We started a new tradition in our family. The goal is “not” going out on Valentine’s, crazy huh? Instead, we stay at home and celebrate family style – complete with a candlelight dinner and a lot of fun! We still choose a different night to go out, but hopefully when the crowds are all back at home, lol.
Here’s our first annual stay at home celebration from 2 yrs. ago, we got dressed up for the occasion, just to make it really special, different from any other night.
Celebrated with a nice dinner for 5 with grilled steaks, baked potatoes, sautéed asparagus, rosemary rolls, and red velvet cheesecake for dessert, played nice jazz music in the background, then topped the evening off with a family game night. Such a great memory for us all.
Let your creative juices flow to think outside the box – here’s a few suggestions but you’ve probably got some other great ideas to make a lasting memory for your family and just to have fun.
1. Candlelight Dinner – use the fine china with crystal, tablecloths, decor, centerpiece, after dinner mints – do the whole deal! Don’t forget to have music in the background for added “ambiance.” Dress up. Serve a nice dinner, maybe something you wouldn’t normally have most evenings. Our kids love the sparkling grape juice too. Practice the best of manners, napkins in the lap, etc., just like you would expect in a nice restaurant. Troy acted as the “waiter” at first, speaking in his best French accent, then all the kids wanted to take turns – serving. And, of course, no electronics!
2. Dance Night – Push the furniture way back, get your dance floor ready, and turn the music ON!
3. Game Night – when your kids hear “game night” – they may at first think, “Yay – Xbox or Wii!” But, go old style for this night – dust off the Monopoly game, find your old deck of cards, make up a Charades game, play Guesstures or Pictionary – just get everyone together and do something that you may not normally do.
4. Karaoke Night – need I say more? So fun – lasting memories – cut loose – sing!
5. Scavenger Hunt – make up your own hunt around the house. You could use red heart notes for the clues – and at the end – have a big Valentine’s surprise waiting. We did this once at Christmas time, our new puppy was waiting at the end of the game – our kids still talk about that from a few years ago. Such a great surprise, and a fun way for them to “find” her.
6. Encouragement Chair – we all need to hear good words – speak it out to those you love the most! Put a chair in the center of the circle, each person takes turns sitting in that place, while others around say one thing that you love about that person or what you notice about their character. For example, “I see that you have such a gift of being a friend to many people. God has given you a heart to serve others and I believe He’s really going to use that in your life for great purposes.” “You are a very hard worker and in everything you do – you give it your all.” “God has gifted you with the ability to bring joy to many people, you can always make people laugh and have fun, keep your sparkle all through life!” You get the idea – make it about what you see on the inside. Your kids may need some help with this at first, it’s OK to give some suggestions. But in the long run, it teaches them to look at “heart” qualities in others and builds them up as well as they hear inspiring words.
7. Dessert Bar – Chocolate Fondue – Build your own Sundae – Coke Floats – use your imagination – but do something different and make it fun!
8. Take the Party Outside – yes, at night! If you have a fire pit, or can build a campfire, do something fun like that! If not, you can still brave the outdoors, weather permitting, and do what you wouldn’t normally do on most nights. Get out the telescope, look at the moon, bring blankets and pillows out to the yard and gaze up at the stars. Take a family spotlight walk, get out the flashlights, walk the trail or block, don’t forget the dog! Sometimes, we take a family nighttime bike ride, only because we live close to a great trail system. We’ve shown a movie outside with a projector system on the garage door – drive-in movie style – we set up chairs, invited friends, brought out popcorn and drinks. Just do what’s safe and fun for your own family, depending on where you live. The main point is – bundle up, get outside, and be together.
9. Family Talent Show – be creative, laugh at the crazy, enjoy the silly moments, share the hidden talents!
10. Neighbor Note Ninja or Service Project – leave kind words or encouraging post it notes for neighbors and friends around the block, leave it on their doors or the car. Kids love giving little Valentine’s cards or treat gifts to friends. If there’s a single mom on your street – or maybe a widow, older couple, or someone who may just need some extra love shown – leave a gift on their doorstep. Flowers or potted plants are easy to leave for a surprise – but a shared meal is a wonderful gift too. In the midst of all the fun of Valentine’s, inspire a heart within your kids to give and to pray for others, especially for those who may need an extra boost of encouragement on that particular day.
Whatever you do – have fun – take the pressure off to fit the “norm” – think outside the box – enjoy your family – laugh – share – make a memory.
“Let all that you do, be done in LOVE.” 1 Corinthians 16:1
Happy Valentine’s Day!