Simple Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Simple Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

From boxed chocolates and perfume to stuffed animals and ads for bouquets of roses, there is a seemingly endless parade of pink, red and white Valentine’s Day gifts on store shelves, and they often come with a hefty price tag.

The good news for budget-savvy families however, is that you don’t have to break the bank to add a little warmth to the lives of your loved ones on this mid-winter holiday. There are many simple, inexpensive and heartfelt ways for you and your kids to spread some kindness to friends, teachers and family members this Valentine’s Day.

And though February 14th might seem like it’s far away, there is no time like the present to begin planning and preparing for how you and your kids will be celebrating this holiday next month. How early you want to start, and how much you need to prepare, will depend in large part on the age of your children.

Daycare & Preschool 

At this preschool age, your child and their friends are probably too young to appreciate a Valentine’s card exchange – and definitely too young to really be of help writing them all out.

If your child’s daycare or preschool is celebrating this holiday, ask instead if you can bring in a snack to share, checking ahead of time about allergies and any food intolerances. And the snack doesn’t have to be a sweet treat: a heart-shaped fruit and veggie tray is bound to impress this age group as much as any cookie or cake.

Children at this young age will however happily help glue, colour or add stickers to a homemade card for their care providers, siblings, grandparents or any other special people in their lives that would appreciate the effort.

And if you’re looking for inexpensive ways to say thank you to the staff at your child’s daycare or preschool, consider modest but thoughtful gift cards to their favourite coffee shop or bookstore. You can also give the gift of giving back by making a small donation in their name, or the name of your daycare or preschool, to a local charity.

It’s never too early to show your child the value of how to spread the love to others on a holiday, or any day of the year.

Elementary School 

If you’ve got school-aged kids, you’ll know this is really the age group willing and able to put in the effort to celebrate Valentine’s Day – or Friendship Day, as many schools now call it. Kids in this age group are up to the task of writing out individual cards for their friends, classmates and teachers, and similarly, value getting cards back in exchange.

Just remember that if you choose to do cards with your child, many teachers now ask that everyone in the class get one, and will provide a class list with all the children’s names.

And as overwhelming as it can seem to make or buy – and write out – cards for as many as 30 kids (more if you have more than one school-aged kid!) there tips and tricks to saving money and time with DIY Valentine's cards. The most important trick is starting early, especially if your children are beginner writers.

It’s always nice for a child to include their teacher in their Valentine’s efforts: a small gift or handmade card from your child is a thoughtful gesture of thanks. A mug with hot chocolate or coffee, a bundle of new pens, stickers or sticky notes teachers can use in the classroom are other simple but appreciated gift ideas.

Looking for a budget-friendly gift that lasts? Consider donating a book to your child’s classroom: teachers love the gift of reading most of all, and whether it’s a new or gently used book, they’ll appreciate your contribution to their classroom library for years to come.

High School 

At this age, it’s most likely that your child will take the lead on whether or not they want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their friends and teachers – or their girlfriends or boyfriends if they happen to be dating.

Your likely role in this scenario is providing sound but gentle advice on how to stick to a modest budget and plan in advance. Helping them choose appropriate gifts that can express kindness and appreciation without being lavish and overpriced is a great lesson for any teenager to take into the world with them.

Friendship bracelets, framed photos, poetry, candy and other sweet treats are simple and fun gift ideas that can be handmade or affordable to buy. Handmade coupons for a coffee, shopping or movie date are other personalized ways to gift an affordable favourite activity.

Of course nothing beats an old-fashioned love letter, and coaching your teen on writing from the heart is a skill that will serve them well into adulthood.

Make Valentine’s Day a family event

Whether or not you and your child decide to celebrate this holiday at daycare or school, Valentine’s Day is also a lovely time to spend together as a family.

Starting your day with heart-shaped pancakes or handmade cards is a fun treat for younger kids, while school-aged children will appreciate winding down the day with a cozy mug of hot chocolate, a movie about love and friendship, or a few rounds of your family’s favourite board game.

Any way you choose to celebrate it, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to share with your kids the simple, priceless value of quality time spent together.