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Survive Valentine's Day as a Single Parent

Shifting the Focus From Yourself to Others During Valentine's Day

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Each year, Valentine's Day seems to become even more commercialized. From heart-shaped candy boxes to jewelry ads, it's easy to believe that everyone around you has found true love.

The key to surviving this holiday, though, is to look beyond all that and redefine Valentine's Day in a way that is meaningful for you. Here are some suggestions:

1. Celebrate Each Child's Uniqueness

Mother and daughter decorating heart cookies
Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images
Of course we tell our kids that we love them, but do we tell them that we notice them? Think of some of the unique talents and qualities you observe in each of your children and use the occasion of Valentine's Day to celebrate how they've grown. After all, part of loving someone is really knowing who they are on the inside, so make this holiday an opportunity to share the gifts you see developing in each of your children.

2. Make a Special Valentine's Day Dessert

I grew up associating baking with a sign of love, and I still like to make something special for my kids on Valentine's Day. This year, we're going to make heart-shaped Jell-O Jigglers. Basically, almost any dessert can be tailor-made to celebrate Valentine's Day just by using a heart-shaped pan. So whether you consider yourself a novice or a pro, consider celebrating Valentine's Day with something sweet to eat.

3. Do Something Creative

Instead of purchasing Valentine's Day cards for one another, take the time to make your own homemade cards. An easy way to make cards with little ones is to have them dip their hands into red paint and place them onto a piece of white paper with their fingers spread wide and their thumbs and index fingers touching. Then, turn the page upside down, and the handprint impression will look like a heart in the center of the page. This is a great gift idea for grandparents, teachers, and baby sitters.

4. Get Together With Friends

Most of the holidays throughout the year are times we spend with family members. Make Valentine's Day the holiday you celebrate with the friends who've supported and encouraged you throughout the year. Pick a time close to Valentine's Day and gather your friends together. Honor each guest with a special toast and share why they have become so important to you.

5. Remember the Forgotten

Do something different and unexpected. Go to the dollar store and purchase valentines for a local nursing home, or bake a dessert for a nearby women's shelter. Love, after all, is an act of sacrifice. As alone as you may feel during the Valentine season, there are always people who feel worse. Thinking of them before yourself can help you to not only survive Valentine's Day, but make it an occasion of hope and celebration.
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