If you're looking for ways to share the day with your children that don't include lots of candy and presents, take a look at how these two mothers make it happen.
Charmaine Curtis, a mother of 6-year-old twin girls and a busy real estate developer, says she explained the meaning of Valentine's Day as soon as they were old enough to understand. "They know the day is about love and showing people that you care about them."
For the past couple of years, she has helped her girls make homemade cards for their classmates and friends. She's passing on the do-it-yourself tradition from when she was a little girl. "did it when I was a kid and now my girls are really into it." She's especially adamant that if you're going to give a Valentine's card, it better be made from scratch."It's just more special and meaningful," she says. "It shows the person that you spent time making it for them."
Charmaine says to make the cards she gathers all sorts of art supplies: ribbons, heart-shaped doilies, and pretty papers. She and the girls spend hours carefully crafting them for every kid in their classroom. "We then put the cards in little bags with pieces of candy." She accompanies the girls to school and helps place the bags in each kid's little cubbyhole. "The message is in the doing and the giving," she says about what lesson her twins are learning by making cards. "My gift to them is helping them."
Feel-good dinner ritual
"Our family isn't big on gift-giving for Valentine's Day," Charmaine explains. She and her husband Kurt would rather put the emphasis on the day's message and acts of love. This tradition occurs around the dinner table. "We go around and tell each other how much we love each other," she says. This helps prolong the warm feelings after all the sweet Valentine's treats they've received from friends have been consumed and the day's excitement has simmered down.
Shirin Vina, a mother of two children and a nurse, has strong feelings about the commercialization of Valentine's Day. "I don't like it at all!" Instead of buying presents or giving store-bought cards for her kids, she writes them handwritten notes. "I don't want a card company telling me what to feel." She takes the time to craft them personal messages and places them by their beds to find when they wake up. Or she will put the note in their school lunches. "I write about how they make me happy and how much I love them." She also includes personal details expressly for her son or daughter. "I love when my son holds my hand. It always makes me smile. He's heard it a thousand times, but I still tell him." While she appreciates the sentiments of love and caring the occasion evokes, she makes sure her children know on a day-to-day basis how much she loves them.
What to remember
Valentine's Day is an opportunity for everyone to share their feelings with their loved ones. While it's a lot simpler to follow the gift, card and candy-giving traditions, you can create your own traditions—ones that are personal and special. Your loving practices will help celebrate the day and provide meaningful and memorable moments for everyone.
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