I am not sure when Valentine’s Day became an expensive, commercialized holiday for only those in a serious, committed relationship. But, this year I am making Valentine’s Day about all the loves in my life: My children, my best girlfriends and, of course, my boyfriend. I am going to make it personal, inexpensive and made straight from the heart.  

“Roses are red, violets are blue, and my valentines will be handmade or homemade just for you!”

People love getting personal things - things that have been made by you for them. I am in love with these handmade and homemade ideas for all of the valentines in my life:

  • Heart Shaped Butter Cookies – My sweetie will be getting one dozen of these! This recipe is super simple and makes enough for your sweetie and to include with all of your other valentines. I place two cookies in a clear bag (one facing each direction) and then tie it with cute heart ribbon – is there a better way to say “Happy Valentine’s Day?” Bonus: These are delicious!
  • Homemade Card – I love nothing more than a handmade card. I value these more than flowers, chocolates or diamonds (OK, not diamonds…. but, almost). There are a million different ways to make these and anyone can make one. They can be simple or complicated, wordy or just word-pictures and they are perfect for everyone on your valentine’s list. Here is my favorite link for all things card making: Perfect cards!
  • Paper Flowers – More than 250 million roses are sold on Valentine’s Day with an average cost for a long-stem bouquet of $97! Roses are beautiful and smell amazing, but that’s pretty pricey for a gift with a short shelf life. Years ago, my best friend sent me a dozen paper hydrangeas she had made herself. They were out of this world! The stunning paper bouquet sat in my home office for five years until my roof got a leak and ruined them. Point being – I treasured them and I will never forget how they made me feel. So, whether you are super crafty or super not-crafty, take a stab at a few paper flowers for your loved ones. Start here.
  • Kiddo Date Cards – If you have a child in your life they are definitely on your valentine’s list. I like to avoid the sweet treats, chocolates and candy for the little ones on my list. So, I give out “date cards.” I have never had a child not LOVE this gift. I take a colored file note card and write the following on it:
  • The child’s name
  • The destination or activity
  • The date and time of our “date”
  •  My name

This year my “date cards” will be cashed in over the summer to raft the river with me! Be creative - this might be the best gift of all, for you and them!

  • Throwback Digital Mix Tape – Remember the days of waiting near the radio for your favorite song to come on just so you could hit the record button? At the end of a long weekend listening to the radio, you’d have your mixed tape ready to go. And, if you were an 8th grade girl, your current crush was recipient of said mix tape. Those were the days! Well, the good news is it no longer takes an entire weekend to throw together a playlist with all your favorite songs. I can’t wait to give some of my best friends a throwback mix tape a la digital playlist style! Simply use your favorite digital music subscription to put together a playlist of songs you grew up with and use the “share” feature to send on Valentine’s Day.

I hope I have inspired you to get out of the high-stress, expensive rut that surrounds Valentine’s Day! Share your #HandmadeValentines & #HomemadeValentines creations with us @firststory.org.