Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Does Your Family Celebrate Valentine's Day?

A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920Image via WikipediaValentines Day is up there for most people as the most dreaded and/or anticipated holidays.  Swooning, roses, hearts, grand gestures, all these things dance in people's head likes sugar plums do at Christmas.  But, there are those who hate it, are bitterly disappointed by it, or find it to be saccharine sweet.  I know, that for most people, it's supposed to be the ultimate in romance, but for ou9r little family it's all about the ultimate in love.

See, about a decade ago or more, I decided to rearrange my perspective on the holiday.  I decided that while it's nice to receive sweet, romantic gestures, it's even BETTER to GIVE a little extra love to all the people who mean a lot to me.  There's always a group howling "Well, aren't you supposed to show your love and gratitude to the people you care about every single day?"

The answer is yes, of course one should do that.  But a day where you spend a little extra time saying to everyone that's in your heart "Hey, you mean a lot to me!"is just as important as everyday tokens of love, if not more.  Because lets face it- winter gets you down after awhile!  It's cold, it's hard to see people often because everyone is so busy (and so cold), and we often just lose touch.  It's about reconnecting, to me.

I believe that Valentine's Day should be the same as any other winter holiday, it should be about the spirit of giving and making a person's day just a little bit brighter.  I receive more pleasure from giving people I love a Valentine or a little gift than I ever have when I got roses, candy, jewelry, or other gifts.  It's almost a continuation of Christmas and the spirit of charity, love, and giving, for our family anyways.

So, we do Valentine's Day up big in our household.  We trade the Christmas ornaments on our glittery pink tree (did I ever mention that pink is my favorite color- tee hee!) for hearts, we hand make Valentines for everyone in our lives, we bake goodies as gifts, and we give each other all a little something special that day.  We take time out to let everyone know how much we love and appreciate them.

We sit down that night to a nice family dinner with a wonderful dessert, our table decked out with some candles and flowers.  After dinner, we play some games or read stories, have special bubble baths, and make sure to tell each other how much we love each other.  The kids go off to bed, the husband and I spend some quiet time together, and make sure to have a wonderful day.

Do you know the story of St. Valentine? He was a monk in Roman times, centuries ago.  During that time, it was forbidden that young men who were in the military could be able to marry.  He performed marriages for these young men who had found that special someone they wanted to spend forever with.  St. Valentine was loved by children and spent time in local gardens, telling the children stories and showing them how to plant and care for roses.  Once, he was called to the house of a child he had spent time with, by her mother.  The little girl got a terrible fever and became blind.  He prayed over her, spent time reading to her and helping the family. 

During the time he spent with the family, he was tried by the Roman courts and found guilty of performing secret marriages for soldiers and was imprisoned.  When the child got better from her fever, he sent her letters with stories and drawings and he signed them "From Your Valentine".  He spent his life giving love and thus, we now celebrate Valentine's Day.

I hope that Valentine's Day is just as special in your life as it is in ours.  We use the opportunity to teach our children more about the spirit of kindness, being selfless, and giving.  I hope you write us a comment about how your family celebrates Valentine's Day, and I hope most of all that you know that we here at Elegant Mommy value and love everything you have given to us.  So, how do you spend Valentine's Day with your family?
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