Hello, February! We made it through the first month of winter in the Midwest. The month of love has officially arrived and I’m going to share my favorite tips for creating memories with your loved ones—family, friends, and significant other this Valentine’s Day.
I know that Valentine’s Day can be a minefield when it comes to what people like and dislike regarding this holiday. But whatever your opinion, let’s be honest. We’re deep into winter and we need something to celebrate! Make memories—whether it’s with your husband, kids, significant other, or just friends. Who doesn’t love gathering people, eating good food, and making memories?
Start with decorations
I like to begin with a color theme. Last year, I went with reds and fuchsia so this year, I had a more muted palette in mind—cream, white, and mixed metals like gold, copper, and silver. To keep it simple and affordable, I shop my house for decorations.
Truly, throwing a party doesn’t have to mean spending a lot. And after a season of gift giving and getting, I don’t want to bring a bunch of new stuff into the house. I just finished reorganizing all of my Christmas decorations and that’s enough to make a person fast from shopping for a while. I found a table runner that I purchased last year at HomeGoods, pulled a variety of gold candlestick holders (some I purchased to decorate for fall), the linen napkins that I recently DIYed, and frosty pale pink, gold Christmas ornaments for a bit of sparkle.
Target dollar bin. Oh, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. My craft cabinet is brimming with fun finds that I pick up and often use at a later date. The pink name cards/gift tags are a perfect example.
To add a bit of twinkle to the room, I started with a 32” pre-lit Frasier fir from Tree Classics. Pre-lit greens can be used for more than the Christmas holiday. Honestly, I love twinkle lights year-round, but I especially appreciate them during the winter months when sunlight is scarce. To add a bit snowy fun, I flocked the wreath. Flocking is easy and gives these greens a wintry look. Before you do any flocking though, be very sure you want to do it, since it usually means voiding the warranty on your wreath.
Good food and great conversation
Inviting people over, setting a pretty table, and sharing good food and conversation doesn’t have to be stressful. This year, fondue is on the menu. After Thanksgiving and Christmas, where we celebrated with a lot of big, sit-down meals (turkey, beef tenderloin, ham), I thought it was time to change it up.
I mean who doesn’t love to dip carbs and sweet treats into cheese and chocolate? Think bread, meat, cheese, chocolate to sponge cake, fruit, and pretzel. Here’s a recipe for Gruyère & Caramelized shallots fondue that I found on Epicurious. What’s great is that the host can prep meat and make the dips, and let people bring items to share.
My thought is that one of the things that can hold people back from hosting is anxiety and fear. Will people show up? Will they mix well? What will people discuss? For that reason, if I have enough space to seat everyone around a table, I like to strategically place people (big personalities interspersed to help facilitate conversation), and I also like to have conversation starters on hand to get everyone at the table talking.
True story: Does anyone remember how the New York Times article took the internet by storm in 2015? At the time, I thought if 36 questions could lead to love, then certainly some of those same questions would make for great dinner conversation and help build friendships. With that in mind, I hosted a Valentine’s dinner with friends, and I filled a mason jar with conversation starters: 36 questions that lead to love (I actually picked the questions I thought would be most appropriate for a party). Turns out that it worked, and it’s become one of my favorite party memories!
So there it is—my easy tips for a creating a simple, fun Valentine’s Day celebration. Shop your storage, upcycle some of your décor, make a menu, invite those you love, and create memories!