My wonderful mother-in-law picked these ideas up at an open house at one of my favorite home stores, Belle Maison, in SLC a few years ago. They were all printed up with darling little vintage pictures on each page like this:
And it is full of charming ideas (from Tasha Tudor's All for Love) to make your child's Valentine's Day just a little more special . I refer to it every year! Here's a synopsis:
When her children were little, Miss Tudor used to create tiny little magazines, catalogues, and cards for her children and their dolls, and had them delivered in the mail! Miss Tudor reminisces: "Valentine production starts as soon as Christmas is over. It takes many hours to make the number of small valentines required for this special day. And, of course, each person and each toy character has to receive enough cards to feel warmly loved. Besides the exchanging of the tiny greetings, when the children were little, a whole celebration would be planned."
Such as -- Cupid's Tea:
To inspire you, why not have a "Cupid's Tea" the weekend before Valentine's Day for all your family members and close friends? The purpose: to create homemade valentines.
How about this -- Valentine's Day Breakfast:
Start off the day with an early morning greeting: "Good morning to you, Valentines. Has any sweet child been stung by Cupid's bow and arrow?" (Cupid has left a special old-fashioned valentine underneath each child's pillow.) Begin celebrating at breakfast with heart-shaped cinnamon toast and strawberry muffins with hot drinks served in heart-patterned mugs. Make the table bright with cheery red-and-white heart placemats and napkins.
Sweet School Supplies:
Slip a small gift in your children's book bag that they can use at school - perhaps a heart-shaped pad, pencils, pencil sharpener, or eraser. Also include a funny valentine from Mom and Dad tucked into their lunch, along with heart-shaped sandwiches (use cookie cutters) and cookies. Festive red-and-white paper napkins complete their Valentine's Day lunches.
Love this -- The Dolls' Tea Party:
After school there's a valentine tea party for all the dolls and stuffed toy friends who keep the children such good company throughout the year. Dolls and toys are, as you no doubt realize, very generous to those good children who take such loving care of them, so when the children arrive at the party, they're sure to find tiny foil-covered, heart-shaped chocolates and valentines waiting for them in the arms of their faithful companions.
My favorite -- Home Sweet Home:
In the evening, illuminate the dining room with candlelight for a family St. Valentine's Day party. At each person's place setting, have a gold-foil paper cornucopia pilled with penny-candy motto hearts, chocolate kisses, and pink mints. During dinner, tell the children the story of your courtship.
"Remember that family traditions require an investment of creative and emotional energy. Like enduring love, they are true affairs of the heart." --Tasha Tudor
So what are your Valentine's Day traditions? Here are a couple things I've done each year.
Cupid strikes each of my kids while they are sleeping. He leaves his stamp on their door and a special treat just outside their room. Usually it is repackaged goodies like conversation hearts and other Valentine's candy... repackaging them is the fun part! I use clear cellophane bags and include shredded paper, maybe some pink feathers, pearls, or gems for the girls, pirate coins for the boys, a homemade (personalized) doily valentine and the candy - all tied up in fun ribbons. For instance my daughter is very musical, so her valentine would have sheet music on it. This year I am also including with the candy a book for each of them.
Make a special Valentine's school lunch:
Inside a cute sack I put any variety of the following options: heart shaped sandwich, red fruit juice, apples sliced into big circles with the core cut out in a heart shape, graham crackers/ tied up in shoestring licorice (some years I can't find it anywhere!), strawberries, yogurt with red sprinkles in a small reused spice jar for them to add themselves, and a sweet treat like these darling Little Debbie snack cakes.
Here is my favorite sugar cookie/frosting recipes.
One year I put together a book of memories for my husband, with old pictures and funny captions, love notes, etc. I came up with one page for each year we had been married. Another year I made a big 3D heart of Hershey's kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
One of my friends leaves a trail of gems leading to little clues all over the house for her kids, sending them on a sweet little scavenger hunt. Along the way they may have discovered that everything in the house (including the toilet water) has turned pink!
Look forward to hearing your ideas! I know you have lots!