February 14th can be an overblown, pressure-laden, Hallmark holiday; it can also be a day of intentional loving on our families. A big smooch goes out to some of my Smartiest friends from whom I have stolen a few of these ideas over the years. I hope one may help Cupid’s arrows fly around your home too this weekend.
$6 – Sleepy Poet – Cigar Box
In marriage, there are times we need to remind our spouses we treasure them. One of the most romantic ways to do so has long been the love letter. But in our hurried culture, lengthy odes are hard to achieve. Jotting down a short but authentic note of appreciation every now and again can serve a similar purpose. Catch your partner taking time to bike ride with the kids when under deadline? See the way he tells the family a Dad Joke just when tensions run high? Tuck a brief note letting them know this matters in a cigar box, leaving the lid open for finding. Once read, the lid closes until the next note magically appears. It takes two minutes but leaves a much longer impression.
$4-5 – Etsy – Family Statements
Much how businesses create mission statements to guide their way and stay true to their purpose, families can too. They can be sillier, but still unifying, like the one shown or possess a slightly more serious tone–whatever conveys your family best.
As a writer, I have long wanted to bring my people together to create one for our collage wall; Valentine’s seems like just the right opportunity to do so. If your family is one of few words though, try the magnet approach instead. A family mantra or beloved quote holding up remote learning schedules on the fridge could serve as a powerful reminder on tough days.
$4.32 – priscaprints – printable
$5.95 – SnarkyYetSweet – magnet
$3 – A Deck of Cards
Later this month, I’ll be writing all about the power of playing games as a family. After all, one of the most meaningful gifts we can give our loved ones is quality time. Today’s Parent has full instructions for “10 Kid-Friendly Card Games” for ages 3+ all from 1 basic pack of 52!
$2 – Brach’s conversation heart napkin rings
My friend–and by good fortune, neighbor–@mammameanswell from Instagram is a clever and classy mom with all sorts of good ideas. I love this cute, kid-friendly one she recently shared. All you need is the following: TP or paper towel tubes, paint, hot glue, scissors, and those hard-as-a-rock-but-can’t-get-enough candy hearts. Once constructed, set a fun table and prepare (or order) a meal to enjoy together Sunday evening (or morning or afternoon). The point? Take a break to sit and savor and sip as a family, slowly.
$1 – Dollar Store – Red Plate
Fifteen years ago, a friend gifted my husband and me a red plate with the explanation that we were to use it throughout our years as a growing family to commemorate special occasions: birthdays, promotions, anniversaries, and other important moments. This is a widely circulated tradition on the Internet as a wedding gift for good reason. We still have and use ours. Not sure how we haven’t broken it yet, but it is surely a gift that keeps giving. Why not start this tradition now, on your own, by loading it up with a plate of brownies to enjoy with each other?
$0 – Art Walks CLT
I cannot wait to stroll our city’s streets and sidewalks “art-gazing” again with my 3 VIPs this weekend. This will be our 3rd outing (1st with Dad along), and we will be checking out the NEW! curated Lovers Art Trail.
Art Walks CLT describes itself as a connection, “to local public art and artists through free self-guided neighborhood artwalks.” I bet you’ll swoon too as your children explain the way they understand Wall Poem’s poetry murals along the way, such as Robert Creeley’s “Love Comes Quietly”.
What are your favorite, low to no cost ways to love on your people? Comment below!