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Valentine’s Day is upon us. For some, this statement probably made you wince. For those of you who proclaim it’s not a “real” holiday -like it or not, it appears no less frequently on the calendar. This year try something new. No, not satin sheets or teddy bears, this year embrace it, have a little fun!
If you are still paying for Christmas gifts, there are all kinds of free ways to get your kids all jacked up about Valentine’s Day. First and foremost, teach them early- it’s not so much romancing and mushy swooning as it is a day to be grateful and honor those you love. A scavenger hunt can be a lovely educational opportunity to send them traipsing around the corners of your home, busying them until they find the ultimate prize…their favorite stuffy holding a treat, or a big red balloon with confetti and wacky poem inside. Always use personalized tidbits only YOU know or ten dollar bill? Some find chocolate to be the lure. This year turn those plain valentine cookies into a treasure. All good neighbors deserve to be a secret admirer! Whip up a batch of cookies, tint them red with pomegranate juice or red food coloring, or red and pink chocolate chips (Safeway) wrap them garden twine, old red rags, surprise your neighborhood Valentine buddies by ringing and running. Who doesn’t appreciate a friendly doorbell ditch?
For the artist bottling up creativity daily, this is your chance to shine! Write, paint, swirl paint with glitter, dip a q-tip in a teensy amount of bleach on colored paper, explore red on red, tone on tone! A red handprint makes a lovely flower when strips of green are attached! Old fabric cut in a vase shape and glued down with buttons, thumbprints! Old magazines are fun to clip roses, or puppies out of. Perhaps those old books in the attic have lines from Edgar Allen Poe, or Emily Dickenson; a classic one liner adds just the touch to any collage! Old vintage cookie cookbooks are a winner too for cutting out a personal card with treats galore. A simple popsicle-stick frame or a flower with your picture in the middle can bring a giggle that’s priceless in ten years!
Some people are not about the fuss. Some kids just like to FEEL special. Sneak little jokes into their hoodie- roses are red violets are blue…… Perhaps when your grumpy teenager arrives home after witnessing carnations sent to seemingly EVERY squealing girl ( or boy) at school, having their favorite song and their favorite snack is just what they needed. Perhaps play their favorite Black Keys or Beyonce’ song. Maybe even play the Xbox with them (oh no!) Maybe their big crush didn’t honor them or even meet their gaze today! Shower them with strawberries, sparkling Martinelli’s with sugar cubes in Champagne flutes, add red food coloring to the butter on their popcorn! Couch time for a movie like Dirty Dancing or Grease, Romeo and Juliet- ooh la, la, you won their teenage heart. Set the stage of loving arms ahead of time. You have strung the red and pink lights (Walgreen’s 6.99 ½ price right now!) You’ve floated some red, white and pink balloons, (2.99) served the red tortilla chips, cut the Boboli Pizza dough into a heart shape with pepperoni cut-out hearts, filled their glass at dinner with a scoop of pink sorbet and that forbidden soda, 7-up! Throw in a curly straw and you just made their day!
For Valentines’ Day, find that personalized way to permeate their funny bone, and show you really do listen. Play love themed charades, paint their nails glittery pink, leave a flower on their bed, tint their bath red, go to the pet store and pet kitties and puppies, If you make them feel like a king or queen this Valentine’s day, chances are, they MIGHT carry on this simple tradition; embrace….rather than sulk the day away!