Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

Although I’m a firm believer that we should give gifts of love all year long to keep our relationships strong…Valentine’s Day definitely offers the perfect opportunity to find great gifts from the heart for those we love!

Valentine Gifts From the Heart!

My mom always gave such fun, clever gifts; she often told me that when you thought about the stage of life the person was in, as well as a few things they loved, then combined it with a little personal flair–gift giving was easy!  My husband and I have found that we love to give gifts where we get to share experiences and adventures with those we love.  With these things in mind…here’s a few gift ideas from the heart that you could adapt for the Valentines in your life!

Gifts Of Time For Those Deep In The Trenches Of Parenthood!

I remember when I was a busy, young mom with one child or another pulling on my leg or screaming at the top of their lungs for attention, one of the best gifts my husband could give me when he got home from work was a grocery sack containing one of my favorite magazines, accompanied with a few special treats…the best part was that he’d take the kids outside to play for awhile or take them to get a fun treat of their own while I enjoyed an hour or so of uninterrupted time to myself!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

If there are any young mothers in your life–pick-up a fun magazine or two at the drug store, (in this digital age, it’s probably rare that they get any of these) take her kids for an hour or so and let her enjoy some much needed time alone!

Valentine's Day coupon.

On a weekend, you could arrange to tend the kids so that both parents could go to lunch–your treat!  Time together as a couple is always a welcome gift for busy, young parents.

(Click here for some other fun ways to get your cupid on as a couple!)

Curly Girl card.

Once in awhile you could even arrange for the husbands to watch the kids so the two of you can go out together! 

Gifts Of Togetherness For Our Children And Grandkids! ♥ 

Valentine’s Day certainly doesn’t need to be an extension of Christmas for our children and grandchildren, but it can be just as special when we consider each child and their unique personalities.  Much like their adult counterparts, I think kids just love spending time together doing fun activities!  My husband and I love sharing experiences with our kids and their families.

Bountiful Bowling! www.mytributejournal.com

A Valentine’s Day bowling date complete with fun prizes or monetary gifts for the most strikes, the lowest score, the best form…etc. always proves to be a good time!  Hamburgers, French fries and root beer floats are also a good addition to this celebration! 

I have a friend at work who does a progressive dinner with her kids the weekend before Valentine’s Day, each sharing their culinary talents on the part of dinner they’ve been assigned.  How fun does this sound!  I can’t wait to do this when my children all live close by–I can just imagine the great conversations and laughter we’ll enjoy!

Chocolate Trifle Dessert www.mytributejournal.com

Whether you do a progressive dinner or simply plan on a romantic dinner for two, serving this Chocolate Trifle will give you your Valentine’s Day chocolate fix.  (Find the recipe here.)

Heart art puppets! www.mytributejournal.com

In the past, I have put on “heart art” puppet shows with my grandchildren.  So much fun!  (You can get the details here.)

A Valentine Tea Party! www.mytributejournal.com

Hosting a fun Valentine’s tea party is also a fun way to give from your heart to those you love.  (Check out the fun here.) 

Gifts Of Loving Care For Grandparents And The Elderly! ♥  

Time flies when you’re having fun…and in a blink of an eye it seems the demands of young children, job workloads, and other time crunches no longer occupy your days as they once did.  I believe the benefits of being committed to our families and other responsibilities during the earlier stages of our lives is that the rewards come back ten fold as we get older.  One thing I used to love to do for my parents, especially when they couldn’t drive long distances to come visit us, was to take the holiday fun to them!

XOXO Plates for blog entry

A fun meal served in their home on festive dinnerware accompanied with some lively conversation, always proves to be such a great gift for those loved ones that will always hold a special place in our hearts!   (These unique XOXO plates are from Pier 1 Imports.)

Gifts From The Heart!

Another neat gift idea from the heart for grandparents or an elderly neighbor would be to get your kids involved and prepare a fun Valentine’s countdown where you include homemade cards, recent photos together, and maybe a hardware gift card for grandpa and a special shopping date with grandma.  I think they’d love some coupons for helping them with a few jobs around their house and yard that they could redeem as needed throughout the year. 

Valentine's Words of Wisdom book.

A unique gift from the heart would be to make a collection of the wise advice your parents have given you over the years and jot them down in a special “Valentine’s Word of Wisdom” booklet.  How surprised will your parents be to find out that you not only listened to them…you actually learned a thing or two as well!  (I found this cute heart notebook in the Etsy store FavouriteNotebook.) 

A favorite piece of advice my father once told me was…“Remember, romance doesn’t start in the bedroom!”  Wise man that dad of mine!

Valentine Gifts Just For Fun!

Valentine’s Day also seems like the perfect time to put a little creative spin on our gift giving–letting those we care about know that although day to day life requires us to be responsible adults most of the time…we can always enjoy a little frivolous fun sometimes too!

Valentine Gifts From The Heart!

♥ One of my very most favorite Valentine gifts ever, was when my cute hubby bought us aprons and a night cooking class at a local kitchen store.  Seriously, so much fun!  (It was fun to stock up on a few new, much needed kitchen accessories after the cooking class too.)

♥ “642 Things About You” (That I Love) is a fun, quirky love journal for you and your loved one to fill out together or individually as the mood hits…it’s full of random questions (precisely 642) that will have you laughing…and reflecting on why you love that person so much.  (Here’s a couple of sample questions: “What you said that made me laugh when I first took you home to meet my parents.” / “If our relationship had a mascot, what would it be?”)  So many fun ideas–if for no other reason than to have a good laugh together–this is a great Valentine gift from the heart!  

 ♥  I learned from my sweet mom that no gift is ever complete if it isn’t accompanied by a heartfelt note–long after the gift is forgotten, the thoughtful expressions of love in a note live on in our hearts! 

♥  We’re all trying to stick to our New Year’s diets, (well, sort of) but any gift that includes miniature Valentine candies is a fun gift to receive, especially when it’s given with a cute heart tray or container!    

Whatever you do for those you love for Valentine’s Day, it will be perfect as long as you include lots of…..

Valentine's Day Gifts from the Heart!

I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope it’s filled with some of the people and things you love the most!

 I would love it if you’d share a fun personalized gift from the heart that you’ve given to your special loved ones.

–Mary 

Santa’s Prayer!

Santa’s Prayer!

When I was growing up, my mom always seemed to know how to create the perfect balance between Jesus and Santa Claus at Christmastime; she used to tell me that they were friends.  “After all,”  she’d say, “they both want you to be good.”

Santa's Prayer!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

My husband came across this amazing song a few years ago by one of his very favorite country groups–and it has become a beloved Christmas song at our house!  You can push play and listen to it while you scroll through the words and pictures.  Best blessings to everyone as you celebrate Christmas and welcome in a new year!

“Santa’s Prayer” lead vocals by Larry Stewart with Restless Heart

“Lord, here I am all dressed up for the season, but it seems so many folks forgot the reason.”

Santa's Prayer!

“I’ve got on my bright, red suit, snow-white beard, black, shiny boots, but this year old Santa’s feeling blue…Lord, I felt a need to talk to you.” 

“I’ve seen my picture in all the stores in town–I’ve seen my face most every place…but yours is seldom found.” 

Santa's Prayer!

“I’m just a pawn, but you were born a King…sure, they’re gonna love the gifts I bring.”Santa's Prayer! Isaiah-9-6“But the greatest gift they ever will receive…is the love that’s bringing Santa to his knees.” 

Scroll design.

“I just have one wish I wanna wish tonight–that we might be reminded of that star so bright!”

Santa's Prayer!

“Let it shine down on the cost, from the manger to the cross, and let the world see me as a second thought…to the one that guides old Santa when he’s lost!”

“Oh, I’ve seen my picture in all the stores in town–I’ve seen my face most every place…but yours is seldom found.”

Santa's Prayer!

“I’m just a pawn, but you were born a King…sure, they’re gonna love the gifts I bring.”

Nativity scene.

“But the greatest gift they ever will receive…is the love that’s bringing Santa, it’s the love that’s bringing Santa–oh, it’s the love that’s bringing Santa to his knees.  Santa Claus is coming…kneeling down to pray.”

“Lord, make this a holy Christmas Day!”

May we all know kindness, love and peace this Christmas…and in the coming year!

–Mary

Christmasland!

Christmasland!

Christmas seems to have a way of waving a magical wand over all the world, creating an enchanting Christmasland of sorts, with festive decorations, good food and family traditions that celebrate the moments that fill our hearts and homes during this special time of year!

Creating our own Christmas Land!

(via Hallmark’s Christmasland movie)

While the version of Christmasland we each create in our little corner of the world may not resemble a Hallmark movie, per se, it is unique to each of us and should be what we treasure most about this wonderful holiday season!

Creating Christmasland!

Although my husband and I are empty nesters now, we still love creating the special spirit of the Christmas season in our home, as we look forward to welcoming family members, special friends and good neighbors.  (Besides, as grandparents, I think you want to be some of Santa’s best advocates!)

Christmas gifts

My mother often said, “The best gift around the tree is the presence of a caring family all wrapped up in each other!”  I confess to some eye rolling in my youth when she said this, but I now fully understand the wisdom of her words!

  • Add meaningful décor!

While the retail stores do their best to promote all the latest and greatest in holiday décor, (and believe me, I love adding bits and pieces of fun new trends to my home on occasion) I think you’ll agree, that some of the things we tend to cherish the most while decorating our homes, are the items we’ve collected through the years that celebrate special memories from past Christmas seasons.

Olive Wood Nativity www.mytributejournal.com

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is an olive wood nativity set that my husband and I bought when we visited Jerusalem with my parents one special Christmas season when we were first married.  I can’t help but think of the kind, elderly gentleman who so skillfully carved each piece with detailed precision.  I can also recall the spicy aromas that filled the air of this enchanting and noble city, and how humbling it felt to be walking on some of the same ancient, cobble stone streets that Jesus might have traveled on so many, many years ago! 

Creating Christmasland!

It’s always fun to pick out a few new ornaments every so often, but the ones that we’ve collected over the years when our children were growing up are the ones that seem to make our homes an extra special Christmasland!  

  • Treasure some classic traditions!

I think we all enjoy some eclectic family traditions that evolve over the years…like white elephant Bingo and ugly sweater contests, to name a few, and I love finding fun, new activities to do each year, but perhaps treasuring a few classic Christmas traditions, like singing Christmas carols together, jumping in the car to drive around town to see the dazzling light displays, then stopping at a local diner for peppermint hot cocoa, or reading some of the age-old classic Christmas stories, just might give your Christmasland an extra special touch!

Lantern light display at Temple square

Rarely does a holiday season go by that our family doesn’t go see the Christmas lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  The light displays there make for a beautiful vision that creates a special Christmasland all on their own! 

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

My husband and I found this new edition of a classic Christmas story, beautifully illustrated by Charles Santore, that we are looking forward to reading with our granddaughters before bedtime after all the other festivities on Christmas Eve.

  • Include a sense of wonder!

From inspiring Christmas programs at local community venues, to the sparkle of twinkling tree lights and the laughter of children as they anticipate all the delights of the Christmas season, I believe it’s important to be awestruck in Christmasland!

Lower Lights concert at Kingsbury Hall

This year for his office party, my husband and I took all his employees to a Lower Lights concert.  Such an amazing, beautiful night.

The wonders of Christmas!

There’s nothing quite like seeing the wonders of Christmas through a child’s eyes!

     Most of all…

…love should abound in Christmasland…the kind that gets a good grip on your heart and you can’t help but feel that all is right with the world for a while!!

Merry Christmas in Christmasland!

I loved celebrating Christmas with my children when they were young…but it has taken on an even more festive mood since having grandkids!  

Merry Christmas in Christmasland!

I hope everyone has a blessed and Merry Christmas!

What are some of the things you look forward to in your special Christmasland during the holiday season?      

–Mary