at raising their own children. After all, no one knows your kids better than you! My blog is about what “they say”—what we hear and read—versus what “we say”: using our own intuition. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.