It doesn’t have to be close to Valentine’s Day to adore this list of creative ways to say, “I love you!” Any time of year is a good time to let the special people in your life know that you think they’re pretty awesome. What’s even better is that you won’t have to break the bank on these frugal gift ideas.
For Your Kids
1. Get heart-shaped baking tins and make chocolate chip muffins for them.
2. Hide notes around their bedrooms while they’re at school, detailing all the many things you love about them.
3. One night right as they go to bed, surprise them with a trip to get an ice cream cone in their pjs.
4. Buy a plate that says “I Love You” around Valentine’s Day and surprise a different child with his or her meal on it once a week.
5. For those kids who have phones, text something you love about them every so often.
6. Play one of their favorite video games with them.
7. Surprise them with a special note and treat in their school lunches.
8. Take them to the store to pick out a board game and go to a coffee shop together to play it.
9. Record their favorite TV show and watch it together.
10. If your kids are in elementary school, show up unexpectedly one day to have lunch with them.
11. Send them a snail mail note from you to your home address. Kids love real mail!
12. Ask your child to go on a walk or bike ride with just you.
13. Work on a craft of your child's choice together.
14. Create sidewalk chalk art to greet them in the morning when they head out the door or when they return home from school.
15. Set up an Ice Cream Sundae bar on an unexpected and ordinary day.
For Your Love
16. Pack a special lunch for him/her to take to work packed with favorite foods.
17. Write an “I Love You” sign and take a photo of yourself holding it in several unique spots. Make a collage of the photos.
18. Hire a handyman to knock out some of the items on that Honey Do List that you never get to.
19. Fill up a large jar with little slips of paper noting reasons why you love him or her. Leave it on the desk at work, bedroom dresser or even the kitchen counter.
20. Buy two tickets to one of his or her favorite sports team’s games or music group's concerts and make it a date night!
21. Spell out “I Love You” with rose petals somewhere where only he or she will see it.
22. Leave a love note on the windshield of his or her car.
23. Text him a picture of you in a new negligee one evening when he has to work late to let him know what’s waiting for him at home. Or, pick up a special unexpected treat on your way home as a surprise!
24. Choose one of the responsibilities around the house that he or she usually takes care of and do it.
25. Brag about him or her at the dinner table in front of your kids.
26. Write a poem expressing your love and don't worry about how good it is.
27. Write a love note on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
28. Start a back and forth journal for sharing love notes, hopes, dreams, memories and intimacy for just the two of you. To make it more fun, hide it around your house for your love to find.
29. Borrow his/her car and while you have it give it a good cleaning.
30. Prepare his/her side of the bed: fluff the pillows, turn down the sheets and place a new book or magazine on the nightstand.
For Your Parents
31. Set one day a week when you call just to check in and remind them you love them.
32. Send a card via snail mail to thank them for something they did while you were growing up.
33. Take them out to lunch…your treat.
34. Every couple of months, post photos of your family online where your parents can access them.
35. Pay attention for one thing that is hard for them to do and offer to do it for them once in awhile.
36. No matter how old you are, every time you leave their home, give them a hug and kiss and tell them that you love them.
37. Ask them to tell you stories about life when they were a kid or when you were a kid and then really listen to them.
38. Invite them over for an evening and help your kids make a menu and cook the dinner. If the kids have time to create a little special entertainment in the form of a song or dance, even better.
39. Ask them to join you for a family vacation.
40. Make a top ten list of the things you are most thankful for about them and read it to them out loud.
41. Ask your Mom or Dad to help you make a special family recipe.
42. Coordinate a multi-generational family photo for them to treasure.
43. Help them tackle a house project they've been dreading.
44. Encourage them to see old friends by helping with transportation or trip planning.
45. Give to a non-profit in their honor.
For Your Students
46. Keep it simple with lollipops and "you're sweet" notes.
47. Hand out "Be My Valentin-SLIME" notes with homemade slime.
48. Make King of Hearts and Queen of Hearts crowns for each child.
49. Make simple yarn friendship bracelets for each child with a printed note saying, “Our class would KNOT be the same without you.”
50. Give a pack of Swedish Fish of Goldfish with a note that says, “I'm glad we swim in the same school.”
51. Give small bottles of bubbles with an attached tag that says, “Valentine, you make me burst!” or “You blow me away Valentine!”
52. Print a note that says, “You make my heart glow!” and attach a glow stick.
53. Print a note that says, “You're just WRITE for me” and attach a pencil.
54. Put a bouncy ball in a bag with the note that says, “Have a BALL this Valentine's Day!”
55. Hand out small packs of crayons with a note or sticker that says, “You color my world with happiness.”
56. Buy fruit squeeze packets and add a note or sticker that says, “You're my main squeeze.”
57. Give packets of seeds with a note or sticker that says, “I'll pick you every time Valentine!”
58. Decorate a construction paper heart with stamps and write, "You have my stamp of approval." (or include an inexpensive stamp)
59. Have your students paint and personalize collected rocks, place them in a baggie and attach a note that says, "You Rock!"
60. Give your students a box of doilies, paper, glue and glitter (if you dare) and let them have free reign over their Valentines.