List of Valentine's Day Gifts After Having Kids

Karen De Maio

When we think of Valentine’s Day we conjure up romantic images of a couple eating a gourmet meal at a swanky restaurant, as gifts of chocolate, a dozen red roses and fine jewelry are bestowed upon the woman. 

I am pretty lucky I lived out that fantasy in my twenties (my husband always added to my jewelry collection over the years when we were dating and we definitely did the overpriced upscale dining experience) but once you reach the parenthood stage things begin to change on the most romantic and highly expensive day of the year.  According to a 2018 survey by the National Retail Federation an estimated $19.6 billion was spent for this “Hallmark holiday.” In other words a commercial holiday that has been created to get us to spend (technically the guys in our lives; sorry men!) money on items like cards, expensive dinners, flowers, jewelry, chocolate and other gifts.

So after having two kids I have a created a list of the kinds of Valentine’s Day gifts that exist: 

1.      1.  Gifts Are Not Exchanged:  Simply put it, I do not expect my husband to buy me a piece of fine jewelry, perfume or anything I am secretly wanting.   We make a pact and decide we are not exchanging anything.  I state every year around this time “please don’t waste your money and get me flowers because they will die anyhow”.  But how likely are you to stick to not getting your spouse something so you then proceed to Number 2 on this list. 

2.      2.  Heartfelt Gifts Have More Meaning:   I decided I was still going to get my husband a small gift with meaning to it, less costly but more sentimental.  He is always complaining we don’t have enough family pictures in the house so I surprised him with a full size canvas picture of our family and hung it right over the fireplace.  He absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it. 

3.       3Individual Gifts are Now Couple Gifts For The House.  So now that you got the heartfelt gift out of the way you now turn to the exchanging of gifts that are only for the house.  This is particularly true for us as we are starting on a bathroom renovation.  We both tell each other we don’t want to exchange gifts (Number 1 on the list) and then we agree our money is better spent towards something for our house.

4.       4. You Purchase Gifts For Kids That Are Not Yours:   This one is definitely true for those parents who have elementary aged children.  The age old exchanging of Valentines in school.  Except this one becomes running out to the Dollar Store to find the shelves empty, remembering that the Valentine’s Day cards had to be Shopkins ones (I better not come home with the Barbie ones like I did last year- my bad!) gathering what you can find left there to make cute and crafty gifts for your daughter at 10:00 pm at night.

5.       5Just More Unnecessary Gifts for your Children:  This turns into just another pile of unnecessary collection of small items given to you by your child’s grandparents, classmates, as well as yourself.  I am definitely guilty of this.  Earlier this evening, I handed my daughter a small gift bag to add to the clutter to you her room. But who really cares she was in her glory.  However, as I stated in last week’s blog those small gifts may make it to the garbage can in a few months if A.)  I can’t find a match to one of the pieces or B.) I don’t know where it is supposed to be stored.

Now instead of those romantic gifts on this special “holiday”, the gifts become more practical, meaningful, crafty, adorable and perhaps unnecessary.  My previous belief about Valentine’s Day being for me to be wined and dined and bestowed extravagant gifts are replaced by my joy in giving to my husband, children and those other kids who are not mine.  

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