By Sherrie Le Masurier
I love you…let me count the many ways with a collection of creative, cost-effective ideas for your partner, children and parent(s).
Since the expression of love and affection shouldn’t just be reserved for Valentine’s Day and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, these ideas are geared to showing love ones how much they mean to you the other 364 days of the year.
Let’s start with your significant other and ways you can express love but also affection and appreciation for what who they are and what they do.
Personally, I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate when my hubby undertakes a task I normally don’t like doing such as vacuuming or cleaning windows. Likewise, I try to return the favor when I can by gathering trash from around the house, sorting through the recycling bins, and taking out the compost.
So my number one suggestion for making your partner feel special and appreciated would be to take on a task he or she normally does but doesn’t particularly enjoy doing. This could be anything from planning and cooking dinner to handling the bedroom routine with the kids. Where possible, take it one step further and suggest your partner do something fun and enjoyable during this time.
Depending on what it is you’re doing give your partner a note in advance and encourage alternative plans or you simply undertake the task and say nothing. Both methods work equally well, just ask my husband. I can’t help but love and appreciate him more when he goes out of his way for me.
*Love notes – tucked inside purses, briefcases, shoes or posted on a windshield, coffee mug, or handwritten on a steamed up bathroom mirror when your partner is in the shower (lipstick and bar soap work well too but are a tad harder to clean).
*’How do I love thy’ jar – Fill a large jar with tiny slips of paper with descriptive words about your significant other.
Aside from saying I love you and hugging my kids on a daily basis, one of my favorite ways to let them know how special they are is to surprise them with notes and treats in their lunch box. Now that they’re teens taking them out for breakfast or dropping by the bakeshop whenever they have a weekday medical appointment booked has become a ritual. Alternatively, scheduling in a lunch date during the school week can be fun.
*Hide notes around your kids’ bedrooms or add post-it notes to the belongings your kids leave around the house telling them how much they are loved and/or how proud you are of them. A note on a set of cue cards could read, “I see how much effort you put into memorizing your speech, I’m really proud of you.” Likewise, a note on a pair of volleyball shoes could read, “Volleyball is really turning into your sport, I enjoy watching your games.”
*Purchase inexpensive treats like a favorite donut, a package of Pop Rocks or bake some cupcakes and add little notes like ‘Donut you know I appreciate you?’, ‘You Rock’ and ‘You’re the Icing on My Cupcake’.
When we grow up and start raising our own family thoughts of our parents (if we’re lucky enough to still have them) are often pushed to the sideline due to the busyness of our lives. To make sure that doesn’t happen find creative ways to keep them involved.
Two of my favorite ideas are to call and email my parents on a regular basis and post family photos online every month or so to keep them abreast of what’s happening in our lives. This is all the more important as my parents are retired and winter in Florida.
*Surprise your parents with a card and a handwritten memory or a thank you for something they did for you growing up that you really appreciated.
*As your parents age, give them a gift of your time. Spend time together by visiting more often, sharing a joint vacation or simply helping them do something they find a challenge to do for themselves.