In this post I will be sharing ideas for how you can create your very own Valentine’s Day Storybook Teatime for a simple and cozy celebration, along with my top 10 favourite picture book read-alouds for Valentine’s Day.
It is hard to believe that February is already well underway. I always find that Valentine’s Day gives a much-needed bright spot in the winter blahs for our family. However, we don’t do seasonal decor and we avoid food dyes for health reasons too! Shockingly enough, with a little forethought and planning, you can celebrate even the most commercial holidays in a simple and clutter-free way that suits the family culture you are trying to build.
How to Have a Valentine’s Day Storybook Teatime
I love to have a storybook teatime for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. I borrowed this idea from poetry teatime and it forms the basis of many of our liturgical celebrations and holiday observances throughout the year.
Simply put, I take great people, give them food and drinks, add books, and maybe top it off with a little decor or a beeswax candle or two. Et voila! You have the recipe for a wonderful afternoon.
Valentine’s Day Teatime Table Decor
Teatime can be special with or without decorations, but a tablecloth at a minimum can go a long way. We have a red-and-white plaid tablecloth that works well for everyday use but also fits perfectly with a few holidays!
If you want to make it look a little fancy, using nicer teacups is fun! If you don’t have any, thrifting some may be worth it to you. I find kids behave better for teatime if we elevate the place settings a wee bit. But I am raising boys here so keep this in mind.
For decorating, it is fun to get the kids involved, too! Paper doilies or simple paper hearts scattered on a white tablecloth with some beeswax candles would make a waste-free table setting.
If you printed out my cactus-themed valentines freebie from my previous post, you could use them as place settings and add some cacti or succulents from around the house as a centrepiece.
Valentines, or Guests of Honour for Teatime
Next up: guests! It can be extra special to invite a few friend or grandparents to come join the teatime. Or, you can invite you kids or even try to surprise them! Sometimes, younger kids will get excited if they are allowed to bring a stuffed animal guest to the table to celebrate. We had Dad, so that was special!
Valentine’s Day Food and Drink
Ah, winter. So many opportunities to cozy up with cocoa or a steaming mug of tea.
My kids love my guilt-free hot chocolate (I just make it without refined sugar). In fact, I love it too! I love that it is actually nutritious made with raw buffalo milk and that the kids can make it on their own easily in our handy milk frother you might recall from this post.
We also love herbal teas at our house, some with herbs from our garden. There are loads of fruity herbal blends (be sure to watch for sneaky ingredients like “natural flavour” that can actually hide a multitude of evils). For Valentine’s Day, hibiscus and rose hip tea with honey would be super festive and also great for immunity.
For food, it is really important to our family to avoid artificial food dyes. My kids don’t react well to food dyes and one time I even had to give Benadryl after an exposure. Even if you don’t have an allergy, these synthetic ingredients are linked to all kind of bad stuff. If you want to hear more about that, check out my highlight on Instagram!
The good news is, not only are there beautiful fruits and veg that can look really festive for Valentine’s Day, but also there are natural dye alternatives and really healthy recipes too.
Artificial Food Dye Free Valentine’s Treat Ideas
- My friend Errika at The Home Intent shared this adorable healthy strawberry pop tart recipe and she even made heart-shaped ones that I am dying to try! They actually look really easy as well as cute so make sure you go check those out.
- My friend Jill over at Locklear Farm has some incredible looking gluten and dye-free sugar cookies she is sharing for Valentine’s Day! I hope you will go check those out! Just a note, the Watkins natural food dye included in this recipe does contain Polysorbate 80, which is an ingredient that I discovered gives me bad headaches.
- I saw some amazing cookies by Serena from Everyday Homestead with pink icing made from hibiscus tea. Watch her reel here.
- Yogurt with strawberries or raspberries
- Heart-shaped sourdough pancakes topped with homemade whipped cream and preserves
- Sourdough discard brownies
- Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes are super moist and delicious
Top 10 Storybook Read-Alouds for Valentine’s Day
Here are my top 10 picture books for Valentine’s Day. I love giving book suggestions, so if you’d like to talk books why not join the community?
Come check out our new group, Kindling Wild Community, where we can connect!
By Eve Bunting
This book features a married couple of bears hibernating together in winter. Mrs. Bear sets an alarm so she can celebrate Valentine’s Day with Mr. Bear. The only problem is, Mr. Bear won’t wake up! The illustrations by Jan Brett are lovely.
By Eileen Spinelli
Gosh, this book is adorable!
By Scott Campbell
This one is a goofy celebration of spreading love via hugs and the little dude known as the hug machine sure is up for a challenge. Hug accomplished!
By Robert Sabuda
Saint Valentine, plus mosaic art?
By Zanna Davidson
I think between the two amazing books in this series, Miss Molly’s School of Manners is slightly higher on our list of favourites (and it is perfect for storybook teatimes too!) but Miss Molly just doesn’t fail to delight. This is written in a cartoon style so make sure everyone at the table will be able to see the pictures!
By Sam McBratney
I feel like everyone knows this book and has a copy or can easily get one at the library! This type of book is perfect for a book list because you my have it tucked away somewhere, forgotten, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to bring out a nostalgic favourite. Do you remember this book being read to you as a child? I do! We want reading to give our kids the warm fuzzies just like that.
By Wende Devlin
This book in the Cranberryport series will not disappoint. Mr. Whiskers is utterly terrified at the thought that he may have a secret admirer in town. If you are reading this one why not serve some yummy dried cranberries?
By Jory John
Bear and Duck are an unlikely duo but they never fail to disappoint. My kids love seeing how these two very different characters relate and love each other, in spite of and maybe even because of their differences!
This book series has led to some amazing juicy conversations about personality types, introversion and extraversion, and how people give and receive love. If you don’t know your kids love languages yet read this!
By William Shakespeare
Could there be a better time of year to read one of the most famous love stories of all time? An illustrated version of Romeo and Juliet is sure to delight: parties, insults, sword fights and forbidden love, what is there not to love? Just pick an age-appropriate adaptation and enjoy! This picture book version is totally gorgeous, and I love the illustrations by Simona Bursi in this one. These Illustrated Stories From Shakespeare are great for about ages 5-7. But I have a soft spot for the Usborne Complete Shakespeare (for about 9+) I love how it is laid out and how many authentic Shakespeare lines are used!
By Jane Austen
My favourite book of all time has to make this list! In my humble opinion, no one is too young to appreciate the awesomeness that is Jane Austen’s finest work. Sadly though, there are few adaptations of this delight for younger audiences! Do I own this board book adaptation? Yes, 100%. Do I wish I owned this boxed set? Also yes. Thankfully Usborne has a delightful Young Reading illustrated chapter book as well as their Complete Jane Austen.
How Our Teatime Turned Out
Here is my Instagram post featuring our teatime. We had a special guest in the form of our newest homestead member, our New Zealand rabbit Peppermint.
I hope you feel inspired by this post to hold your own storybook teatime. Would you include any of the stories I suggested, or do you have your own special favourites? Let me know in comments!
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