Last week, I chatted a bit about one of my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions (simplifying). My other main resolution for last year was to actively cultivate some easy yet meaningful traditions for our family. It may seem strange to have to “create” traditions, but since we move so much and usually live far away from family, how we celebrate each holiday constantly changes from year to year. Our traditions can’t really be tied to specific people or places since we can’t always visit a specific spot or even be with certain people based on where we’re living. Because of this, I found myself worrying that our children wouldn’t have any concrete holiday memories. But then it occurred to me: I can cultivate small, easy traditions for most of the major holidays that don’t include other people or the surrounding area. With some thought (and art supplies too!), I can establish no-fuss traditions that my boys will (hopefully) someday say “Remember how every year we did _____ for Valentine’s Day!” Today’s project is what I came up with last Valentine’s Day. It was so easy, it worked really well, and we all enjoyed it, so you better bet we’re repeating it this year. I thought I’d share it in case you too want to establish a quick little tradition to help celebrate Valentine’s Day in a fun and meaningful way!
I’m sure you’ve seen variants of this same “daily love notes” concept around the web. I’ll show you how our simple little system works, and then show you how I pulled it together!
Each boy has a sign for their bedroom door. Attached to the sign is a yard-ish length of ribbon that hangs straight down.
On the counter right outside their rooms (right above our newly organized game cabinet), I have a stack of paper hearts, a little cardboard mailbox Henry decorated with stickers, a pencil, and a stapler.
Each night before bed, we write one thing we love about each other on the little paper hearts. Henry’s old enough that he can write to Sam. I write Sam’s notes to Henry on his behalf. I also write one for each boy, as well. (Last year, Greg was deployed, but he sent a few “love notes” via email and I printed them out to be included in our little activity.) The notes then get put in the mailbox…
The next morning, we empty the mailbox, read the notes, and then staple each paper heart to the ribbon on their door.
We start on February 1st and write one note each day until Valentine’s Day. We keep adding the hearts down the ribbon so that by February 14th, they have all sorts of reminders of why they are awesome and special and loved hanging down their bedroom door!
Once Valentine’s Day is over, I simply pull all the hearts off the ribbon, and tuck the two signs and mailbox away for next year!
This couldn’t be a more simple project to pull together, whether you have a cutting machine or not. I made two cardstock signs using my Cricut; each one measures about 11.5×6.5″ (below, left). You could easily just print out your children’s names onto computer paper, use a chalkboard sign, single wooden letters, or anything else you can think of to represent each family member! I then hot-glued about a yard of bright red ribbon the the back of the sign (below, right).
At the bottom of the sign, I secured another paper heart to the ribbon…just to give the ribbon some weight and help it hang straight down. We secure the signs to the bedroom doors with painter’s tape along the back.
This past weekend, I got us all ready to start on Friday by cutting out a stack of red hearts and gathering our other supplies. If you want to pull together a similar love letter writing station, craft stores carry so many ready-made Valentine’s Day paper shapes, stickers, trays and more…but you might already have most supplies around your house! (I think I still have time to make a “Why I Love Mom & Dad” sign so that the boys can spread the love to us too 😉 )
When I pulled out our little Valentine’s Day signs and mailbox this past weekend, Henry said “Oh mom – are we going to do that again?!?!” (in an excited tone!) In that moment, I was so happy I took the 20 minutes last year to think through and pull together this easy little project. Although it may change and evolve as the years go by, I’m excited to have this meaningful tradition off and running!
Valentine’s Day Project Ideas
I don’t do a ton of seasonal crafts anymore, but if you’re looking for some other fun and easy projects to kick off your February, here are some of my oldies but goodies!
Tell me! Do you have any little family traditions you do every year for Valentine’s Day? I always remember getting a card and a box of chocolates on my dinner plate from my Dad on Valentine’s Day night…another little tradition I do with our boys. I’d love to hear if you do anything special in your family!