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Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our love for one another, especially as we often neglect to do this in our busy lives. But the day itself can come with problems. Restaurants fill up quickly, and can be overpriced. Flowers, hearts and chocolates can also get expensive, and let’s face it, they’re a bit clichéd. Also, the day doesn’t traditionally lend itself to celebrating your love for your family. So here are some different and inexpensive ways to spend your Valentine’s Day with everyone in your home.

Heart(y) fare

Have a Valentine’s-themed dinner together. This could feature heart-shaped decorations that your children make for the table, or flowers that you have picked together.

Make a family favourite for dinner, or choose a meal that’s perfect for sharing. Giant pizzas, or a cheese fondue, could work well. Follow this with heart-shaped biscuits served with icing pens, so you can write each other short messages.

Words of love

Giving cards is common practice on this day, but you can add a twist to this and make your own cards. Turn it into a family activity, where you put out card, glue, glitter, pens and whatever else you can find, and everyone makes cards for one another.

Write a message in a bottle. Get a long strip of paper and have your children write, or help them write, all the reasons why they love their family. Roll it up and pop it into a little bottle. Add some ribbon and a cork for effect and keep them as a memento.

Write secret messages. If children can write, they can do this by themselves. If not, Mom, Dad or a sibling could help them write their message. Use a white crayon and write on white paper. Whoever receives the message can use red watercolour paint and brush over the message to reveal it.

Picture perfect

As a family, make a picture to celebrate the day. One idea is to use everyone’s thumbprints to create an image, such as a tree or a heart. Or use hand and footprints in the word LOVE, where a small handprint becomes the O and two footprints become the V.

Make a holding-hand-heart. Trace two handprints, with the fingers almost straight, on different coloured paper. Try for family members with hands that are roughly the same size. Cut out and weave the fingers together, so that it looks like the hands are holding each other, and form a heart shape. Stick the fingers together or stick the hands onto a heart shape.

Have a family photoshoot. Take out the camera and have fun taking pictures of each other and the whole family. You could even dress up, or make giant letters or hearts to hold in the photos.

Say ‘I love you’

Learn different ways to say ‘I love you’. If your children are old enough, get everyone to take a turn looking online for a different language. Then each person can teach everyone else how to say the phrase in their chosen language. You can even use sign language and learn the sign for ‘I love you’.

Tamlyn Vincent