Hold A Valentine's Day Rehearsal to
Celebrate Your Loved Ones

by Sonja Meyer

Valentine's Day is the one time of year when no one minds if you get mushy and sentimental. Newlyweds daydream about the perfect evening. Old-timers try to think of something new to surprise their lifelong partner. Children cut construction-paper hearts. Everyone plans ways to show the special person in their life just how much they care.

This year, how about planning the event together? Get your special someone, or the whole family, together in one room and brainstorm ways you'd like to celebrate your relationship.

First, take time away from your daily routine to reflect on each other, on the roles you play in each other's lives, and on the things you love most about each other. Think of it as a Valentine's Day dress rehearsal. Then, pass out some construction-paper hearts and colorful pens. Have each person in the room write down three things he or she appreciates about the others. If there are only two of you, this won't take long. If you are a large family, the more the merrier. Take your time.

Then have each person pull up their chair to the person they've written about and read it aloud. Your messages can be serious or hilarious, but they must be true and heartfelt. After everyone has had a turn, you've established how special your relationships are.

Now it's time to plan how you will celebrate them. Again, pass out paper and pens and have each person write one way they'd like to celebrate Valentine's Day together. Your answers can be anything, like "Cook a home-made meal together and get out the fine china." "Dance to our wedding song." Go together as a family to a movie theater, instead of just popping in a video at home." "Pull on some warm clothes and head outside to take in the night sky. See who can identify the most stars." Or "Call Great-Grandma and talk about what it was like when we were all little kids visiting her house."

Encourage everyone to write what would make the day special for them. Now, put all the ideas in a bag and shake it up. Designate someone to reach in and pull a Valentine's Day plan out. If there are two of you, you might designate the person who made the first invitation to meet. If you are with your whole family, you might give the honors to the youngest child. Then, read the Valentine's Day plan that was picked. This is the one you will follow. Put it up where everyone can read it and brainstorm ways to follow the plan and make it even better. While you're at it, read the rest of the plans in the bag; see if you can incorporate any of them as well.

When you are done, enjoy some refreshments. You are likely to feel a renewed appreciation for your special relationship(s) and can look forward to a wonderful Valentine's Day together.

Sonja Meyer, Manlius, N.Y., U.S.
Email: coventryparkshops@ureach.com. Get a free gift with qualified purchase at http://www.coventryparkgifts.com , a site owned by Sonja Meyer. She also owns http://www.coventryparkcommunications.com where she sells ready-to-go content for web and print and offers other communications services.

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