Switch it up this V-Day.

If you’re familiar with my blog posts or know me personally, you won’t be shocked to learn that kids’ goody bags make me shudder. Whether they’re handed out post-birthday party, after a dentist appointment, or following some classroom celebration, the contents are almost always the same: pencils that break when you try to sharpen them, erasers that not only don’t erase, but leave dirty streaks all over the page, “temporary” tattoos that require much scrubbing (and not a few tears) to remove, and my personal favorite—the utterly useless springy heart toy that looks like a slinky but does not slink (could someone please explain to me why these exist?).

As far as holidays go, Valentine’s Day is the biggest offender of all—that dreadful day when my kids come home with bags and boxes overflowing with this crap, soon be spread across the kitchen counters, lined up on their dressers, and causing everyone considerable angst when another heart-shaped eraser simultaneously breaks and tears a homework worksheet because it is such a worthless piece of junk.

The bright spot on this day isn’t my husband bringing me flowers or Dove chocolates.  It’s the moms and dads who earn my undying respect by raging against the traditional goody bag machine and giving something simple, creative, and… well…NOT annoying. I’m talking about the parent last year who gave each kid a highlighter with a note that said “You are the HIGHLIGHT of my day.” And the one (very brave and generous) parent who sent their child to preschool with Valentines + vouchers for a play date. These are the people who make my heart soar.

This year, I say let’s all be inspired by these V-Day heroes. As easy as it is to pick up a box of cards and a 24-pack of nonsense trinkets at the dollar store, it’s fairly simple (and kind of fun) to buy some clear cello bags, colored index cards, and one LEGIT item to transform into a “Pun-ny” V-Day note + gift.

With a teeny bit of effort, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover real toys and books you can still get super-cheap. It’s also absolutely hilarious to see which everyday household or stationery items kids think are the best thing ever (One year my son went ga-ga over receiving a “business pen,” which was literally a regular pen he could clip to his shirt pocket.)

Team up with your child and make creating and assembling the bags a shared activity. Consider one of these ideas or tell us your own in the comments below!

Straws

Krazy Straws

V-Day note says: “I’m KRAZY about you.”

A Hot Wheels Car

V-Day note says: “You’re the WHEEL deal.”

American Girl doll

American Girl Mini Doll

V-Day note says: “You’re a DOLL.”

Mini Journal

V-Day note says: “You’ve got the WRITE stuff.”

Flashlights

Mini Flashlights

V-Day note says: “You LIGHT UP my day.”

Glitter Glue Pen

V-Day note says: “You’ve got SPARKLE.”

Cake batter chapstick

Chap Stick

V-Day note says: “You’re the BALM.”

Soccer Ball Key Chain

V-day note says: “I get a KICK out of you.”

Puzzles

Mini Art Puzzle

V-Day note says: “I love you to PIECES.”

Mini Whoopee Cushion

V-Day note says: “WHOOPEE! You’re Awesome!”

Sticker Sheets

V-Day note says: “I’m STUCK on you.”

Palettes

Mini Paint Palette

V-Day note says: “You’re a MASTERPIECE.”

Mini Rulers

V-Day note says: “You RULE!”

Notebooks

Mini Phone Books

V-Day note says: “CALL ME, Dear Valentine!”

Magnifying Glass

V-Day note says: “It’s no MYSTERY; I choose you.”

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