At every holiday it seems that we head straight to the candy aisle to pick up some treats for our children’s special activity or exchange at school. Valentine’s Day is no exception. And just like Halloween, it is almost a requirement to hand out candy to your sweetheart.
As you peer down the candy aisles, you will see stacks of pink and red cellophane bags marked with cute phrases, hearts, and of course my weakness, the Reese’s Peanut Butter shaped hearts. The lights go out and a spotlight focuses on you. Meanwhile, the loud speaker in your mind comes on, “BACK AWAY FROM THE HEARTS! I REPEAT, BACK AWAY FROM THE HEARTS!” Let’s be real. You think you will only buy one bag of those delicious, overstuffed peanut butter hearts, but you really need one for your kid’s school, your office, the candy jar for the house, and your personal stash that you keep in your walk-in closet on the top shelf for “emergencies”. You spend a fortune on candy and on a new membership to the nearest gym to work off that peanut butter heart until the Easter eggs roll out.
All joking aside, I have tried to limit candy consumption and have been focusing on moving away from candy and giving my kids and their classes a snack or token that they will enjoy without the sugar rush. I have two young boys, ages 5 and 2, and they are given choices for sweets, but within limits. When they come home with their goodies, I let them pick one to have right then, and another after supper. It’s a treat and should be regarded as such. This being said, I have become a little creative around the holidays and created my own little treats (gluten, nuts, and dairy free–mostly) to hand out to my boys and their classmates. Unfortunately, public schools will not let you bring in homemade items, so prepackaged is preferred. For those who like to stay away from prepackaged foods, here are a few ideas I came up with that I feel are just as sweet and wholesome, without the guilt.
My kids love bananas. Depending on the age, and the school’s policy, you can hand out whole bananas, or package banana chips or freeze dried bananas with a little monkey tag.
YOU MAKE MY HEART POP, VALENTINE!
I found individualized popcorn bags in the snack aisle. For about the same price as two bags of candy, you can get about 24 (2pks) of bagged popcorn. Boom Chicka Pop has a strawberry flavored one and the Pirate’s Booty is usually a winner for the boys.
KEEPIN’ IT REAL, VALENTINE!
Here are a few “whole”some ideas that most kids would enjoy. If the teacher is willing to keep the cheese sticks in a refrigerator, they can be passed out for an afternoon snack.
Here are some of my other favorite non-candy ideas that I love:
Havin’ a Ball: Dollar store item
You’ve got the WRITE stuff!
Source: She wears many hats
Whole lotta Love
Source: Craftaholics anonymous Tags included!
Source: Savings with Shellie
Strawin’ for you!
Source: Bargain Briana
Some money & time saving tips:
- The dollar store and Target dollar spot are my go-to places when it comes to crafting on a budget. I was able to get the glitter tape, tags, and twine for a dollar a piece.
- Craft stores like Michael’s usually have a 50% off coupon on one regularly priced item. You can buy cute bags, tags, colorful cardstock or even a cut-out die to add a little something extra. And if you work for the school district, you get an EXTRA 15% off!
- Bulk stores carry the applesauce pouches, banana chips, and other snacks at a reasonable price.
- Get the kids involved. If they are very young, you can have some tags with tape ready to be put onto the bag by your little one. The older ones can help with cutting, writing, and assembling certain parts of the craft.
- Check Pinterest and other craft websites where you can find free Valentine’s day card templates to personalize and print for friends and family.