I am not usually a Valentine’s Day type of person. It’s a commercialized, chintzy, kinda made-up holiday. I even once wrote a screed on why it’s dumb: A Frugal Weirdo’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Manifesto.
But let me tell you, this year, I am ON BOARD. Sign me up for ALL the tacky holidays.
Frugalwoods reader Barbara summed it up perfectly:
Mostly, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. But with the pandemic, I feel the need to celebrate every milestone just for the sense that time is passing.
Yes, Barbara, preach it! My thoughts exactly. Maybe it’s the yearlong pandemic, maybe it’s the excessive snow, maybe it’s being home with a five-year-old and a three-year-old EVERY SINGLE DAY. Whatever the reason, I’m celebrating everything I can possibly think of/contrive to celebrate.
I still can’t quite get myself to view V-Day as a romantic holiday, but I’m digging the kid angle. I am cutting out paper hearts, baking heart-shaped mini cakes and I painted my nails red. I painted the girls’ nails too, but they’ve mostly picked the polish off, so hey–new activity for me: vacuuming up nail polish flakes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
While my Valentine creativity pretty much stopped in 1989 when I homemade cards for my entire Kindergarten class, I was thrilled–though not at all surprised–by the fabulous things you all have planned for February 14th. Since we’ve heard enough from me, let’s turn to the readers!
Welcome to my monthly Reader Suggestions feature! Every month I post a question to our Frugalwoods Facebook group and share the best responses here. The questions are topics I’ve received multiple queries on and my hope is that by leveraging the braintrust of Frugalwoods nation, you’ll find helpful advice and insight. Join the Frugalwoods Facebook group to participate in next month’s Reader Suggestions.
How Frugalwoods Readers are Celebrating Valentine’s Day 2021
In the Community
Michele wrote, “We usually keep it simple…. we always give our kids a heart attack (paper hearts with all the things we love about them taped to their doors in the morning when they wake up), maybe some homemade treats or a special dessert. When my kids were little we would gather all our crayon stubs and bake them into heart shaped crayons and tie them with ribbon to give as Valentines at school. We honestly really love Valentines as an opportunity to LOVE others. One year we made homemade paper Valentines for all our the homeless friends at our local shelter (with candies of course), another year we made joy jars (mason jars filled with paper heart scriptures we wrote, candies, tea, etc. and paired with daffodils) for the retiree’s in our local ladies group. It’s a really great day to be fun and creative and make people feel happy.”
Caitlynn said, “Since we won’t be making homemade valentines for my daughter’s class this year, being virtual, my girls made heart shaped cookies with their grandma for all our neighbors! The bags were leftover supplies we already had.”
Ann shared, “I’ve crafted homemade valentines for ladies at a transitional home in our city. Just as the women, no two cards are exactly alike. I’ll give them to one of our church members who’s on staff, asking her to decide who should get each card. Made some treat boxes for the children as well.”
Cindy wrote, “Our town is doing a dinosaur hunt that you can walk or drive through. Businesses put dinos in their windows, a map is available on the website, and you go find the dinos!”
For The Whole Family
Erin shared, “We’re not big V-day celebrators, but we make heart-shaped pizza (my family tradition, which happens to be covid-friendly and small-child accessible). A special dessert. Massages are a great idea! De-stressing & connecting as a couple, who couldn’t use more of that? We picked up a secondhand massage table last year and it’s been so worth it for us.”
Cindy is, “Using any restaurant gift card we got and ordering much missed restaurant take out for lunch or dinner. Getting each other something we’ve each wanted but wouldn’t buy for ourselves. Getting the kids their favorite candy and a valentines craft. Also making cards for classmates and grandparents. Using up any extra valentines from past years that seem to add up and contribute to our clutter. We may decorate our windows/front door with rainbow hearts for our neighbors to see as well. And I want hubby to get me wine and chocolates!”
Tracey wrote, “…we do Sunday family dinners so this year I think I might do some little heart love notes for everyone in the family whose coming and maybe get my creative on and make some heart shaped cookies.”
Sara shared, “We don’t really celebrate other than I get each of my two kids a variety box of chocolates. Buy them on the after Christmas clearance because they already are in a red box. Perfect frugal hack and the kids love the sweet treat!”
Heather is, “Debating between heart shaped charcuterie or heart shaped fondue (DIY at home either way) for the family. My 12 year old wants to cook something nice for my husband and I!”
Kimberly said, “We never really made a big deal for Valentine’s Day. But a few years ago when my daughter was a toddler, we made Valentine’s cupcakes and decorated them together. It’s become our annual family tradition. We are already looking forward to making them again this year!”
Allison wrote, “I’m making a “love notes jar.” I will take supplies I already have – jar, paint, papers, cardstock. The idea is we have a dedicated spot where, throughout the year, we can write notes to each other. I am thinking I may include prompts as well. Like, draw a card and write a note that answers the question about the other person.”
Kimberly said, “We’ll set a small gift budget that will be challenging and fun. Lobster dinner at home. Fondue. Bonfire and s’mores for the kids. Family games. Netflix and chill after the kids are in bed.”
Kate Elizabeth said, “Every year for my daughter I cut out hearts and write on them what I am proud of with her, each one has a new thing. She is 8 this year and it is amazing all the new things I am proud of each year.”
Angie wrote, “We got valentines for our girls (who are 1 and 4), cards, a coloring book, etc. Something small as a gift, but really it’s a gift to us since it should occupy them for a bit as we continue to work from home with 2 little kids. My husband & I decided to splurge and support a local business and pre-order their Valentine’s Grazing Box. Has half dessert, half cheese, crackers, etc. Something new to try.”
As A Couple
Barbara wrote, “My husband bought a class pack of superman valentines while we were dating and gives me one every year on my pillow. At the time, I thought it was a good sign that he thought he needed the class sized pack.”
Kate said, “Sometimes my husband and I try an online escape room or puzzle game at home. It lets us connect in a new way. We also own an in-person escape room, and let me tell you – you learn A LOT about someone by solving puzzles with them! Also, solving an escape room puzzle is such a dopamine rush – perfect for date night. There are a ton of free and inexpensive online games out there these days, too.”
Jessica said, “Our first Valentine’s day 14 years ago we were both broke and had only been dating a few weeks. I was having a lousy day and had mentioned a few days prior I was craving Sloppy Joe’s. He surprised me by making them for me. We take turns cooking them, but, every year since we have Sloppy Joe’s on Valentine’s. It’s the only time of year we have them. It’s special because it became “our” tradition, like an inside joke to remind us of the early days.”
Rachel wrote, “With our daughter, we’re sending valentine’s cards to people that we wouldn’t normally send valentine’s to, to make it special. This includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc. They definitely will not be expecting anything and I know they will love it. For my husband and I, we will get some strawberries and chocolate hummus dip from Aldi’s, make a special dinner of pasta carbonara, watch a movie, and give each other massages. I bought a $3 massage tool from the bargain store the other day, and I’m going to get my $3 worth hahaha. (Husband does not yet know he is giving me a massage for Valentine’s Day).”
Kellie said, “I’m not sure what the weather is there (I’m in Australia in Summer) but a night hike with torches, picnic by candlelight and stargazing sounds great to me.”
Sarah wrote, “I have bought my husband of 9 years a $14 gadget that will allow the production of cold-smoked cheeses, fish, etc. (He’s been talking for years about building a giant contraption to do the same, and hasn’t gotten around to it.). However, since we’re predicted to have an ice storm with a high of 20F and a low of 9F on V-Day (and this is MISSISSIPPI), I imagine we might be trying it out with no power camping in one room. Memorable!”
Rae Ann shared, “We are making cheese and chocolate fondues in the crockpot and making a charcuterie board of things to dip in the fondues. I found two different fondue recipes to try on Pinterest. We will stream a rom com and play board games together.”
Andria said, “My husband and I watch the least romantic movie we can find (free streaming or acquired from the library) and usually eat pizza. Previous movie selections include: Contagion, Species, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Parasite, Sea of Love. This year, we’re leaning toward Body of Evidence. This is probably not the kind of suggestion you’re looking for.”
Rebecca wrote, “We are doing a Valentine’s date night “in house” – by live streaming a concert: “A Romantic Night In” with Dave Koz, Brian McKnight and special guest Shelea. Plus romantic dinner, dessert & drinks. (Champagne, filet mignon, and I’m not sure what else yet! LOL!)”
Jennifer said, “We make spaghetti and spend the evening together, it’s our tradition since we started dating 16 years ago, married 11 years. We set a spending limit, one year it was $5 which is actually kind of difficult, most cards are half that. We started making cards for each other and found small gifts. I kind of like the limit, it gives it a level of challenge.”
Talia wrote, “My husband and I decided to start foregoing cards and instead we get a bag of candy for each other, with a nice note taped to the bag We’ll also probably make a splurge-y (as far as grocery ingredients go anyway!) dinner and dessert together and enjoy it while my parents watch our 3 year old for the night. Normally this would include wine but I’m pregnant this year! For my daughter, I found a Minnie Mouse candy box on clearance after last Valentine’s Day with a long expiration date, so she’ll get that this year! I plan to check out the clearance again and see what I can find for next year. She and I will also make heart cookies together for friends/family since she loves to bake with me. ”
Sara said, “We will order our favourite sushi and eat it together with our favourite cats. Afterwards most likely an hour in the jacuzzi. Oh and we always dress up even if we celebrate at home!”
Kristi shared, “Since our anniversary is February 26 (we’re going camping at a new state park), we don’t really get crazy for v-day. We usually have some steaks (still don’t feel comfy at restaurants), a nice bottle of Malbec or Camenare wine, and there was talk of watching Casablanca after our debate on whether it’s a romantic movie or not (I’m on the camp of no, because they aren’t together and she has to settle). I will say that in the past, I went to our local brewery and made valentines cards for veterans. It wasn’t on Valentine’s Day, but it’s definitely something to think about this year as an idea project.”
Magdalena shared, “My husband is having an emotional low and I am preparing a collage for him with pictures of things he loves (his hobbies, travel destinations, family pictures…) and mindfulness quotes I think might maybe be helpful. I am really nervous because I don’t know wether he will love it or feel “bullied” into having a better mood.”
Paz wrote, “My husband and I are planning a love notes scavenger hunt! We will each make and hide 14 (semi arbitrary semi meaningful to us number that seemed high enough to be interesting but doable) notes around the house. Also might attempt chocolate covered strawberries.”
Katy Anne plans a, “picnic inside. One year made fancy lobster mac and cheese (with the “fancy” cheeses). Scavenger hunt for prizes!”
Amy plans an, “At home pamper date with facials and foot soaks. Take-out in the backyard then wine and goodies dipped in our chocolate fountain by the fire pit.”
Lorra said, “My poor husband. He keeps wanting to do something special for me on V Day, and I’ve never been one to care much for it. I find flower arrangements wasteful and I still have chocolates from Christmas, I don’t wear much jewelry and I think lingerie is hilarious (think Grinch on Valentines!) I told him to keep adding $ to our cruise fund for our next one if we ever get out of this travel/lockdown/mask situation. At this point, we are going to take one hell of a vacation with what we’ve squirreled away! And then I will drink a fruity red or pink drink, on a red or pink beach towel in my red or pink bathing suit and celebrate belated Valentine’s! LOL”