The exact origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in the ambiguity of time. The modern celebration is said to combine the ancient Roman fertility festival Lupercalia, which was a surprisingly violent event, with a holiday designated in 496 A.D. by Pope Gelasius, who wanted to obliterate the pagan fete. Whatever the roots of this holiday celebrating love and romance may be, it is still fun to send unique Valentine’s Day cards to special people, and there are plenty of distinctive ways to celebrate this day of love with your entire family.
First, reconsider giving gifts. Valentine’s Day is about love, not material things. If you just cannot get past giving a gift, then make sure it passes the GIFT test: Does it create more gratitude, intimacy, fondness and trust between you and the giver? If not, then consider gifts with a more personal touch that show you know what matters to a person.
Write love letters to your entire family, and be specific. Rather than telling your spouse “You’re lovable,” include details that you appreciate such as “the way you sing happily and off-key” and “your thoughtfulness in letting me sleep on weekends by making the kids breakfast.” This way, your spouse will feel noticed and cared for, and when you write love notes to your children, they will cherish them always and never forget that you value them for who they really are.
How about a homemade gift certificate for a back rub or a foot massage every night for a month? Not for you—for your children! Show them that you value and love them by spending 15 minutes every evening snuggling before bed. This is not reading time. This is chatting and cuddling. Children need this dedicated, loving attention. No greater gift can be given.
The bottom line is that no marketing campaign or advertisement can tell you the kinds of gifts you should shower upon those you love. In fact, collecting more stuff teaches children the wrong message about what love is. Giving of yourself to those you love need not be fancy—just authentic. They will know.
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