Family Valentine’s Day Dinner {and Printables}

One of our favorite Family Nights is our annual Family Valentine’s Day Dinner.  We started doing a family dinner for Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago, and we love it.  Holidays are an awesome opportunity to connect as a family…especially on a holiday that is all about celebrating love!  Valentine’s Day gives us a perfect opportunity to intentionally teach our girls about love…that love is so much more than just chocolates and flowers, more than just the “romantic” kind of love that Valentine’s Day can sometimes tend to focus on…that love, true love, all love, comes from God.  And the reason that we love each other, that we show love to others, is because love comes from God and He loves us so much.

Love One Another

This is our Valentine’s verse for this year…this is our focus this week, this month, as we talk to our girls about love.  “Love each other, for love comes from God.”  Love doesn’t come from us…it comes from God.  So even when we don’t “feel” like it, we love. Even when we have a bad day or things don’t go our way, we love.  Even in the hard times, when we’ve been let down, when we’re disappointed….even when our hearts are hurting….we love.  Because love comes from God.  And He ALWAYS loves.  And He tells us to love one another.

And our Valentine’s Dinner is just one way we celebrate God’s love, and our love for one another.

We’re already making preparations for our special family night on Friday. I’ll post more details on this year’s Valentine’s Dinner after we have it.  But if you’re interested in starting a similar tradition in your family, here’s the basics of what we do (and at the bottom I’ll share some printables that I made for us this year…feel free to use as many of the ideas and resources as you want to make your own family night special).

We usually do our Valentine’s Day Dinner on Valentine’s Day.  I know a lot of couples make special plans without kids on this day…and that’s awesome! Time together for mom and dad without the kiddos is SO important in a family…after all, long after the children are grown and gone, that marriage relationship is what will still be there, so that needs to be consistently invested in and made a priority.  We have just decided to use Valentine’s Day as a family day, and we do our date nights and kids-free things on other days (the restaurants aren’t as crowded on other nights too, which is a bonus 😉 ). That’s what works for us. But you can definitely make your family Valentine’s dinner or celebration ANY night, ANY time that works for your family.  There really are no rules to this…as with any family night, it’s all about just taking the time to intentionally connect and spend time together.  I’ll share what we do in our little family, and hopefully it will inspire you to make some special memories in your own way in your own family. 🙂

Here are some pictures from our past two Family Valentine’s Dinners:

Family Valentine's Dinner 2012

In 2012, we made some pasta casserole and french bread pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni (super simple meal).  For a special touch, we had soda in glass bottles and crazy straws (the girls loved them!).  I pulled out our plastic heart-shaped plates that I think I got for like $1, and decorated the table with mason jars and tea light candles.  I added a few little goodies at each plate, and scattered some heart confetti to finish off the table decorations.  I try to keep it pretty simple (and inexpensive)…you can make it as simple or elaborate as you want.

Here’s a few pictures from last year:

Family Valentine's Dinner 2013

Last year we went with a breakfast theme.  The table decorations were very simple, just a couple of candles and some fresh flowers.  Stripey straws with mustaches and lips were a fun touch.  But our favorite part of the night…our favorite part of every Family Valentine’s Dinner…is our Love Note Exchange:

(Top photos are from 2013, bottom photos are from 2012….I just love that picture of Lilly with no front teeth…oh my goodness, that kid!)

We have little mailboxes that we use each year for our Love Note Exchange (these are getting an update this year…more on that in another post). Before our dinner we make Valentines cards, love notes, and/or pictures for one another and deliver them to each other’s mailboxes.  After dinner, we get to open our mailboxes and see all the “love” that we were given.  This is quite possibly my most favorite part of the whole night.  The girls get so excited, and they take their time to read every word of every note…the smiles on their faces are beyond words.  And of course, the notes they give me just completely melt my heart.

This year we are extending this a little bit by adding “acts of love” to our Valentine’s tradition.  All this week leading up to Valentine’s Day, we are going to do little acts of love for one another.  I’ll share how that goes in another post later this week, but I’m hoping it will help us make love a verb in our family…that we will be able to model and practice tangible acts of love and service to one another.  I’m so excited…I think this is going to be our best Family Valentine’s yet!

Since we are spreading out our Valentine’s Day love all week long this year, I have already started working on some of the decorations for the house…and I wanted to share some of them with you, in case you would like to incorporate them into your family Valentine’s celebration.  Feel free to use any of these graphics you want for your home (you can share them, just please don’t take them and sell them…thanks!! 😉 ).

For this year, we are going with the “Love One Another” theme, so I made a few graphics to decorate our dinner table with, and to decorate the living room and other areas of the house.

Here’s a little “LOVE” banner I made:

Valentine's Day LOVE Banner

To download this banner, click HERE. Then just print it, cut it out, punch holes in the top and string it up on some twine. You can just hang the LOVE banner, or add some other garland and decorations to “fancy it up” a bit.  I made two strands of garland here by cutting some leftover pieces of fabric into strips (I didn’t measure or anything, just cut a bunch of strips), and then tied them onto some string…super fast and easy!

Here’s a couple of signs that you can print and display anywhere in your home (I have the Love One Another one on our mantle):

Love One Another Sign ~ Free Printable

{Click on the image below, or click HERE to download the PDF file of the Love One Another Sign}
Valentines LOVE_Love One Another Sign ~ Free Printable

{Click on the image below, or click HERE to download the PDF file of the Happy Valentine’s Day Sign}

Valentines LOVE_Happy Valentines Day Sign ~ Free Printable

I also made a smaller version of the “Love One Another” sign to put on our dinner table.  It folds in half like a little tent, so it shows the graphic on both sides (that way, no matter which side of the table you’re sitting on, you’ll see the verse 🙂 ):

Love One Another Table Tent ~ Free Printable

{Click on the image below, or click HERE to download the PDF file of the Table Tent}

Valentines LOVE_Love One Another Table Tent ~ Free Printable

And here’s some little place cards. I’m going to use these when I set our table for our dinner on Friday:

Family Valentine's Day Dinner Place Cards ~ Free Printable

{Click on the image below, or click HERE to download the PDF file for the Place Cards}

Valentines LOVE Place Cards ~ Free Printable

A lot of these graphics can be used in multiple ways.  You can make gift tags or note cards…even print some and write notes to your kids and stick them in their lunchboxes this week (or your spouse’s work bag/purse/etc). Get creative…have fun…show some love…use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to invest in your family.  It doesn’t have to be big or fancy…but consistent intentional investments over time will make a huge impact in the hearts of our children, and in the dynamics of our family.

So, no matter what comes this week…whether you have chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day, or screaming babies and a sink full of dishes…may you have a Valentine’s Day that is full of love…because, no matter what, God loves you, and your family, SO much!

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One thought on “Family Valentine’s Day Dinner {and Printables}

  1. […] I’m making some final preparations for our Family Valentine’s Day Dinner tomorrow {read all the details about our Valentine’s Day family tradition, and snag that “Love One…}. […]

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