Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and gifting is top of my mind! My husband actually is not a Valentine’s Day person so he really prefers to keep things pretty low key. We generally just exchange cards. But this year, we’ve been making some intentional shifts to be less consumeristic for the sake of our sanity, our wallets and our kids development. I know it seems weird that this change would have me thinking more about gifts but if you’re trying to stop buying things all the time and teach your kids they don’t just get what they want whenever they want it, gift giving occasions are a great opportunity to give things people actually need.
(Disclaimer: If you know my husband, please don’t tell him what he’s getting for V-Day. He’s under strict guidance not to read this blog post until after the big day so don’t spoil it! Chris, if you’re cheating and reading this, stop now!)
Here are criteria I’m considering as I pick my gifts this year:
In the minimalist mindset, I’ve been trying to look for food items (candy, etc.) that are quality more than quantity or have something else about them the receiver will enjoy. For my kiddos, I got a very small heart shaped box of chocolates that feature some of their favorite characters on the front. I know that will be very appreciated. For my husband, I got a smaller box of higher end chocolates but I’m also attempting a fancy homemade treat. I know he’ll appreciate that much more than a bunch of cheap chocolates (aka – empty calories that don’t even taste good).
Replacing Worn Items
If you’ve noticed that something that’s a staple in your Valentine’s lifestyle is showing wear, this is a great time to replace it. It might be a new spatula or a set of new charging cables or maybe even a new wireless mouse because they keep complaining about their current one. Replacing something they use regularly is a really thoughtful gift! My kiddos are ready to upgrade from the baby towels with the little corner hoods to grown up towels. They are both getting high-quality towels, that match the décor of their bathroom and are personalized with their names embroidered in their favorite color. They’re getting a very special replacement and I’m getting to downsize a whole bunch of baby towels and wash cloths – a win/win all around!
Gifts that Meet a Need
The key here is that the gift needs to meet a real need not just be a gadget-y gimmick. I think we all can admit that our houses are full of supposed “time savers” that have just turned into “space takers”. Listen to really complaints and frustrations your Valentine has and address those.
My husband has had two solid complaints recently – 1) he always needs to “unbury” his desk at home from the ever growing pile of to-do paperwork and 2) we don’t have a functional CD player in the house anymore and only one speaker that connects to his phone. He’s getting two gifts from me – 1) a binder for his desk with dividers and zipper lock pockets so he can easily sort the things on his desk as they come in and tackle them one category at a time as he’s able (no more wasting time triaging every evening) and 2) a small CD boom box that is Bluetooth enabled so, no matter where he is in the house or outside, he can listen to music from his phone or from a CD.
Valentine Gifts that are Fun
You should be able to give a fun gift too but I recommend making it something small, inexpensive and disposable. I’ll admit, I was at the Dollar Store and I was so tempted to get my kids matching Valentine’s Day headbands with hearts on little springs coming out of the top like antenna. But those are cheap, and they’ll only be fun for a day or two before they become clutter around my house. Instead I’m trying to think small and disposable. I’m passing on those headbands but I’m planning on heading back to the Dollar Store for Mylar Valentine’s balloons! All little kids love balloons and those things will give hours and hours of entertainment to my kiddos. Once they’re over them (or I’m sick of them) I can pop them and out of my house they go!
Additionally, my husband LOVES pop up books so I was thrilled when my Facebook feed featured an ad for Love Pop cards. They make the most beautiful and intricate popup cards with plenty of options for Valentine’s Day. He could toss it once he’s enjoyed it for a while, but he’s very sentimental and I bet he’ll tuck it away somewhere for memory’s sake and that’s just fine with me.
So, you’ll probably notice that I didn’t say anything about big luxury purchases. I think you need to play that according to your norm. Like I said, we hardly did any gift giving for Valentine’s Day so the fact that I’m giving gifts at all this year is a pretty big deal. I would be floored if my husband ever gave me anything like fine jewelry on V-day but, I also don’t really wear fine jewelry so that isn’t the right gift for me. If your someone special would really appreciate and use an expensive gift, and it’s in your budget than I think you should consider it.
How do you guys celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it strictly a flowers and chocolates holiday? Do you give gifts? Or is it barely a blip on the radar? I’d love to know! Share your traditions in the comments below!