Redefine Valentine's Day

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine's Day if you are a single parent, says CAMMY HARLEY
Redefine Valentine's Day
CONNECT WITH YOUR KIDDIES: Bake heart-shaped cookies, decorate the house or start a love jar.

CELEBRATING love is a wonderful concept but perhaps it is time to redefine what Valentine’s Day has become. Not all love is romantic love and the celebration day seems to have capitalised on that aspect alone — with every advert and retail space peddling hearts, chocolates, roses and dinner-for-two deals.

C.S Lewis defines in his book, Four Loves, that Affection, Charity and Friendship are as important as Eros Love.

There is a misplaced sense of pity or of ‘losing out’ people associate with singles — and especially single parents — in the commercial run-up to Valentine’s Day. It seems easy to assume that because one is single, one must be miserable.

It is liberating to know that not only couples and the happily married get to enjoy Valentine’s Day, there are many other ways of celebrating too.


Of course children know you love them unconditionally but how often are they told that you notice them and that you acknowledge each unique trait and talent?

What a wonderful opportunity Valentine’s Day gives to celebrate the distinctiveness of each child, to let them know how they have grown, and how proud you are of them, that you know and love them right to their core.

Start a family tradition which you can build on each year to celebrate being together, such as a love jar, where each member of the family writes a small list or a trait of admirable things for each other, and reads them all out after dinner.

Add to the jar each year and it will become a wonderful time capsule to look back on when they have all grown.

Decorate the dinner table wildly with hearts and flowers and if you love baking with your children, embrace that love as well by making heart-shaped cookies and cakes for dessert.


Our friendships are a form of love as well. It is well documented that friendship is as beneficial to our lives as exercising and a healthy lifestyle, in terms of keeping us physically and mentally fit.

Friendships help us grow and feel connected as we interact with one another. The importance of laughter and conversation should never be overlooked and the support and perspective a friend can offer gives us a more positive outlook on life.

Celebrate with your friends by having a champagne and popcorn night in with a selection of great movies. Or, if a friend is feeling down, write them an encouraging note to let them know how much they mean to you. If you want to include your children — and theirs — in the evening, why not have a session of making Valentine’s Friendship Bracelets and making extended family memories together.


It is very stimulating to be able to get messy and creative — why not embrace your creativity and join your children making your own Valentine’s Day cards using finger paints and bright red card?

Finger painting — it can even extend to hand painting — is a tactile experience that you can really lose yourself in and have FUN with. Getting messy together with some funky music is emotionally soothing and a great way to strengthen and deepen bonds of love.

Make enough cards for all your neighbours — especially ones you know are old or alone — then have fun going around and spreading the love by delivering them through the letter-flaps by hand.


Planting a tree or a Valentine Flowering Garden is a wonderful way to enhance your environment and create a beautiful garden in the process. Head out to your favourite garden centre and choose a selection of flowers which are in bloom and plant a Valentine Garden. This means that each year, when Valentine’s Day comes around, you will have some wonderful flowers in full bloom.

Make a Love Bug Hotel to encourage and shelter all the little beetles and bugs which live and love in your garden.


Appreciate yourself and remind yourself that you matter by doing something special. Write yourself a note detailing why you are perfect just as you are, buy yourself a massage, a month’s worth of novels, or do a course in Yoga.

Do something that proves your worth to yourself. Join a group or a club that you have always wanted to get involved in. Embrace your singleness as it gives you freedom to explore and grow and go as you please.

Also, congratulate yourself on the positive message you are teaching your children; that you do not need to rely on another human being to have happiness — you are quite content and grounded in the relationship that matters most: your own connection to self. By your example and by generating your own happiness in life, you will be giving them the greatest and most beneficial gift of all, the gift of self-love and acceptance.

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