Valentine's Day can be special and romantic or very difficult for some people. Lyn shares step-by-step tips on how to prepare a celebratory meal for family or friends. Gather people and express your love and appreciation for them.Read More
Take a few minutes and set a simple tray. Deliver it to family or friends and see the joy it brings!
First gather your supplies. You'll need:
- a simple tray (or a cutting board)
- a cup or mug
- tea pot if you have one
- a little vase or empty bottle,
- a single bloom and some greens (I used some herbs)
- a small dessert, either bought or homemade
- a note card or piece of paper to write your affirmation.
Use a napkin to line the tray. For more inspiration read 10 Uses for Napkins other than Wiping your Mouth.
Arrange your flower and greenery in a little vase ( I used an empty spice bottle) and add it to your tray. (I don't have a garden, so I picked some herbs from the pots I have at my kitchen door.)
Put your dessert on a plate, or in a cupcake holder. I turned my inside out so that the design showed. You don't need to spend much time on the dessert as the main emphasis should be on the loving words in the card.
Take some time to write an affirmation for your loved one. Short on words? Check out 10 Tips for Writing a Meaningful Affirmation. If you have time you can paint or draw a simple heart on some card stock paper to make the note even more personalized.
If you are inspired to do more than a tray and want to prepare a dinner, check out Easy Valentine's Day Dinner which has all the details including an instructional video.
Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to host an appreciation dinner to encourage and honor your family and friends. A couple of years ago, Valentine’s Day fell on the same evening as the routine meeting of our prayer group, so I decided to host a dinner for them. It was a great success!
Even adults can have a lot of fun doing an activity or craft. It may bring back memories of kindergarten but will lead to lots of good laughs! Put out paper and supplies and as people arrive, ask them to make a couple of Valentine’s Day cards. You will use these later for an activity. It is great for people to have something to do while waiting for all the guests to arrive.
I decorated the table using a white table cloth with a strip of tulle (ballet dancer's fabric) with little, white LED lights under it. It looked so festive. I added red and white heart napkins/serviettes and used shop bought cookies as part of the table centerpiece. I arranged the cards that had been made on the side table.
I chose pink and red food to tie in with the theme. Check out the Easy Valentine's Day Dinner blog for all the details and a video that shows step by step what to do.
After dinner (or in between the main course and dessert), ask people to take 5 minutes and write a note of appreciation for someone else at the table. Give them prompts such as, “Write about the character trait that you appreciate about them or how they have touched your life in some way.”
If everyone knows everyone else, have them write a card for the person to the left of them, or you can draw names. If people do not all know each other, pre-decide who should write about whom and let them know. Encourage people to be quiet and stay focused while they write.
After everyone has finished writing, give them the chance to read the card out loud to the person before giving it to them. Encourage the person receiving the affirmation to listen quietly and soak it in just like a sponge. You will be amazed how deeply people are impacted by hearing powerful and loving words being spoken over them.
Give everyone a number of small pieces of paper, equivalent to the number of guests. You can also give heart shaped pieces of paper if you have the time to make them.
Get everyone’s attention. Explain that you will call out one person’s name and then everyone will write the first thing that comes to mind that they appreciate about that person on a piece of paper. They will only have a few seconds to do it. Once they have written the word, they will hand it to the person face down. That person doesn’t read them but just leaves the pile of words in front of them. You randomly call out name after name until people have written one word for each person. Then give people time to look at their words. Many times people begin to laugh (and sometimes even cry) as they read what people have said. Then go around the table and have people read out loud what others have said about them.
As people declare out loud the truth of who people see them to be, they feel encouraged and strengthened.
(I have even done this exercise with executives in a start-up company in San Francisco and seen the same powerful result. When I asked one of the women attending, she told me in front of everyone, that this had been one of the most significant moments of her working career. How much we need to hear encouraging words, even from our colleagues!)
I encourage you to host a special dinner and spend the time affirming one another. It will be one of the most meaningful evenings ever!
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Establishing simple traditions for ourselves and our family can add so much richness to our lives. Repeated, predictable events can help to provide a sense of belonging, security and identity. These traditions can be as simple as having tea in bed on Saturday mornings, or challenging your children to hold their breath when going through a tunnel because your dad did that with you!
When our children were young, I used as many opportunities as I could find to add fun and celebration to our family. Valentine’s Day was an excellent excuse to host a mini-celebration, dress in red (even in a very ugly sweater), eat heart shaped food items and express our love once again. I have to admit that I still put Valentine’s cards in the mail to our adult children, whilst hoping that I don’t embarrass or annoy them! It’s just that I still want them to know how loved they are, and I will take this designated “love day” as yet another opportunity to tell them so!
Living a generous life starts with small steps of reaching beyond ourselves to touch the life of someone else. I am hoping you will follow the instructions in the previous blog to host an appreciation dinner for some friends as I know it will be so rewarding.
Just in case hosting a dinner may seem a bit too much to try right now, how about planning to set a pretty tray? You can serve tea to a teenager in your home, your spouse or even deliver it to the doorstep of a friend (and invite yourself in to share the goodies!) Don't forget to add a note to your friend or loved one telling me how much you appreciate them.
After your event, please share your photos and results with us so we can all feel the love!