The Way to the Heart? 20 Ways to Show Love (that Don't Involve Food)

Is there such a thing as a Grinch for Valentine’s Day? 

I’m kind of meh on it. I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves to make magnificent demonstrations of affection for one day, when really we should just try a little harder to show love every day. 

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And putting on my dietitian hat, I think the holiday revolves way too much around food. I love chocolate as much as the next girl, but how did eating cookies larger than our heads become a symbol for romance? 

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Anyway. Before you think I’m a hater of love (or a big ol' grump), let me clarify. 

  1. If both you and  your partner love covering your house in rose petals and chocolate fondue, then please enjoy it! You do you!! Don't let my irritability bring you down.
  2. I think it’s adorable when my kids come home from school with little handmade Valentines (duh). 
  3. I absolutely do my best to make the day special for my loved ones, many of whom do look forward to Valentine’s Day. I just try to find ways that aren’t 100% food-related, and I try to spread the love throughout the year. 

To that end, here are 20 ways to show the love on Valentine’s Day (and every day!) that don’t involve food. And stay tuned for a followup post about healthier indulgence on V-Day. 

For your Kids: 

  1. Give the gift of time. Volunteer at your kid’s classroom Valentine's party, or spend some time partaking in your kid’s favorite hobby with her.
  2. “Sometimes, when you least expect it, love finds you.” Have you ever read Love Monster? Gets me right in the feels, EVERY TIME. Pick up a sweet book about love for your little one. We also love Hug Machine in our house. 
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3. Stick a little note in your kid’s lunch box or snack bag.
4. Smile when they walk into a room.
5. Pay them compliments!
6. Say yes! How many times do we say no with no good reason (totally guilty of this one)?
7. How cute are these little love letter necklaces? I found them at ArtMart, but they're available on Amazon as well. My kids are younger, but they love tiny things and mail so these are just perfect. 
 

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For Your Partner:

  1. Plant a big kiss on your partner the second he/she walks in the door. Bonus points if you gross your kids out—it’s good for them to see you being affectionate. 
  2. Does sleep come at a premium in your house? Take the early shift. Don’t complain or make a big show of yawning all day.
  3. Do a job your partner hates, like the laundry (remember, bras and sweaters don’t go in the dryer ;)). 
  4. Snowy or icy? Wake up early and scrape your partner’s windshield. 
  5. GIVE YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION! I am very guilty of this myself. Put the phone down, close the computer, and really hear what your partner is saying.

For a Friend: 

  1. Send a letter via snail mail. 
  2. Call, just because! 
  3. Take a few minutes to write dates important to your friend (like the date of a test, or a job interview) in your planner. This will make it easier to check in and send love and well-wishes when your friend needs them most. 

For the World: 

  1. Pick up litter when you see it. 
  2. Be extra kind to someone who is extra grumpy (especially when it’s hard). 
  3. Walk down the street with spare change, and feed parking meters that are expired (my kids loved this when we did it once). 
  4. Smile. Say please. Say thank you.
  5. Pay a compliment! 

Whether you get down on V-Day or just aren't feeling it, I hope all of your days are filled with love.