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Sweet without the Sugar

Today is the day before Valentine’s Day.

I know… the day of St. Valentine gets a pretty bad rap from a lot of people… too commercialized (I fully agree), too much pink and too many un-sustainable flowers (indisputably), too much sugar (holy cow),  and too exclusive– i.e. the holiday is for lovers and leaves out anyone not in a happy relationship. On that last count, I must respectfully dissent.

Back in college, and firmly in the camp of “those not in a happy relationship,” I was tired of not having anything to do on the heart holiday. The bookstore was doing free photographs for couples in a cute heart-embellished frame, and I *did* feel left out. So I grabbed my best friend (also single) and we went and got our picture taken. Then we went to the grocery store, bought a ton of supplies, and went home to bake an array of heart-shaped and chocolate cookies that would rival any bakery on February 14th. We packaged them up all fancy and took them around to all of our friends, single, coupled, or dubious. Then we bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and polished it off together.

EVERYONE was so happy to get those cookies. (Well, it’s hard not to love a plate of cookies…)

I realized that lots and lots of people don’t get enough love on Valentine’s Day. And of course I felt good dishing out some affection… so a new tradition was born.

I have changed my relationship to sugar since then (sort of), and I try hard not to be an enabler for other people, too. (Nothing drives me more crazy than bringing my kids to a party where I know there will be nothing to eat but sugar…) So these days I send a lot of Valentine cards (homemade of course) and when I want to give a gift my default is to give a coupon book. (but I also go a little nutso around the house…)

Apple heartHeart Toastraspberry cocoa butterHeart lunchbox

Coupon books can be sort of cheesy. I used to think they were a lot like a cop-out gift. But now, in the age of too-much-stuff, I find them to be perfect. The Gift of Experience. The Gift of Time. Look, here’s something we can do together! Here’s some time that I will devote just to you.

AND (you knew this was coming) coupons are great for giving activities that will be movement-related! So, while a voucher for a movie night is a common option, how about making this year’s coupons for some Get-Up-And-Get-Moving fun?! Here are some suggestions, and by all means get creative with these:

Take a trip to the roller or ice skating rink

Have a bowling adventure

Find or create a walking tour of a historical district in your town

Rent kayaks and explore a new river/bayou/lake

Try paddle boarding (maybe wait for warmer weather for this one?)

Walk to a lake/meadow/park/friend’s house and have a picnic

Explore a new trail

Go camping

Lessons at a rock-climbing gym

Pay a visit to the bounce-house or trampoline place

And if you can’t escape the sugar, you could pair it with some movement… Walk or bike or skate to the ice cream parlor!

(Fill In The Blank) with an old favorite or something on your life list!

And let’s not forget, for those of you who *are* in a happy, non-platonic relationship, that there are some certain “natural movements” that are perfect coupon fodder. (nudge nudge wink wink say no more) IF you’re into that.

SO, in the spirit of last-minute-gifts, here’s a printable coupon-book-starter-kit. My Valentine to you. :)

Positively Aligned Valentine Coupons PDF


(click here for the PDF)

And if you want a little less cheese and a little more substance, check out this Valentine’s post from a couple years back.

Hope your day is full of love, WHATEVER THAT MEANS TO YOU!


1 Comment

  1. Dear Debbie,
    I love your posts! Also, I have signed up for your mailing list, however, it does not seem to let me know when you have new posts. Thank you.

    Alexa Kim


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