Forget A Romantic Valentine

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, but not because of the romance of it all. In fact, I firmly believe it’s not a holiday just for your romantic partner. Especially once you have kids, it’s a day to celebrate all the ones you love. When my three kids were little, we started a few traditions that we still do today, and it makes the day for me, every single year.

I share custody with my ex, so some years I haven’t had my kids on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t let that stop me. We can celebrate any day we want, so if my ex has them on the exact day, I make plans for the next day.

First, we always choose a restaurant and go out to dinner. It’s usually Chinese food or sushi — I let the kids pick — even though they are busy teenagers now, we always do it on a night everyone can come and won’t be rushed. If we can’t swing an evening, we have lunch.

I always get my kids a little gift, something they need or even something they’ve wanted for a while. One year I got my daughter a cosmetic bag with hearts on it. My oldest loves getting gift cards for his favorite restaurants or the place he buys car supplies. My youngest loves anything to do with plants and gardening. I genuinely enjoy picking something out every year… and I usually grab a little treat for myself, too.

Of course, there is always candy. So that became the tradition: I hand out their gifts and candy when we arrive at the restaurant and sit down to eat.

A few years ago, my teens started giving me gifts on Valentine’s Day, which was incredibly sweet and completely unexpected. Sometimes it’s flowers, and sometimes it’s something homemade, but it always makes me so happy to see my kids, especially as teens, enjoying this family tradition so much.

The post-holiday let down is real, and I’ve always thought Valentine’s Day was a great holiday to do a little something for my kids without all the stress we sometimes feel at Christmas. And no matter what I give them, or where we eat, it always feels incredibly special.

Katie lives in Maine with her three kids, two ducks, and a Goldendoodle. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, at the gym, redecorating her home, or spending too much money online.

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