Valentine’s Day is such a crap shoot. If you’re in a new relationship, there’s the pressure to do what’s appropriate for where you are – and you’re not quite sure where that is. If you’re in a long term relationship, you end up spending a fortune on a subpar prix fixe dinner in a bizarre semi-formal gastronomic cattle call for romance. But you do it because you don’t want to give up on the spirit of romance, because you think of yourself as a deeply sensual person and you’re not DEAD. If you’re not in a relationship, you feel like the whole world is both paired off and pitying you – and you’re wavering between a passive-hide-inside stance and an aggressive-burn-this-place-down stance. We have all been all three of those people. Bottom line. No one wins.
But there was a time when Valentine’s Day consistently ranked just below Christmas. That was 1985 – second grade. No one was paired off because boys were, at that point, REPULSIVE (save one or two). You were going to school but the whole day was pure anticipation for the party. Everyone gave you sweet notes about how much they liked you. There was a lot of candy. And anything could happen – and did. (True story – my classmate Fred ate two entire boxes of Red Hots to prove he loved someone and barfed all over his desk. It looked like fluorescent red slime. Any second grader would tell you it was a high point of our year.) Bottom line – EVERYBODY wins!
I wanted to give my girls THAT Valentine’s Day. The one where we take time to be cheesy-romantic to each other as a gesture to say “everyone is special”. Can we all get onboard with that? Because that is awesome!
Last year we rounded up some supplies (most of which we already had), and made some special Valentine’s for neighbors and close friends. We dressed in red, head to toe, and delivered them. Here’s the tutorial for how to make them.
For the boxes and labels:
- 2″ Brown Kraft Box ($38 for 100 of them – they’re hard to find in smaller quantities. I had a bunch left over from making this Christmas tree advent calendar – you’ll use them for wrapping gifts and in other unexpected ways). Order these now so you have them in time for Valentine’s day. They come with cotton squares in them. If you don’t want that many you can get smaller lots of similar boxes on Amazon)
- Card stock in white and various Valentine’s day colors (a couple bucks at Michaels)
- Glitter tape or ribbons to dress the boxes ($5)
- Paper punches – these add a ton of cost to the project – you can get by without them. It just means you’ll be doing a lot more cutting.
- Glue or Zots
- Craftnado free printables (in both .pdf and .docx format – use the .docx if you want to type the kids names. Use the .pdf if you want them to sign their own names.)
For the gifts:
- Glassine envelopes ($6)
- Crystal gemstone toy rings ($3)
- Silly putty ($16 for 12)
- Felt in various Valentine-inspired colors (a couple bucks @ JoAnn)
- Small safety pins
- Embroidery floss in coordinating Valentine-inspired colors (a couple bucks @ JoAnn)
- Red tissue paper
To assemble the boxes:
1. Figure out your gift giving list. Who will get what type of gift? Silly putty for the fun loving kid, rings and manicures for the girly girl or felt hearts (for the under 3 set who tend to put everything in their mouths).
2. Download the American Typewriter font and install it on your computer. Download the To .pdf or .docx and print it out. Using the 2″ circle punch, cut out the gift tags with the text at the top of the circle. Have your kids address the tags in their own handwriting (on the lower portion, leaving room for glitter tape). Glue the tags on top of the box tops.
3. Download the box top tag that corresponds with the gift you’re giving. Print it on white card stock and cut the text into long strips. Affix the text on the colored card stock. Center it and cut it out with the scalloped punch. Glue or tape the tag on the inside of the box top.
4. Place the gift in the box and put the top on. Wrap glitter tape around the top, with ends on the bottom, making sure the To and addressee’s name are visible.
To make the girly gifts:
1. Cut out very small hearts from tissue paper so they’ll fit on a little kid’s nail. Put them in a glassine envelope. Punch a small heart from cardstock. Print out the manicure document and cut out the text. Glue the text onto the inside of the envelope. Fold in half and fold the flap over to close it. Close and glue it with the heart.
2. Add a glitter ring. You’re done!
To make the silly putty gifts:
Nothing. Add silly putty and go!
To make the baby gifts:
Easy. Go get inspired at one of my favorite blogs – Purl Bee. Everything they do is gorgeous and you can follow this tutorial on how to make the felt heart pins. Add a pin for an adult or just make hearts for a baby to lovingly gum.
The whole fun of these gifts is running around surprising everyone. While you make them, blast some Sinatra and make a game of coming up with the cheesiest lines. And while you’re remembering that Valentine’s Day can be fun, buck the traditions and come up with plans that you REALLY want to do with people you love.