Need an inexpensive, unique and/or thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift for your child or your spouse? What about your best friend or sister? Here is an idea that will cost you nothing but time and brain power. And, in the process, you might shed a tear, smile mischievously or laugh until your sides hurt.
Make a list of the top 10, 25, 50 or 100 reasons you love this person, favorite shared memories or your favorite things about them. Type them up on the computer using a fancy font, borders, etc. You could even add photos of the two of you together or pictures of them doing that favorite thing you love about them. This is a great way to show your love in a tangible manner without cluttering up the house with cheap “Made-in-China” toys/trinkets or filling their bellies with sugar, fat and artificial flavors/colors. Plus, your spouse, your friend and your kids can read them repeatedly anytime they wish to revisit the words. This gift keeps on giving.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Here is an example of an “I love you” list.
- I love you because you always remember to take out the trash without being asked.
- I love you because you give the best hugs.
- I love you because your winks make me giggle.
- I love you because you make the best stir fry in the world.
- I love you because you can always make me feel better just by being around.
- I love you because you love the Lord.
- I love you because you let me choose the color for our bedroom walls.
- I love you because you are patient with me when I am tired and whiney.
- I love you because you are such a great father to our children.
- I love you because you love to watch Mythbusters reruns with me.
Here is an example of a list of “Things I appreciate or see in you”. For this one, I like to be sure I include an explanation or illustration of the “character trait” or quality on the list.
- You are a beautiful little girl. God sure did a good job when he made you! You have beautiful hazel eyes and wonderfully soft long blond hair!
- You are smart. I never thought you would be able to memorize 100+ Bible verses in so short a period of time!
- You are kind. I appreciate the way you play with your baby brother and are careful to take good care of him.
- You are fun to be around. Your laugh makes me laugh and your smile makes me smile. So keep it up!
- You are tenacious. I appreciate the way you work so hard on your schoolwork, even when it is hard.
- You are an amazing artist. My favorite is when you drew individual pictures of the whole family and we framed them to put on the wall.
- You are a dreamer. I love it when you tell me how you think things will be in the future.
- You have a terrific imagination! When you share your stories with me, it always amazes me that you could come up with such intricately detailed imaginations.
- You love people. I am so proud of the way you treat others who may not be able to tell you “thank you”. Your caring words and hugs to them make all the difference between having a good day and having a bad one.
- You have an insatiable thirst for information. You make learning fun. We read every book in the library on one subject- including the adult section! Way to go!
Here is an example of a list of shared memories…
- Remember the time we went to the grocery store and only bought meal ingredients that began with the letter P?
- Remember the time we drove to the movies, only to find out the one we wanted to see was sold out, so we went to a kid’s movie, instead?
- Mony-hony Ha. Enough said.
- Remember when we rolled on the floor laughing about the phrase “wet leaves” like it was the funniest thing we had ever heard?
- Remember the time we forgot to add the eggs to the recipe and ended up with small piles of crumbs on a cookie sheet?
- Remember the time we went skiing and I missed the jump and ended up with snow packed in places I didn’t think it could normally get?
- Remember the game we used to play requiring us to speak only in three word sentences? Our brains were so tired after only an hour that we had to give up!
- Remember when I drew your name as secret sister and spent the entire semester sending you gifts with your name spelled incorrectly? And I gave you second-hand maternity clothes and told you they were hand-me-downs just to throw you off the scent? Then you spent the entire ride home telling me you had figured out who your secret sister was because the clothes would only have fit Melissa? I nearly split my sides trying not to laugh as you went on and on about how sure you were that she was the one!
- Remember when you were pushing hard to deliver your first baby and your hubby passed out because he forgot to check his blood sugar?
- Remember when we went on that long road trip through Glacier National Park and kept laughing about the signs that said, “Drive with Care”? We kept wondering who Carrie was and why we had to drive with her. I still laugh when I see those signs.
My experience has been that the longer the list, the more creative you have to be, but it is worth the effort. Take the time. Make it fancy. Type it, mat it and frame it to post on their bedroom wall. Slip it inside a card or a new copy of a favorite book. Print it onto a bookmark. Make it the screen saver on their computer. Add photos and turn in into a filled photo album complete with typed memories or affirmations. Be creative. And don’t limit it to Valentine’s Day. Add more to the list for other holidays or just because.
With a little brain power, you can give them a gift they will cherish forever.