Spring Holidays To Get Ready For

Easter Decorations

Though the groundhog told us there would six more weeks of winter this year, most of us are already looking forward to spring holidays. Once Valentine’s Day has passed, it’s time to start looking forward to spring and all of the holidays that come along with that season. If your mother was anything like my mother, any little holiday would be reason to make a special meal and decorate the house, from Mardi Gras to Earth Day.

Whether you’re a teacher and just want to make sure your party bases are covered, or you’re just looking for a reason to have your friends over and celebrate, here are just some of the holidays coming up this spring and how you can start planning now for a great party.

Mardi Gras

If you’re not able to hit New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you can still have a great Fat Tuesday party in your own home. All you really need are Mardi Gras beads and purple, green, and yellow decorations. For a party for little kids, you can easily plan a mask-decorating party that will keep them occupied for ours, just perfecting their masks. Just get some plain masks, feathers, and sequins, and let the kids go to town. Once all the masks are done, you can have a little parade through the house.

For adults, Mardi Gras is all about purging demons and feasting and drinking before Lent begins. Having a few friends over and eating and drinking together is a great way to commemorate this fun spring holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is another big drinking holiday for most adults. There may be a green-themed parade where you live, but if not, many pubs and bars are likely to be holding special St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. You can always don some green clothes, beads, and maybe even a comical leprechaun hat and head out to a bar, or you can call your friends over and host a traditional Irish meal and drink fest at your own home. Just make sure there’s plenty of green around!


Even if you’re not religious, Easter is still a great time to get together with your family and have a nice meal together. Especially if you’re not religious, Easter is largely a holiday for children, and hiding plastic eggs and setting up Easter decorations for a horde of children to enjoy as they search for the eggs is always fun, especially if, like my parents, hiding the eggs well enough so that it would take us months to find all of them was just part of the festivities.

Cinco de Mayo

While Cinco de Mayo may be a more popular holiday in the American southwest, there are plenty of people across the country that celebrate this holiday on a yearly basis. It’s a great time to visit one of the local Mexican restaurants, who will likely be having a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

This holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French at the battle of Puebla, and in Mexican culture is often celebrated as a sort of independence day (though Mexican independence is actually celebrated on the 16th of September). In reality, this day is a time to remember both the defeats and the victories in Mexican history. Cultural celebrations are common, with dancing, great food, and lots of games. Many teachers use this opportunity to teach about Mexican history and culture.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day comes around every spring, and every spring, we scramble to find a suitable present for the women that have given us so much of their time and energy. According to our own mothers, here are some of the best Mother’s Day activities:

• Taking your mother out to lunch or dinner
• Someone else cooks the meals for the family
• A handmade gift
• Stories about your childhood and memories of your mother
• Getting many generations together to celebrate
• A small, thoughtful present

Most mothers don’t expect something grand and extravagant, preferring instead just to spend time with the family and to have a brief reprieve from some of the motherly duties they take upon themselves on a daily basis.

Earth Day

Earth Day is becoming more and more popular, as more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious. Many parks and recreation departments hold outdoor activities. These can range from tree planting to picking up litter in the park. An earth day party doesn’t just have to be manual labor, however. You can get all your friends together and have an earth-themed party.

While Earth Day doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a “normal” sort of party, it can still be fun to have a meal together and discuss weighty topics like climate change and recycling.


While this is another holiday that most people only celebrate if they are religious, you will likely have the chance to attend a Passover dinner this spring. Passover originates in Ancient Egypt and commemorates the last plague God sent to convince Pharaoh to release his Jewish slaves. Many Jewish people today eat a highly symbolic meal and follow the traditions laid out in the Old Testament for this sacred day.

April Fool’s Day

While not a true holiday like many of the others on this list, April Fool’s Day can be a fun day to play harmless, friendly pranks on your loved ones. It’s also the beginning of tax season—while these two events don’t have much to do with each other, they can be equally aggravating.

The Key to a Low-Key Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Sign

Valentine’s Day is one of the most stressful days of the year, for both men and women. There is so much pressure put on showing your love to those you love most on this one day, that people spend weeks and even months trying to plan the perfect date night. The truth is, however, that whether you’re in a committed relationship or not, having a low key Valentine’s Day can be both less stressful and more fun than having an over-planned, anxiety-ridden date on what’s supposed to be the most romantic day of the year.

Wouldn’t you rather celebrate Valentine’s Day with the person that you actually love instead of at a restaurant, packed with strangers? Here are some tips for making Valentine’s Day less stressful and more fun.

Plan Something You Actually Want to Do

For some people, heading out to a busy restaurant, filled with other couples celebrating their Valentine’s Days is the epitome of fun. Others would far prefer to take a picnic out to the beach and cuddle together watching the sunset. Just because the standard Valentine’s Day date is a reservation at the most expensive restaurant in town doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do. Not only is that going to put a serious dent in your bank account, it’s likely going to be too busy for you two to really have an intimate and meaningful date.

Think about the dates where you have had the most fun. Was it people watching at a busy restaurant? Or was it taking a walk through the park after dark. Reenacting your first date is a popular choice, as it can stir up those old, nervous feelings of initial attraction and romance. More than anything, you want your date to be personal and unique and something that will spark a little bit of romance between the two of you. Don’t be weighed down by what you’re “supposed” to do—do what you want to do!

If in reality, you two would rather do nothing else but stay at home and play Scrabble, that’s what you should do.

Have Lunch Together

Dinner is when the restaurants are going to be packed with couples. If you want to beat the crowds and still have a great meal together—especially if one of you has to work on Valentine’s Day—grabbing lunch together, instead of dinner, can be a great way to fit in some quality time. It’s probably the only day that day drinking is allowed, and because it’s lunch, you might feel inclined to try something a little more casual, which could mean less pressure and more fun in the long run.

If you’re both working through lunch, why not get up a little bit earlier and have breakfast together at your favorite diner around town? Or better yet, scramble some eggs, toast some bread, and have breakfast in bed while you watch the morning news and hope for a snow day. Sharing a meal is one of the most traditional parts of Valentine’s Day, and sitting and eating together is a great way to spend some time. To keep your Valentine’s low key, however, you might consider switching up which meal you focus on.

Make It Yourself

Handcrafted and homemade are great ways to show someone else that you care. Homemade Valentine’s Day decorations are as easy as cutting a few hearts out of construction paper. You can also find inexpensive decorations at a party supply store, ranging from the very cute and corny, to the very upscale and classy. Mix and match your homemade and store bought decorations as you deck out your home.

Making Valentine’s Day dinner yourself may seem like a daunting task, but if there’s a meal that you know you’re capable of making, today is the day to make it. Whether it’s something as simple as spaghetti with sauce from a jar, or as complicated as lobster and a tossed salad, make the meal yourself is a great way to show someone that you love them. Putting in that time and effort, over a hot stovetop, really shows that you care.

Valentine’s Day desert can be easy, too. Either pick up a box of chocolates at the store or make a simple chocolate cake from a mix. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be delicious!

Rom-Com Movie Marathon

Netflix and your local movie rental place will likely be stocking their shelves with everyone’s favorite romantic comedies in preparation for Valentine’s Day. After dinner, you can curl up on the couch and watch your favorite romantic movies, whether you like something funny and cheesy or something truly romantic.

If romantic comedies aren’t really your thing, pick from the wide variety of action movies that have a romantic subplot. You can even just trash the romance altogether and pick a selection of horror or slasher flicks. The best part about this plan is getting to watch the movies that you two love to watch together, especially if you originally bonded over common movie tastes.

Pick a Low-Traffic Date Spot

On Valentine’s Day, most people are either going to be staying in or eating out. Museums and art galleries are going to be abandoned. Whether she loves learning about space or you’re a fan of modern art, spending the evening strolling around exhibits hand in hand is a great way to spend your Valentine’s Day. Some art galleries might even have a special event for visitors that do come out on Valentine’s day, like dinner or drinks and appetizers.

Bookstores, coffee shops, parks, beaches, etc. will all likely have fewer visitors than on any normal day.

Ten Tips for the Perfect Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's day heart cutout

Yes, it’s January, but Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. February 14th will arrive faster than you thought it would, and if you want to plan something special for you and your loved one, now is the perfect time to start. Whether you just want to plan the perfect romantic evening for two or are throwing a blowout for all of your single friends, we have a few tips and tricks to get you started and make sure your Valentine’s Day is perfect.

Just the Two of Us

If you’re planning a date just for you and your sweetheart, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are our first five tips, for those of you who are planning an intimate evening.

1. Don’t skimp on decorations. Even if you’re going out to your favorite restaurant for dinner, you might still want to spend some time decorating the house. Every party supply store will have mounds of Valentine’s Day decorations to choose from, whether you want to go sweet and kitschy or upscale and elegant. Decorating your house is a great way to set the mood, even before you leave on your date.

2. Get some flowers and chocolate. It may seem cliché, but chocolate and flowers are a staple of the holiday for good reason—nothing says I love you like a single rose (or a whole bouquet, if you’re feeling fancy) and a box of chocolates, even if you just picked them up last night at the grocery store. This is a tip especially for guys: even if she says she doesn’t want anything, you might still want to consider picking up a flower. It’s a nice gesture and a good way to show her you remembered that today was special. If you really want to spoil your significant other, send flowers to his or her office during the day.

3. Write a love note. If one or both of you have to work on Valentine’s day, a cute way to get ready for a romantic date tonight is to write a sweet note and slip it into their lunch before they leave home. They’ll find it when they open that sack for lunch and it will definitely bring a smile to his or her face. You can use a paper heart left over from your Valentine’s Day decorations or even one of those cheesy kids’ Valentine’s you can buy at any grocery store. Even if you’re not a poet, just a few nice words will do.

4. Do something different. Valentine’s Day should be special. If you always grab a bite to eat and then go see a movie, maybe try something new (unless your significant other hates change—you know him or her best). A ride in a carriage through the park, a walk along the river, ice-skating, or even just staying in if you always go out can be a nice change of pace on the most romantic day of the year. Better yet—have your first date over again or take her to all your favorite spots.

5. Get outta town. You could use this day as an excuse to get away for the weekend. Chances are, everyone else that you know will also be out on Valentine’s Day in your city, which might make it difficult to have a nice evening, just the two of you. Instead, why not go where no one can find you? A bed and breakfast out of town or a snuggly cabin in the woods?

For the Singletons

Just because you don’t have a significant other on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great time. This holiday isn’t just about couples, it’s about love in general. So, why not use this time to throw a party for all of your loved ones? Here’s how to do your Valentine’s Day party up right.

1. Time to decorate. Hit your favorite party supply store (you’ll probably find the best deals online), and get lots of decorations for your venue. You can stick to the traditional pink, white, and red, or you could go extra classy and go with black and gold. Whatever theme you choose, keep in mind that hearts are the name of the game when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Whether you buy all of your decorations or spend an afternoon cutting them out of construction paper, you’ll want to fully adorn your venue prior to the start of your party.

2. Get the food ready. While you might want to just do heart-shaped cookies and chocolates, if you are only going to have a few people over, you could have a fancy pot-luck or catered dinner, just for the single ladies or lads in your circle. Just because you don’t have a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend to spoil you on Valentine’s doesn’t mean you can’t spoil each other.

3. Pick a playlist. Your playlist will likely depend on what theme you’re going for, but love songs are always a good bet. Your favorite artists probably have plenty of them, but if you’re at a loss, check the Top 40 list.

4. Choose some activities. Do you want to watch a sad movie? A romantic comedy? Just a regular comedy? Play two truths and a lie? Have some games on hand so once you’re done eating, you can have a little fun.

5. Pick the right time. If you want to invite friends that do have significant others, holding your party on Valentine’s Day might not be the best bet, as they’ll likely already have plans. Additionally, if Valentine’s Day is on a weekday (in 2015, it’s on a Saturday), some people might not want to stay out too late if they have commitments or work in the morning.

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Plan the Perfect Kid’s Valentine’s Day Party

Cupid cutout

If you have a kid, Valentine’s Day is probably one rung lower than Halloween on the ladder of fun holidays (Christmas or Hanukkah being the top, of course). Whether you’re hosting a party for your child’s entire class at school or just for their closest friends, it might seem daunting to come with enough ideas that are both on-theme and interesting enough to keep the kids engaged. These ideas are great both for classroom parties and for after-school bashes, and are sure to make your party a hit with the kids and their parents.

Decorate Cookies

What’s the best way to cut down on the time it takes for you to prepare for the party and give the kids something fun to do? Have them decorate their own cookies! You can even prepare one set of cookies beforehand and also have some raw dough so they can cut out their own shapes to frost, once they’re done cooking. Getting this party ready is as easy and getting a few tubs of frosting (or making your own if you’re feeling industrious), some sprinkles, and some wax paper to protect your table from the bright colors. If you don’t want to make the cookies, you could enlist some other parents or even buy plain sugar cookies from the grocery store.

Make Valentines

Most classes have some sort of Valentine’s Day celebration, and that usually means that your child wants to take some Valentines to her friends. A great way to enable her to express her creativity is to invite her friends over and using constructions paper, glue, and markers to make their own Valentines. A great way to supplement their supplies is with some heart-themed decorations, purchased from a party supply store.

Make It Sweet

Whether or not you want the kids to decorate their own treats, you can still center your party on treats. When you’re a little kid, Valentine’s Day is really all about sweets anyway—so why not spoil them this one day out of the year, with a range of sweet treats. Heart-shaped cookies, cakes, rice crispy treats (these are great if there is someone in her class or circle of friends who is gluten intolerant), and more could be the focus of the party. Making Valentines or playing games can round out the party.

Cake Walk

Your kids might not be old enough to understand the history behind a cake walk, but they’ll love the interactive treat-winning game. An easy way to get this party started is to cut big hearts out of pink and red construction paper, number them, and put them in a circle. Make sure there are enough numbers for everyone and there are enough treats that everyone can win something. Augment this game with musical chairs set to some famous love songs or with a fun movie (the kids might not mind if it’s not Valentine’s Day themed).

Heart Games

A great way to make your party Valentine’s Day themed and still really fun is to have a bunch of heart-themed games planned. Whether it’s heart tic-tac-toe (which is as easy as making a game board and giving the kids pink and red hearts to use as game pieces or heart hide and go seek (where one child leaves the room and then another child hides a paper heart—the class then leads the other child to the heart with a game of hotter or colder), having a few games handy is a good way to keep the party from stalling.

Make It Heart Healthy

While you might not want to turn the entire party into a field day (it may be still too cold for that), you can get the kids out to do a little bit of exercise. They’ll probably need it if they are going to be eating sugary cookies or other treats throughout the day. If you turn it into a game or have a heart relay, the kids will be sure to love getting outside or doing something active during the school day.

Get Crafty

Kids love doing crafts and this is a good way to exercise their motor skills as well as give them a built-in party favor. There are lots of different crafts that you could do—these are just a few examples. Making Valentines for their parents or friends out of construction paper and a few craft supplies is going to be a popular option. Coloring pages that are heart or Valentine’s Day themed are great for younger kids who might not be up for working with scissors and glue yet. Making heart rings or necklaces out of pipe-cleaners is easy and inexpensive. If your kids are a little bit older, they might be able to make woven friendship bracelets out of red and pink string.

Match the Hearts

This is a great way to work some learning into your party—which is great if you’re planning your party for the classroom. In this party, you write a bunch of words on some hearts and stick them around the room. Each child has to pick a heart off of the wall and then find their word match—which might be held by another child or it might still be on the wall.

Heart Attack

This idea is a great for an after-school party and is a great way to show some love to someone in your neighborhood who needs it. Spend the first half of the party cutting out hearts and writing nice things on them. Then, tape some to skewers and just put tape on the back of others. Then, take your party outside and stick those hearts all over someone’s yard to show them they are loved.