Celebrating Modern Jewish Living Through Food, Tradition, and Family
As you probably know by now, it doesn’t take much to put me in a festive mood. I love to celebrate big and small holidays with my children and while Valentine’s Day most definitely isn’t a Jewish holiday, there’s no getting around the fact kids do celebrate in public school and they’re excited to exchange cards and have class parties where the focus is on friendship, love and kindness. That said, those are pretty good virtues and ones that I’m more than happy to help foster at home.
In our house we have an informal “love party” where we bake and decorate cupcakes, write cute notes to each other, decorate the kitchen and hang puffed hearts from the fixture, and give each other small personal gifts like a diary, a book, or a stuffed animal as a token of affection. We don’t play down that Valentine’s Day isn’t a Jewish holiday, we just focus on the love and kindness aspects of the holiday. And why not?
I typically make heart-shaped pancakes and serve them with a large bowl of fresh mixed berries. My daughter, Julia and I set a pink and red themed table with a brightly-hued cloth and we scatter foil chocolate kisses all over the table. One year I found large puffy hearts at Target ($3 each!) and I hang those from my fixture for an added pop of color. We put the gift bags on each plate and then invite the boys (my two sons and my husband) to join us at the table.
These little things may sound silly, but the kids get so involved in the details. Each of the children write personal notes to their siblings and to us and sometimes they make lovely family pictures and cards. My husband and I give them small gifts: a book, a journal, some baseball cards–just a little token of affection–but the focus is really on being together and telling each other how much we love each other. As if we needed another excuse to be schmaltzy.
The kids make all kinds of crafts (they’re still young enough to enjoy doing these things and so I embrace it while I still can), and decorate the windows with window clings and foam hearts. I know these years will pass and they soon will not have any interest in this kind of simple family thing, so I make my memories where I can.
I hope you’ll try some of these ideas at home. They’re so simple and yet they deliver such beautiful, lasting memories.
Until Next time,
Founder & Editor-in-Chief