Personalize Valentine’s Day

heart-762564_1280What do you do for Valentine’s Day with your spouse or significant other? Do you exchange cards or maybe go out to dinner? Perhaps flowers and candy show up at your home. But this year, how about personalizing your Valentine’s Day celebration? Here are a few suggestions to make your celebration extra special.

Revisit a special place: Did you meet at a party, an event or even just a grocery store? How about taking a trip back to that location to revisit those memories? You could have dinner at the restaurant where you held your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner. Or maybe you just remember a special day you’d like to re-experience. You can talk about it ahead of time or just make the plans to surprise your partner. Be careful not to make it a contest to see how much he or she remembers, though. This is a trip down memory lane, not a quiz.

Plan a special indoor picnic: Throw a tablecloth and some pillows on the floor and plan a meal of finger foods. Use candlelight to add to the ambience. Add a bottle of wine or a favorite drink. You can sprinkle fresh flower petals on the cloth and be sure to add a favorite chocolate dessert.

Make your own Valentine card: You don’t have to be an artist to draw a heart. More important, use this opportunity to tell your partner at least some of the most important reasons you’re glad to have him or her in your life. Because that’s what Valentine’s Day is really about, after all.

A Child’s Valentine

valentines-day-1182245_1280As adults, we may think of Valentine’s Day as a day for romance, with our significant other if we have one, or with frustration at the absence of romance if we don’t. But we tend to ignore celebrating Valentine’s Day with our children.

Of course, even little ones can get caught up in whether their current crush will notice them on the day, but you have the power to make it special no matter what with just a little effort on your part. Here are a few tips to make Valentine’s Day special for you and your child or children.

Send them a Valentine: If your child or children look forward to getting mail, it may be worth the cost of a stamp or two to actually mail a card to each child. If the mailbox process itself isn’t important, set the cards at the breakfast table for opening first thing in the morning. Make the cards special by writing something personal about why you love them using a specific example.

Add a Valentine treat to their lunchboxes. This could be a heart-shaped cookie or some heart chocolates wrapped in red foil. It would also be nice to add a note with another reason why they’re special to you. It’s easy to get too busy to tell our children how much we value them. Valentine’s Day gives you a chance to do so.

Plan a Valentine dessert for dinner. Maybe it’s a heart-shaped cake from the bakery or a favorite treat with a few conversation hearts sprinkled on top. Or you could just make hot chocolate and serve it with a construction paper heart tied to the handle of the mug. Present the dessert to each child with a kiss.

In one day you have three opportunities to tell your children you love them. And that way when life gets busy again, they know that you think they are important, and that they are your favorite Valentines every day of the year.

Valentine’s Day Solo

12632055_SIf you find yourself without a significant other this Valentine’s Day, there are better ways to spend it than by feeling sorry for yourself. You can have a lovely day celebrating the person who should mean the most to you – yourself. Try these ideas to make your day special.

Splurge: You don’t need someone else to buy you your favorite chocolates, perfume or other favorite purchase. Let go – within reason – and buy yourself a favorite indulgence.

Share: Do you have other friends who also have no one to spend Valentine’s Day with? Why not plan a party with them? You could splurge on a happy hour or dinner at a favorite restaurant and follow up with chocolates and popcorn at home with a movie like Sleepless in Seattle and plenty of tissues.

Think of others: Are there people you know who may be having a tough time? Maybe it’s the lonely elderly couple next door or the single mom who never has a minute to herself. What can you do to brighten their Valentine’s Day? A batch of heart-shaped cookies and an understanding ear may be just the thing to make them feel special, and you may find yourself feeling better too.

Change the rules: The best way to meet someone is through your friends. You could throw a get-together party. Have every one of your single friends bring a guest of the opposite sex. Plan plenty of fun and silly games and events to get everyone comfortable. It’s a fun way to spend the evening, and you never know; someone at that party may connect with someone else. You may even find the person you will end up spending Valentine’s Day with next year!

Planning a Valentine’s Day for Two

18493048_SYou can always go to a nice restaurant for dinner, pick up a Hallmark card, and look forward to your favorite chocolates and maybe some roses.

This is such a common approach to Valentine’s Day that restaurants will be crowded, roses cost a fortune, and even chocolates are so much pricier than they should be when they come in a heart-shaped box. How about a celebration for the two of you that is as individual as you are instead? The simple ideas below can help you plan a great evening.

Set the stage: Candlelight is never out of place. If you have a fireplace, be sure to light a small fire for the ambience. Fresh flowers are always nice, but pick something unusual rather than roses. How about orchids or daffodils?

Make it unique: Do you always eat at the kitchen counter? Then how about setting the dining room table for two? You could always plan to sit on the floor on pillows at the coffee table or throw a blanket on the floor in front of your fireplace or a window with a view. How about dining outside with just candlelight to make the space feel like yours alone?

Plan for two: Make a meal of small bites of finger food, with a variety of favorites for both of you. Add a bottle of sparkling wine if you drink, or some sparkling fruit juice or water if you don’t. Be sure to include a favorite dessert. Include foods that bring back memories of previous events in your shared lives.

Remember: This is a special time to share memories of your life together. Tell each other stories, and take the time to remind each other why you fell in love in the first place. You may find yourself creating the best Valentine’s Day ever.