Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Little Ones

Orthodoxy and Valentine's Day with Little Ones

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, my friends! I’ve been thinking about celebrating this day and how that looks for our family.

Last night I pulled out my journal to see what my husband and I did last year to celebrate (the year we had an almost-one-year-old and were maybe still adjusting to parenthood). From my notes, I think we did nothing to celebrate besides buying each other thoughtful gifts (read a house-cleaning service, boxer shorts, and Whole30 treats). We didn’t have a fancy dinner out. We didn’t book a day-long spa retreat. It was pretty simple.

Little daughter was still too young to do much of anything–I think we gave her a few fuzzy pink hearts to play with and called it a day.

So, should we be kicking things up a notch this year? Should we try something new? Should we even celebrate this day at all?

As always, I like to turn to the Church to find some answers. I started reading and felt like we’d gotten it all wrong in years past. These Saint Valentines (yes, two!) should be celebrated in July. They are misunderstood. We’ve appropriated their lives for a warm fuzzy feeling day in the middle of the blah winter months.

But then I got to this part: “For Orthodox Christians, Saint Valentine’s Day is most fully understood as a celebration of romantic love and of God’s love…demonstrating our love for God and reaching our fulfillment in Christ through our relationships with our spouses, families, and communities, is a way of life that is at the heart of Orthodoxy.  By living a life in emulation of Christ, Saint Valentine shared this fundamental truth of Orthodox Christianity with the world, one that is more beautiful and lasts longer than flowers and cards—it is eternal.”

Maybe it’s not so bad to embrace our secularized Valentine’s day and in doing so, loving the people all around us. Truthfully we should be living Valentine’s day every day!

Here’s how we’ll be celebrating this year:

Activities

Daughter is at an age where she’s loving the glue and scissors and stickers and all the things. We’ll make some cards and mail and hand deliver to our family and friends! We’ll probably bake some Valentine’s treats for our friends, too–I’ve got my eye on these!

We’re going to make more ice ornaments (these were such a hit last time and so simple!) Our poinsettia has surprisingly lasted all of January, but we’re going on vacation soon and I think it will be a little worse for the wear…so, we’ll use it’s leaves (petals?) to fill our ornaments with a vibrant red! Last time, we hung the ornaments around our home and yard, but I’d like to take a walk and leave them about town for others to enjoy! (especially because its sometimes challenging to think of ways littles can show love and kindness to others)

Orthodoxy and Valentine's Day with Little Ones

We also added a few “stained glass” hearts to our window display. I erroneously thought I had more pink and red tissue paper, but turns out it was mostly white and grey. We just glued tissue paper to wax paper and cut it into hearts and said it was good, but if you want to get a bit more fancy you could try this.

Gifts

(i know gifts for this holiday are so extra, but i enjoy this way of showing my love for my extra special two!)

Daughter’s little Valentine’s gift was not too tricky this year. We gave her a dollhouse for Christmas and planned that all subsequent holidays would include furniture until the house is quite furnished. I can’t wait for her to open this one and this one. She’s just been getting into imaginative play a bit more, and she’s going to love it! Everything is wrapped up in a pink play silk–she also loves these for great imaginative play!

I’m still searching for a lovely idea for husband’s Valentine’s gift–if you have any great recommendations I’d love them!

Books & Music

We’ve also been reading of course! As she gets a bit older I’ll find a good story of the life of St. Valentine (if you have any recommendations i’d welcome them!). Right now we’re loving Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! (usually i’m not a huge fan of these rather made-up sequels for classic books, but daughter has developed an affinity for the little mouse) and The Valentine Bears (which is just the cutest little animal love story that kids will adore!)

Listening to this fabulous playlist on repeat, too. (she makes the best playlists–something that is not in my skillset)

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Do you give gifts or make things? Do you find fabulous ways to show love on this day or do you reserve loving everyone for all the days?