Fun and unique ways for the entire family to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is more than roses, chocolates, and red and pink decorations. The holiday historically has been based on the romantic adventures of St. Valentine, but families now can make Feb. 14 an opportunity to celebrate all the loved ones in the family unit – everyone from grandparents to children.

This year, start your own Valentine’s Day traditions, and find fun ways to surprise everyone in your family. Here are some hints:

* Make it a family fun day – Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, so take the day off from work and plan a fun outing. Head to the movies, go outside for a winter outdoor adventure, plan a large meal with new recipes to make from scratch or take a day trip to explore a new community. If your children are school-aged, contact their teachers ahead of time to gather homework assignments and make certain their schedule is cleared. It will be a great bonding experience, and something your children will talk about for a long time.

* Turn gift giving into a scavenger hunt – Post clues in obvious places for your family members to see when they first wake up in the morning, directing them to new clues hidden around the house. Attach to each clue a special favorite candy, and write the clues so that the final destination (where your gift is hiding) is obvious, allowing them to find and enjoy their gift, starting the day before school and work off on the right foot.

* Make the gift something unique – There are a ton of great ideas online through shopping sites like Ebates, and they’ll help you to find unique gifts that go beyond the traditional flowers and chocolate. For example, browse the coupon codes for more than 1,500 stores to find ways to save money via coupon codes on gift ideas you probably wouldn’t have thought of all on your own. And a bonus – Ebates allows you to earn additional cash back on your purchases (after the coupon discount), saving you more money in the long run. It works if you want to be unique, or stick with traditional gifts like jewelry. For example, if you decide to purchase jewelry for family members and shop Blue Nile through Ebates, you can find coupon codes for discounts and free shipping, and also earn 2.5 percent cash back of your total purchase.

* Give your time and service for others – Helping others is a great way to make yourself feel good. Consider donating your time and energy to help others this Valentine’s Day as a gift to yourself and your loved ones. You may be surprised at how good you feel about yourself when you are finished. You might even consider making it an annual tradition – either by yourself, or with the rest of your family.

* Create your own gift/message – Homemade gifts are always the most appreciated, because the recipient knows you spent your most precious commodity – your time – to create this gift. Be sure to find your supplies online using Ebates so you can save money and travel time of driving to the stores and back.

It can be fun to celebrate Valentine’s Day without needing to specifically cater to the romance. This year, make your Valentine’s Day your own with fun and unique ways to celebrate with all members of the family.

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