Best Family Traditions on Valentine's Day from Instagram Moms


I’ve been wining and dining my family for the last three Valentine’s Days.

White tablecloth, red rose centerpieces, and decadent… fast food sliders that’ll give you all the heart eyed emojis? Yes, our family tradition, come every February 14th, is to dine at White Castle (“Let’s. Get. Sliders” are the three little words everyone wants to hear on V-Day, am I right?). Atop slick, plasticky tablecloth we feast on a cuisine of sliders, shrimp nibblers, strawberry and cream waffles set to the background hum of the local news playing on flat screen mounted televisions. Ironic and classy!

This tradition began three years ago, kind of as a joke, when the Husb was in Barcelona for work over Valentine’s Day. I had a fussy 5-month old and two older boys with a spirited competitive rivalry, but nothing was going to keep me from enjoying a meal out with or without my partner, although I also didn’t want to go anywhere hoity-toity. I remembered my friend Melissa was once fooled by her husband on Valentine’s Day years ago – he said he was bringing her somewhere fancy and to get dressed to the nines. Well, little did she know, they were headed to White Castle. They had the best (and funniest) time. So, three years ago, I reserved a senior citizen time slot at my local White Castle, and as luck would have it, baby A sat quietly in his car seat curiously watching me indulge in all the sliders (enough to grow a food baby!) – and we’ve been doing this since.

For the royal experience, February 14th at White Castle requires ressies, which are shockingly equally as hard to snag as at any fine dining restaurant and is practically akin to nabbing that gold medal in the couples ice skate – that is to say, odds are against you, my friends. About a month before the big day, dining reservations open up on OpenTable, and so begins the group text flurry between me and a few mom friends who share the same love of White Castle sliders–

“Quick! Get online. White Castle V-Day.”

“What time are you going to reserve? Let’s coordinate!”

“Oh sh*t, looks like 6:00 is all taken, but there are a couple time slots still open at 4:30 and 7:00!”

“Cr*p, never mind, now only 8:00pm is left. Can’t swing dinn that late, cuz kids.”

“Yay! I got 5:30, you got 5:00. You be a little late, I’ll be a little early, and we’ll overlap. It’s a date!”

(Never fear, there is a little loop hole – if your preferred time slot is not available, book the next closest time slot, and then go into OpenTable and edit your reservation. It worked for my girlfriend!)

Did you have Valentine’s Day childhood traditions with your family growing up?

I didn’t grow up with any special traditions for Valentine’s Day, but once I had my own family, I knew I wanted to start something I could carry on year after year – so that my kids will look back and fondly remember at least one day dedicated to love and togetherness. In the spirit of St. Valentine’s and showing love in non-romantic ways, I threw out the question, “What Valentine’s childhood traditions did you have with your family growing up?” to my followers last week. In case you need inspiration, I’ve compiled my favorite stories from moms around Insta who are passing down their family traditions. Happy St. Valentine’s!

#1. Hilary, @itshilarymorris

My mom would always get us a little gift every year. One of the gifts were vinyl glittery heart-shaped bracelets and I’ve been on the hunt for them since (can only find plain color heart-shaped). But now I’ll get my girls something every year. I’ve done emoji pillows, emoji ear muffs, little outfits, etc.

#2. Tara, @spotofteadesigns

With Valentine's Day dinners being so expensive, my husband and I had usually stayed in and made our own meals that night. At some point, we started a tradition to make our own heart-shaped pizza using dough purchased at the local bakery and our own pizza stone. We've continued this tradition now as parents of 2 ­– because who doesn't love pizza in any shape? With a 3-year-old and 5-year-old at home, we are planning to let them decorate their own mini heart pizzas this year!

#3. Leigh, @seedsofthree

Growing up my brother and I were saturated with love and affection. And Valentine’s Day was no exception. My mom instilled in us that Valentine’s Day involved all types of love. My parents wanted us to grow up to be individuals that believe in ourselves and understand that we were (and are) so, so loved. I remember one Valentine’s Day my mom set up the coffee table with all sorts of trinkets and treats. One of the things that sticks out in my mind was this pink box with a lock. There were keys close by. I remember the expression on my mom’s face that day, I felt like she was trying to tell me, through her smile and dilated eyes that my happiness made her happy. 

I was so little but can recall details of that day. And it reminds me of that beautiful saying, ‘People won’t remember the things that you’ve said or done, but they will always remember how you made them feel.’

#4. Brit, @dollihaze

Valentine’s Day is also my grandma’s birthday, so we always celebrated both when I was a child! No big V-Day traditions really, Fletcher gets a little gift and an ‘I love you’ card from me and his Dad. I usually make pasta that day — it’s easy and I always equate it with love for some reason! And really, who doesn’t love a big bowl of carbs?

#5. Alessandra, @unaromanainamerica

Ahh, it’s the day of the Saint who was born in Terni, Italy, near my husband’s family’s hometown. Valentine’s Day in Italy is not a holiday for kids — it’s a holiday only for lovers. My parents used to do all the same things as you do here in America: red roses, chocolate, dinner out. When I moved to America, I didn’t understand why everyone was saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” to everyone! In Italy, we say “Buon San Valentino, ti amo” — but only to our lover, not to our children. Also, since I’ve lived in America, I’ve had to make Valentine’s cards for my son’s classmates to exchange. At first, I thought the cards tradition was weird but now I like it — I’ll definitely keep up this tradition!

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

Besides our classy burger experience, on Valentine’s Day morning, I also deliver my boys each a love note, strawberry Pocky sticks, and some red and pink knick-knacks (usually picked up from the Target Dollar Spot section). Sometimes when I take a shower late at night, I find myself drawing hearts on the steam-ridden glass door, expecting to see a little face peeking at me. It’s a habit I developed because the kids often barge in while I’m showering during the day and ask me to draw them hearts and stars. Though not a Valentine’s Day tradition, the sweet simplicity of this makes me almost want to wake them and shower them with kisses. Almost.

What childhood Valentine’s Day traditions did you have growing up? Are you creating new ones with your family?