Very Valentine, Very Affordable

Creating Special Gifts and Memories for Your Valentine
Amy Hannold,

“Special Day Plates”: At your local second-hand store, purchase a “You Are Special Today” plate. Beautiful plates of many designs are available for purchase, affordably, because they’re no longer part of a set. Select one either for each person, or one year-round “You Are Special” plate to use throughout the year on special days.

Each person, at some point throughout the year, can be given their own special plate – a family celebration dinner can include everyone’s special plates.

Breakfast Ideas: Pink pancakes, heart-shaped biscuits (or other foods), sparkling apple/grape juice for breakfast. Fancy looking disposable glasses, flatware, and plates add a fancy touch without the fear of broken dishes.

Lunch: In addition to a valentine and special treat, use heart-shaped cookie cutters to shape sandwiches, cheese, or other foods into hearts. Want heart-shaped cupcakes?:
“Place paper baking cups in a muffin tin. Put a marble or small ball of foil in each cup, between the paper liner and the pan. Pour batter in as usual. Don’t fill cups too full or you will lose the heart-shaped effect of the cupcake.” (Complete Holiday Organizer, by Emilie Barnes).

Dinner: Either for you and your Valentine, or for the whole family, create a dining experience. Use the “special” dishes, linens, silverware, candles, and soft music. Use serving trays, etc. – and invite each person to wear their nicer clothes. Ahead of the dinner, ask each person to compose a story, poem, or art creation to share at dinner.

Moms, Dads, Caregivers and Grandparents: Encourage your kids to create their valentine decorations and cards. Designing “Coupons” for them – or their giving valentines to relatives will illustrate the gift of time and talent.

Romance? Here are a few ideas:
Make a collage of photos from your years together as a couple. Include wedding photos, family photos, and perhaps you can get a “baby” photo from the in-laws. ‘

Start a journal together, where you can communicate your thoughts and love to each other for Valentine’s day – and the many “ordinary” days to come. If you’re the creative type, decorate the cover, otherwise purchase one. Make a fancy bookmark. Write short notes to one another. You’ll have more memories to look back on in years to come.

Surprise your loved one by taking them out a day or two before Valentine’s Day. Plan the babysitting, dining or other activities. You’ll find sitters easier to find, and dinner will be cheaper too. Go to and find a dining discount, or look in your local paper. Radio station websites are also great sources of discounts.

Affordable Love Moments: Aside from all of these creative ideas, consider sharing some time in the outdoors, movies (at home or theater), community event, or even a weekend workshop – whatever you do, elaborate the activity with “hearts”, flowers, or a special surprise. Spend time talking about your love, and what you appreciate about the other.

Staying home, even with the kids at the sitters, can be a couple’s time for a rousing game of chess/checkers or a marathon of old movies (family or otherwise). Begin new traditions of your own; either in letters, spoken words or activities that communicate the love in your life together.

Give Heart Now – and Later: Simply spend the weekend sharing your thoughts and love for those around you. Then, remember these activities for a few months from now. Keep yourself and your family in a common habit of loving one another – and saying so in many small, special ways.

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