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Kindness, Parenting

Valentine’s Day .. the alternative version

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It is one of those ‘days’ that can divide opinion passionately. In the past I was a little indifferent, often swept up in the romance during my 20’s and 30’s when dating and long term relationships relied on grand gestures. Since becoming a Mother, and since my perspective on life shifted dramatically after losing my Mother, Valentine’s Day in the commercial sense has really started to bother me.

The hugely over priced red roses (my least favourite flower anyway), the giant teddy bears in florist windows and the overt advertising appealing to your emotions, and convincing men that this is the time to redeem anything that needs redeeming. It feels a little heartless, even though there are red hearts everywhere we turn!

Now that my little man has started school and entered into the community in a much more significant way, I feel that this is the perfect time to lead by example on things like Valentines Day. It is my hope that I can influence him in a way that will allow him to see beyond the marketing and the commercial takeover of what should be a day all about love.

So I have a few ideas that I am going to introduce and I would love to hear what you think, and whether you might want to join me in creating something a little more meaningful around this traditional celebration of love.

♡ Choose a charity or cause together as a family or with a group of friends or colleagues in the weeks leading up to Valentines Day each year, a charity that fits well with the theme of love. Is there a retirement home in your area? A beautiful group activity is to make some Valentine cards and deliver them to the retirement home to brighten the lives of the older residents. Is there a children’s charity that you could support by organising a drive for some of the items that they need most, turning the focus around onto bringing more love to the lives of children in need.

♡ Valentines Day is also the perfect time to focus on self love and self care. The concept of taking care of ourselves so that we can be our most vibrant, energetic and giving is such a lovely family focus. Create a list for each member of your family to decide on the things that they consider essential “self care” for themselves and keep the list handy as a reminder for everyone.

♡ Aim to turn the focus around from that of only romantic love and create a broader celebration of love in your family, workplace and community. Valentines Day can become a time that you remind all of the important people in your life that they are loved. Make a list of the people who have supported you recently, or the people who you have not seen in a while and prepare some hand written cards to surprise them in the mail.

♡ A love themed family and friends dinner for your nearest and dearest on Valentines Day could be so much more meaningful than trying to fit into the over crowded and often over priced restaurant scene on this day. I am the biggest fan of fine dining don’t get me wrong..Valentines Day is becoming a bit of an exception to that love though.

♡ Gratitude and a focus on the positives is another great family activity to incorporate into your Valentines Day. I am going to start a ritual of giving cards (either handmade or carefully selected from ethical or charity sources) with a list of the reasons why I love the recipient, why I am grateful for them being in my life and how they have made my life better.

What are your thoughts about creating a broader celebration of love this Valentines Day?

Image credit: Miann Scanlan