When you’re a parent, Valentine’s Day comes with it’s own special stresses. Making class sets of Valentine’s Day Cards(made of our recycled materials, no less). Heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Heart-shaped lunch sandwiches for ‘little’ loves of your life. 

(Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be a Valentine’s Day Fairy or Elf to manage… and please don’t take this as an opportunity to invent one. Yes, I’m talking to you).

Then there’s the ‘big’ love of your life. When it comes to showing your significant other how much you care — well, that may take a backseat to the glitter and red doilies adorning your kitchen table. Sure, you could make a reservation and cram yourself into a table for a prix fixed menu-for-two next Tuesday night. But if you’re like me, it’s exhausting just thinking about coordinating logistics for a mid-week date night out amongst all of the other heart day to-dos.

Showing your significant other how much you care is definitely more important than 25 boxes of conversation hearts perfectly tied. Showing that person some love in front of your kids is the best gift you can give your whole family on Valentine’s Day.

So here are five ideas for skipping the stress and showing the love!

5 ideas for a no-stress valentine’s day celebration

Have Dinner In (But Don’t Cook!). Skip the stress of the sitter, let the kids munch a picnic dinner in front of a movie, and sit down with your favorite adult for a little one-on-one time. Eddie’s of Roland Park is offering a $79 Valentine’s Day Dinner for 2 that includes your choice of appetizer, entree (hello, lobster!), sides AND a dessert to share. Heat and serve. Add an order of mac-and-cheese for the kiddos to your basket or delivery. Easy peasy and everyone is happy. (Note, they need 48 hours notice, so order this weekend!)

Coffee Talk. Skip the extra zzzzzzs on Tuesday and have an early morning date. Hot coffee, warm muffins (buy ahead — remember, this is no stress), cozy house before the patter of little feet hit the ground. Extra bonus points if you catch the sunrise.

Dessert Picnic. Put the kids to bed early and cozy up in front of the fire with a pint of your favorite dessert (we suggest these fun chocolate covered strawberries from Quicha) and a glass of wine. Then talk. Or don’t talk. But whatever you do, don’t talk about bills.

Stories and S’more. Is Valentine’s Day a family affair at your house? Then gather for stories and s’mores. Mix up a giant batch of hot cocoa with all the toppings you can find. Talk to the kids about how the two of you met. Read a favorite bedtime story.

“Usie” Fun. Take a few “usies” or find a recent one on your phone, print it, and write why you love the photo on the back. Sure, you could post it to social media and make a public declaration — but sometimes that best notes are ones that don’t have an audience. These make fun Valentines for kids, too. (#SaveTheGlitter, right?). You may even want to Heartstagram one through Framebridge.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?