Note: I posted these ideas for Christmas but they also work for Valentine's Day or any day at all.
I love Valentine's Day because to me, it's a bright spot in the middle of winter--a touch of warmth, if you will.
And because intentionally focusing on love and friendship is always in season.
Plus, there's chocolate. One year my parents believed me when I said I didn't want chocolate because I was trying to cut down on my consumption of it. So they gave me a plastic heart tin full of cashews instead. I was quite surprised but since I love cashews, it worked out very well.
I also think Valentine's Day is fun. When I was little, I remember exchanging valentines with friends and classmates. When my daughter was little, she did the same. She would make her own or decorate valentines she picked out at the store. For special friends, we would attach a treat: a piece of candy, a colorful pencil, a sticker, or something similar.
I realize that not everyone gives gifts at Valentine's, but at our house, we view it as an opportunity to intentionally spread a little love to each other. Through the years, we've created gifts based on the ideas below. Hope they inspire you if you'd like to do the same.
A letter of love or appreciation. These days, receiving a real letter feels like a special occasion anytime. Your letter to your loved one or friend doesn’t have to be romantic—just a note in your own words that details what you like about that person, what you appreciate about who they are or what they do, any special memories you have of them, etc.
My husband wrote me a letter like this for our anniversary one year, and it is precious to me. He used Jody Noland’s Leave Nothing Unsaid template to help him get started.
A special experience. One year, my husband gave me a gift card to the gift shop at our city’s art museum. When I opened it, I was surprised and a little confused until he explained: he wanted to take me to lunch at the new museum restaurant, then to the current art exhibition (paintings from the Louvre), and finally to the gift shop to spend the gift card. I loved his creativity and forethought, and we had so much fun the day we went.
What sort of experience would your family member or friend love? You could write a note explaining what the experience will be or just say that it’s a surprise and then put your note in a gift bag or box so they’ll have something to unwrap.
A piece of art. Are you gifted in the arts? Maybe you could create a small sketch or watercolor, a poem or story, or a special photograph in a frame or a book of photos.
A handmade card. My sister and my niece make cards to give for birthdays and Christmas. They put a lot of time and care into choosing just the right color palette, papers, stamps, and additional elements before adding their message inside.
One year, a friend from church gave me a set of blank handmade cards, including a few she’d painted. So far I haven’t given many of those away—I don’t want to part with them.
Coupons and coupon books. People often give these to their sweethearts, and children make them for their parents, but what about creating them for a friend or a child?
Hand-write the coupons or print them on fun paper, and bind them with a binder clip, paper clip, or even staples. If you prefer, put them in a fancy or decorated envelope.
To make a coupon book for a friend, you could include coupons for one free cup of coffee, one pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to share, one movie of his/her choice, one hour of organizing help, etc.
A kid’s book could have coupons for one free ice cream, one family movie of his/her choice, one family dinner of his/her choice, one new book, one batch of cookies made together, one trip to the park, one play date with a friend.
Any of these handmade gifts would be treasured by the person receiving it, and the ideas work well for birthdays, Easter, and Mother’s and Father’s Day, too. Hopefully they’ve helped you think of creative ways to show your love to the special people in your life this Valentine's Day.
Have you ever given handmade gifts? What did you give? I'm always looking for more ideas so let me know in the comments below or on Facebook. Thanks!
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