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A Valentine’s Day Guide for Busy Parents - Gift & Date Night Ideas Included!

A Valentine’s Day Guide for Busy Parents - Gift & Date Night Ideas Included!

Valentine’s Day has always been one of those holidays that manages to sneak up on me every year.  We’ve just put the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays behind us…then we’re thrown straight into birthday mode in January.  Plus, it’s just not one of those major holidays that ranks very high on my radar for some reason; it gets lost in the shuffle of things.

So, this year I thought I’d do a post (two, actually) all about it.  This first one is focused on gift ideas for HIM, gift ideas for HER, and I’m also going to throw in a few ideas for DATE NIGHTS that can be had totally in the comfort of your own home.  Because let’s face it, it’s not always so easy to get out on a weeknight (or ever) when you have kids!

To get us started, let’s look at some Valentine’s gift ideas for HIM.  All but one of these are from Etsy and yup, you bet they’re all from shops located right here in Texas.  My mantra: shop small and shop local, y’all! 😊  (PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PRODUCT PHOTOS BELONG TO THE MAKERS!)

1. “I love my crazy wife” tee from Busted Thread, Grand Prairie
2. “The Woodsman” men’s beard oil from Humblelove, Caldwell
3. Spent shell peg game from Rustic Trail Crafts, Weatherford
4. Leather beer can cooler from Espacio Handmade, Austin
5. “If you can read this” cozy socks from Brandywine Homemade Design, Argyle
6. Wooden phone stand/charging station from Kiefer Werks, El Paso
7. “I like her butt/I like his beard” coffee mug set from Owings Designs, Ft. Worth
8. Personalized slim men’s leather wallet from Exsect Inc., Fairfield
9. Pecan Cayenne Chocolate Bark from Delysia Chocolatier, Austin
10. Personalized dopp kit from Piece of Shards, Allen

And how about gifts for HER?  Well, wouldn’t you know that these Texas makers have you covered for that too?! (AGAIN, ALL PRODUCT PHOTOS BELONG TO THE MAKERS!)

1. “Morning Sunshine” mug from Paperlaced Creations, Austin
2. Passport wallet from Destination Handmade, Houston
3. Handmade mini ring dish from Sunshine & Clay, Dallas
4. Spa gift set from Posh Baths and Crafts, South Houston
5. Personalized cosmetic/catch-all bag from The Gold Dream, The Woodlands
6. Johnny & June art print from The Jewels of Kingwood, Kingwood
7. “Love is all you need” tee from Printed Tulip, Houston
8. Rose gold flower stud earrings from Through the Moon Door, Houston
9. Essential oil diffuser bracelet from Inspire Your Soul, Austin (and Nichole has been so kind as to offer a 15% discount, with code LOVE15!)
10. Personalized agate and tassel keychain from Adorned Keys, Austin

And now that we’ve got the gifts covered, how about some ideas for what to do to celebrate this holiday with the one you love?  If you’re the cool parents who always manage to get away for a date night, no matter what, AWESOME.  These ideas are probably not for you.  But, if you find yourself at home every year on Valentine’s Day and you’re looking for new ideas to shake things up a bit, maybe these will help:

1. Hold an Iron Chef cookoff (after you put those kids to bed and popped open a bottle of wine, of course): You’ve seen the show by now, right?  If not, that’s okay.  The idea here is to choose a “secret ingredient” for the evening and use that ingredient in each course of your meal (appetizer, salad, main course, dessert…).  Choosing that secret ingredient can be tricky, but think: chili peppers, avocado, honey, bacon, or goat cheese if you want to keep it nice and easy or onion, chocolate, coffee, basil, or bananas if you want to make it a bit trickier (how exactly do you use onion in a dessert?).  Pinterest is a great resource for recipe ideas and even finding printable tasting cards if you actually want to score/judge your creations! 

iron chef competition date night at home valentine's day

2. Fancy take-out and a movie: You know that expensive restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try out for forever and have yet to make it?  Order take-out.  Don’t get skimpy because your order is to go, either.  Pick up the appetizer, the salad, the main course, the dessert…all of it!  Then, turn the lights down, put some music on, and enjoy yourselves at the table by candlelight just as if you were out on the town.  Follow that up with a movie on the couch and your beverage of choice and, ahhh…perfection!

fancy take out and a movie date night at home valentine's day

3. Pizza and board games: When was the last time you pulled out an old-fashioned board game?  Or cards?  Or dominoes? Here’s a great post with lots of ideas for games for two (be sure to check the comments for even more suggestions!).

pizza and board games date night at home valentine's day

4. Dessert bar and video games: Maybe you would rather have dinner with the kiddos as usual, but then do something special after bed-time?  How about creating a dessert bar with all your favorite items and breaking out that old Super Nintendo you’ve had stored in the closet for forever?  You know you want to…Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong Country, Mortal Kombat, Doom, The Lion King??  Come on!!

video games date night at home valentine's day

5. A wine/beer tasting party: You heard that right!  Choose a few bottles of wine or beer that you’ve yet to try and hold your own tasting party.  Make sure you’ve got some snacks (fruit, cheese, and sausage/cured meats would be perfect) and print off some tasting cards if you want to make it “official”.  Look for mini or single-serve bottles at the liquor store if you don’t want to open full bottles.  You might just find your new favorite! 

beer or wine tasting date night at home valentine's day

6. At-home Paint & Sip: Did you know you can buy paint-by-number kits for adults?  They come with everything you need (aside from the wine) to host your own Paint & Sip party at home.  Choosing a simple design that can be finished in one night is probably a good idea here.

paint by number paint and sip date night at home valentine's day

7. Relax fireside: Get the firepit or fireplace going and just relax.  Hot cocoa, wine, s’mores, hot dogs…whatever suits your fancy.  Turn on your favorite music and just enjoy each other’s company!

fire pit date night at home valentine's day

8. Unplug: This seems like a no-brainer for a special holiday but can be so hard to do!  Turn off the electronics (tv and radio included!) and just hang out.  Grab a book, puzzle, or even a notepad to plan out your family bucket list for the year…and just be.  Lighting the fire, candles, or just dimming the lights will create a perfect, restful atmosphere and a hot cup of tea won’t hurt either.

unplug date night at home puzzle valentine's day

9. Popcorn & YouTube: This is one I found at Six Sisters’ Stuff, and it sounds like a lot of fun to me!  Pop yourself a huge bowl of popcorn and watch funny YouTube videos all night.  You can even try different popcorn seasonings and have a bit of a tasting, if you’d like.  You’ll laugh so hard you’ll hurt and who couldn’t use a night of just plain-old heart-felt laughter?

popcorn and youtube date night at home valentine's day

10. Go to bed early: I know this sounds crazy, but when do you ever get to bed at a decent time?  Forget about all that clean up (or get it done earlier in the day) and go to bed when the kids do!  Heck, make breakfast for dinner and treat yourself to BREAKFAST IN BED.  Throw all the dishes on the dresser when you’re done (just like you would at a fancy hotel) and call it a night.  The mess can wait until morning.

go to bed early date night at home valentine's day

So, there we have it: 10 gift ideas for HIM, 10 gift ideas for HER, and 10 at-home date night ideas for busy parents.  I hope you found something that you like…if you try it, be sure to let us know how it goes.  And do you have more ideas to share?  Tell us in the comments!

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