VALENTINE'S DAY WITH CHILDREN : CELEBRATING LOVE AS A FAMILY
Valentine’s day is just around the corner : a wonderful opportunity to add romantic decors to our homes, a time to celebrate those we cherish and a beautiful reminder to spread love everywhere we can.
To find inspiration on how to make the most of this holiday who better to ask than the kind hearted pink lovers, princess Olivia and her mother? Talented event planner founder of So Dressed Up and blogger, Katie’s favorite day of the year may well be the 14th of February!
What does Valentine's Day mean to you and Olivia?
For us, it’s much more than just a day, it’s a whole season of fun. We celebrate on the actual day but the anticipation of it, is a special time for us too. We enjoy many sweet activities and traditions leading up to it!
We joke that my daughter and I were born for this day : We are both so tender hearted, adore all things pink, and love to celebrate everything in life. Of course it doesn’t hurt that our signature hue is blush and that thoughtful celebrations and gift giving are a love language for me… If you ask my six year old why we love Valentine’s Day she says :“because it’s a time to celebrate being loved.”
How have you celebrated it over the past years and how has your Valentine’s Day changed since having a child?
The season is definitely even more fun for me since having Olivia. She shares my joy in beautiful celebrations and spreading love. It’s such a gift to experience the holiday through her eyes. I love creating and maintaining traditions that she can count on, look forward to, and hopefully take with her as she’s older.
To kick off the season, (usually when we get out our décor,) we gift Olivia a Valentine Basket which usually has a pair of (heart) pajamas, a new book, some other small themed goodies and some crafts that she’ll enjoy over the next several weeks. It’s a fun way to set the tone for the season.
Olivia is always so excited to decorate her play areas and our home for Valentine’s Day. We always spend quite a bit of time creating beautiful valentines for family and friends. In the past, leading up to the day, Olivia and I have had a special Valentine’s tea party together, while she and Chris have the tradition of attending a father-daughter dance. (He took her to her first once when she was not even six months old!) As a family we spend extra time reading books on the theme, trying out new recipes, and coming up with new ways to show our love to family and friends. It’s a great joy to create art, care packages, classroom valentines.
On Valentine’s Day proper, we always have heart shaped pancakes for breakfast and we always make heart shaped pizzas for dinner. We celebrate the day as a family and it’s always really special. Olivia usually opens a gift in the morning and is dressed in head to toe pink- her signature look!
How will you adapt your Valentine’s celebrations this year in times of Covid?
This year will look different in some ways. Several group activities will not be possible but we are grateful that so much of what we love about this season will not change. Love is not cancelled and we always do our best to focus on the good. I’m going to get creative with classroom valentines this year and Chris is going to set up a special dinner date with Olivia at his parents’ house while they are away for the winter to make up for the cancelled Father-Daughter dance.
I’ve been touched seeing how people are making the most of this unprecedented time; going out of their way to still make magic for our children. In some ways it means even more- knowing that people are experiencing their own struggles and loss but have been finding creative ways to distribute Halloween candy, to coordinate a holiday light show with neighbors or are willing to deliver Valentine goody bags to friends. We are hoping to bring a lot of joy and love to a lot of people this season. We will be sending valentines to our family and friends as usual, and are so thankful for video calls too.
Can you give us some more inspiration : decor, crafts and ideas of activities please?
Since Olivia and I adore pink, we always incorporate more of that into our décor. I have accumulated pink entertaining pieces and heart dishes over the years and we enjoy using those and adding to the collection every year. We usually make a little banner for Olivia’s play kitchen that says “LOVE” or “XOXO” and paper heart doilies are great for making play kitchen sized wreaths and dressing up play tablescapes. In a non-Covid year, I also love to incorporate themed napkins and/or notes in her school lunches. It’s a sweet surprise while she’s away from home and helps carry the excitement.
Several years ago we started a sweet and special countdown to Valentine's Day tradition. Starting February 1st, each morning I write down one thing I love about Olivia on a heart shaped piece of paper and tape it to her bedroom door for her to see when she wakes up. She is always so excited and proud to see the little note on her door and my heart bursts with pride and joy making them.
We also always make little “stained glass” hearts and hang them in our windows. We make and mail some to loved ones too. It’s a really fun and inexpensive activity for a wide range of ages. We love the fact that others can enjoy them walking or driving by our home.
One thing we do for Olivia at each holiday is get her a new book. We are avid readers at our home and I want to encourage and nurture her love for it as much as I can. Adding a book at the holidays makes it easy to update your library and keep things fresh without having to do a total revamp.
I think it’s also fun picking out a new outfit or two to enjoy wearing throughout the season. Since Olivia has been able to express a preference, she only wants to wear pink dresses. It’s always a bit of a challenge finding those special pieces since she has such a uniform. I can’t wait for her to wear this beautiful bow dress.
My blog has an entire “valentine’s day shop” full of gift and clothing ideas for little girls as well as for sweet celebrations and crafts.
You mentioned special Valentine’s cooking? Can you please share some of your recipes?
Yes, we are always adding favorites to our seasonal collection. Heart shaped pancakes and pizzas are two staples but in the past we’ve made pink donuts, heart churros, and we always make some of Chris’ grandmother’s famous sugar cookies (heart shaped of course!) This year, I’ve got a new cake recipe I want to try and we’re also going to make some new pink popsicles, too…stay tuned!
A word of love for the end?
No matter what season you’re in or how you’re celebrating…you are SO LOVED! Love is not cancelled. Love always wins. Love is all you need. We wish you the most joyful Valentine’s Day full of love and fun!
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