My birthday is in March, and in 2020 it fell two weeks after the very first lockdown. Remember when the fear was at its peak, and we were wiping down each grocery item and leaving it outside for 3 days for potential viruses to die (was that just us… and is anyone still doing that?)?
Needless to say, gifts were not an option. I was “in isolation” with my best friend since second grade, and my husband and kids. My BFF rents a house we own, and our bathroom was getting renovated in our apartment, so we had made the trip down to Niagara, and the next day lockdown was announced, so we just stayed put, and nervously waited it out.
When my birthday happened, instead of gifts, I got the most beautiful letters and handmade cards. My best friend drew and coloured the serenity prayer for me and put it in a frame that she already had. The framed prayer is still beside my bed and I read it every time I wake up and go to sleep, as I reminder not only of ‘what I can change, and what I cannot’, but also of our long and beautiful friendship.
My husband has always been a bit shy with his words. His love-language for showing love has always been gifts. And while I love the thoughtful, generous gifts he’s always given me, receiving only words this past birthday was extra meaningful. It brought tears to my eyes and, like every note he has ever written me in the last 20 years, I will always cherish it and read it again and again.
Now as Valentines approaches, I’ve been thinking it is a good time to share a practice that I have been doing for my kids (and my husband) for the last few years, because I think this year, more than ever, we are focusing on experiencing joy and love without so much commercialism.
Here is my Valentine’s gift to my boys:
Each morning from February 1st to the 14th, I tape a heart on their door with something I love about them written on it. Then, on Valentine’s Day they get a small gift (usually a stuffed animal) and a treat (usually a small box of gourmet truffles because I believe in quality over quantity).
This year, my highly sensitive sweetheart is getting his own copy of the book, “The Little Prince” because he LOVED the one we borrowed and would like to own his own copy.
I am still working on ideas for my sweet 5-year-old who’s love language IS gifts (he is a Libra just like his Dad).
I understand that coming up with 14 unique reasons you love your child might be difficult to think up on the spot every single day, especially since the mental bandwidth for most parents is already stretched maximum capacity. So, I have created a list of ideas for you to choose from, and what you can do is make them all in advance now, so you have them each morning to put on their bedroom door(s).
- I love how well you care for animals / bugs / their pet.
- I love to watch you play make-believe! You have such a creative imagination!
- I love the funny jokes you tell! You make everyone laugh every day!
- I love how focused you get when you draw. Every single day you create something wonderful.
- I love how helpful you are. You really care about your friends and family.
- I love how you treat your little brother/sister. You set a great example.
- I love your fun dance moves! You really feel the music!
- I love your strength. You have a strong heart and a strong mind.
- I love what a good friend you are. You are always caring and kind to anyone you meet.
- I love how thoughtful you are.
- I love how you brighten up people’s day wherever you go!
- I love your hugs and snuggles!
- I love how you think of beautiful ways to compliment other people.
- I love how patient you are with your school-work.
- I love how you look at the bright side!
- I love how you can win or lose a game with grace. You are super fun to play with!
- I love your cool inventions! You come up with such awesome ideas!
- I love how adventurous you are! You are always up for some fun!
- I love how well you can explain your feelings. I am honoured that you trust me to share your heart with.
- I love reading with you. You have always loved a good story, and I love how many we have explored together!
- I love your heart. You have good intentions and you try your best every day.
- I love your passion for collecting information! I love hearing cool facts from you!
- I love how you show your love to your family. We are so lucky to have such a loving kid!
- I love the ways that you solve problems. You are great at calmly coming up with new ideas.
- I love baking things with you in the kitchen. You are so helpful and you make cooking fun!
- I love how you laugh in your sleep! Even your dreams are funny 🙂
- I love watching you on your bike/scooter! You worked really hard at it, and now look at you go!
- I love playing with you. You always have fun ideas for games!
Now you can pick from these, edit to make them fit your unique kids, or create your own!
Write them on construction paper hearts and then every night after they are asleep, tape one per day to their door.
With travel restricted (after much mourning, I will admit), I am really starting to find deeper gratitude for home. With stores closed… well at first, I admit that retail therapy online was my go-to, but I have recognized that has to change as well.
We already have everything we need, and more. We really don’t *have* to make every holiday about sugar and toys. There are many ways to show our love and express gratitude for all that we already have. Do you have any creative, healthy and cost-effective Valentines Ideas? I would love to hear them!