Valentine’s Day

Each year as February rolls around, I’m ready for emphasizing love within our family after spending a greater amount of time indoors than usual.  Since Valentine’s Day comes this month, I’m ready to make it less about romance, and more about learning about the greatest love — God sending his one and only Son — and sharing that with my family.  It’s not very elaborate, which is good, but this is how we celebrate:

In late January I pull out my Valentine decorations.  These decorations include some Bible verse hearts like this one:

Bible verse heart

I bought some inexpensive hearts from Michaels one year and added several different LOVE Bible verses to each one.  I hang them throughout the house.  We don’t really talk or discuss this very much, but they are there.

I also have a heart shaped box sitting in the kitchen.  It’s our Valentine’s kind note box.  Just before Valentine’s Day, each family member will write a short note to each family member.  To help them make sure they include everyone, I have printed out strips of paper that read “to” and “from” and include one for each person.  When they finish writing the notes, they will put them in the box.  On Valentine’s Day we open it and share the kind words with each other at supper time.  When they were younger, they told me what to right (except on my note which my husband wrote down.)

I also try to have a special dinner for the whole family on Valentine’s Day.  This year I also hope to share a little bit about the legend and origin of Valentine’s Day with them.

Do you have any special ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day with your family?

The Magic of Family Dinners (10-13-2011)

Below: This is a youtube video promoting a book on the topic. The family table is a God ordained place of fellowship and connections.

Set the Mood

Family dinners are as much about what we do as what we don’t do. To get the most benefit from your family meal times, take a moment to set the mood.

Start with a technology free time. No TV or cell phones, ipods, video games, etc. These technologies tend to limit relational interaction.

Next take some time to make dinners special and fancy. Lower the lights and use candles. The lower light leads to more intimate conversation. Bring out the fancy dishes. Rather than waiting for a visit from the queen, bust out the fine china for your family dinners. Using the special dishes tells the family that the meal is special, and that they are important.

Take turns offering the prayer for the meal, thanking God for the blessings of the food, for those who prepared it, and for the family time while eating it.

Include the kids in meal prep, meal set-up, and certainly meal clean-up. Family dinners can actually be more than just the eating. Make sure to include the kids, not leave them to it. In other words, do the dishes together…don’t leave the kitchen a mess and tell the kids to clean up.

Finally be intentional about what you eat. Cook meals that you remember from your childhood and tell your kids about your memories. Plan healthy meals that include fruits and vegetables. Plan a dessert, or an appetizer. Both lengthen the time it takes for the meal, which increases the time the family is together.

Ideas to Try

  • Eat outside
  • Move the meal around the house to make it memorable
  • Cook breakfast for dinner
  • Take turns planning the menu
  • (Exception to no technology rule) Get ready for bed, in your PJs and watch a family movie together while eating dinner.
  • At Christmas time eat near the Christmas tree – use the time to talk about the gift of Jesus and His birth
  • Try themed nights – Mexican food match the decor with chili pepper lights, and colorful napkins – Italian food, create an Italian restaurant feel, Finger food night, etc.
  • Use mood lighting, and mood music
  • Make special occasion meals, like Birthdays and Baptism Birthdays
  • Seasonal Meals – Fall is here, use pumpkins, squash, apples etc.
  • Start and Finish your meals with a prayer
  • Dinner time is a great time for family devotions – take turns reading from a devotional book.

Quick Links

Time Magazine article
Interesting Statistics on Family Dinner
Web MD article on importance of family dinners