If Valentine’s Day crept up on you this year, never fear. We’ve got you covered. And if you’re determined to pass this holiday by because you think it’s nothing more than a marketing ploy, then hear us out.
Valentine’s Day is more than jewelry, candy, and flowers—it’s a day to celebrate everyone you love and a day to remind them of how special they are to you. You can go all out on gifts, but it’s the simplest notes of encouragement and quality time spent together that mean the most.
For Your Significant Other
Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
- Stay in, and cook a gourmet dinner together. Not only will you save money and beat the Valentine’s Day dinner crowds, but you’ll get to set the romantic atmosphere yourself with candles and soothing music. Whip up a fancy (but simple!) appetizer first to snack on while you cook, opt for a new dish neither of you have made before, and keep it silly and laid-back. If he accidentally burns the roux, just laugh it off and begin again.
- Keep the evening phone-free. Even if you do nothing more than heat up leftovers, turn off your phones and give each other the gift of undivided attention.
- Set up a strawberry dipping bar! Go crazy for delicious toppings—chopped pistachios, caramel drizzle, crushed pretzels, festive sprinkles, sweetened coconut, and more. Just dip the berries in chocolate and sprinkle with your favorite add-ons. And don’t bother telling him he has chocolate on his face. 🙂
- Kick it old school, and make him a mixed tape (aka a playlist). Choose songs that remind you of him or ones that whisk you back to your early dating days. Even if your musical taste has gotten better over the years, he’ll appreciate the nostalgic romance.
- Change his phone wallpaper. You get to decide if it’s candy hearts, otters holding hands, or a photo of you making a kissy face.
- Write him a love note, or simply tell him all the things you love about him face-to-face. This old-fashioned kind of love costs nothing and means the most.
For Your Friends
No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
- Indulge in the silliest, sappiest movie you can find. When else can you watch all the movies you’ve secretly been wanting to see?
- Make it fondue night. Grab a variety of mouth-watering cheeses and chocolates, and ask friends to bring snacks to dip into the savory and sweet fondue pots. Dip steamed veggies, bite-sized cubes of crusty bread, even chopped apples and pears into melted cheese. For the chocolate fondue, stick with pretzels, marshmallows, popcorn, and angel food cake bits. And healthy things like fresh berries and citrus slices, of course.
- Host a dessert-only potluck. Have each friend bring her favorite sweet treat for a variety of indulgent delights. You provide drinks, plates, forks, and napkins. Write a note of appreciation to send home with each attendee.
- Throw a bake off. Stock up on the basics like butter, flour, sugar, and chocolate chips, and ask friends to come prepared with recipes and any additional ingredients they will need. Even though it’s technically a competition, everyone wins in the end.
For Your Kids
He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.” Mark 9:36-37
- Make it a themed dinner. Forget the gourmet dinner, and instead shape pizza dough into hearts or cut brownies with heart-shaped cookie cutters. By letting them help, you’ll be setting up a fun Valentine’s Day tradition for years to come.
- Show your local woodland creatures some love. Set out piles of apple slices and birdseed together. Your kids will love watching the birds, squirrels, and other furry critters that come out of hiding to eat the food they left out for them.
- Make homemade valentines. Pull out your crafting supplies (and maybe finger paints?), and let your kids make valentines for their grandparents, cousins, and friends. Even if they’re a few days late, cards from the heart always inspire smiles.
Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
- Think of others. Even though it’s not usually thought of as a family holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day can still be hard on people who have lost their spouses. Wrap up a few extra bags of cookies and candies, and hand them out to men and women from church who may be missing their sweethearts this year.
- Don’t forget those closest to you—geographically! Leave little boxes of candy on your neighbors’ front porches to let them know you appreciate them.
- Scatter the love to everyone around you. Pick up discounted candy the day after Valentine’s Day and slip chocolates and gummies into lunch boxes, sticky fingers, and envelopes for weeks to come.
- Remember that love comes in more forms than hugs, kisses, and gifts. Spend the day going out of your way to smile at strangers, hold doors open for weary mothers, and call up friends you haven’t spoken to in a while. And if all else fails, pay for the coffee of the person behind you because they just might do the same.
How will you spend your Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the comments!
Elizabeth Hudson is a copywriter for LifeWay Women. She’s also a reader, writer, and wayfarer who hopes to explore every country in the world at least once.