35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas from Around the Web and Inside my Head

I’m sharing some simple, candy-free Valentine ideas with you today. Some are links, some are my own ideas, some are both, my versions being ultra simple, mildly to intensely cheesy, and leaning heavily on Sharpies and Post-its. My Valentine motto is “If you can’t say it with a Post-it note, you talk too much.” It’s kinda catchy, don’t you think?

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

Lunch box ideas:

Pop one or more of the followings items in a lunch box. Write on the items with a Sharpie or add a Post-it with a cheesy one-liner. (Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is the king of cheesy holidays.) Click through the links to see the classier ideas that inspired my simple Valentines:

The first three ideas are inspired by the lovely Melissa at Bless This Mess, who has many terrific, doable ideas at her site.

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

Orange: Orange ya gonna be my Valentine?

Cheese stick or beef jerky stick: Let’s stick together. Stick with me, Valentine. I’ll stick with you!

Fruit strips (the pure fruit varieties fit the candy-free theme):

    • grape: You’re grape, Valentine! Have a grape Valentine’s Day. (Cheesy alert!)
    • strawberry: I’d be berry happy if you’d be my Valentine. You’re berry sweet!
    • apple: You are the apple of my eye. (I can smell the Limburger!)

This clementine idea is a simplified version of a much classier Valentine treat found at Tutto Bella Blog (All Things Beautiful):

Cutie: You are a real cutie! Be mine, Cutie Patootie!


35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

(Yeah, that boy needs a bath. Keepin’ it real!)

This banana idea comes from Twig and Thistle. She sells sweet lovin’ fruit stickers from her Etsy shop, which are a great idea for lunch boxes throughout the year. My version uses a permanent marker…and a banana…and isn’t quite as chic…but then again, neither am I.

Banana: I go bananas over you! I’m ape over you.

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

I could totally go for this trail mix idea from A Spicy Perspective. Make (or buy) a trail mix as healthy (or unhealthy) as your family prefers.

Trail mix: Follow the trail to my heart. (Cheesy? I dunno? I’m thinking it’s got a Hansel and Gretel charm to it. You could also say “I’d trail you anywhere,” but that’s kinda got “stalker” written all over it.)

Nut Mix: I’m nuts over you.

And, of course, there’s always the classic heart-shaped sandwiches cut with a cookie cutter, which beg the question, “What do you do with the rest of the sandwich?” Duh–breakfast for Mom!

To Pass out at School:

The orange, cutie, and fruit strip Valentines from the lunch box section above would work great if the classroom allows food. Or send the cheesesticks in a small collapsable cooler.

For non-food Valentines, pass out any of the following and attach a little tag (or hunt online for printables) with any of these cute (a.k.a. cheesy) sayings.

Ruler: You rule, Valentine! You’re the ruler of my heart! (CHEESE!)

Pencil: Write on, Valentine! You’re the write stuff! You’ve written on my heart. You’re all write. (Oh, the cheesiness slays me.)

Bookmark: You’re #1 in my book. Are you booked, or can you be my Valentine? (Ugh.)

Toothbrush (find cheap multi-packs at discount stores, drugstores, or dollar stores): You make me smile, Valentine! Or snag these Barry Manilow/James Taylor ideas from Jac o’ Lyn Murphey, ‘cuz what grade schooler isn’t a JamesTaylor fan? Seriously, mine are.

Homemade clay or a mini playdough: You’re shaping up to be a great Valentine! (Does it get any worse?)

Chapstick: Let’s stick together. Stick with me, Valentine. You’re the balm! (I can hear my kids gagging in the background.)

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

Grandparent (or Parent) Valentines:

How about a simple photo Valentine for Grandma and Grandpa?

This adorable blowing kisses photo idea is from Pinterest. (If the linked photo is yours, please let me know so I can credit you.):

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

We used red dry erase markers on a white board, because it’s what we have. See how you can take a great idea and make it your own without busting the budget or adding still more art supplies to your over-stuffed art cupboards!

This one screams I LOVE YOU, don’t you think?

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

Again, the magic of dry erase and a little cropping.

Or there’s the classic Eye Heart U photo.

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

A little bit of cheesy, a whole lotta lovin’! I’m particularly fond of the teen in the background. She’s saying, “Sure, I love you, but not enough to get involved in another of my mother’s crazy photo shoots.”

Grandma and Grandpa might also enjoy these crafty Valentines:

This idea of a long-distance hug comes from Tons of Fun:

Send a Hug in the Mail and 35 Other Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

We used two hand cut-outs and yarn, because, again, it’s what we have on hand, to create this hug to mail across the miles. Just for you, we even created an ultra-simple 10-step photo tutorial on how to mail a hug. (No cheese…or not much anyway.)

I found this adorable footprint Valentine card that you can make with your littlest littles over at Lil Sugar. I would have made my own, but painting my baby’s feet seemed counterproductive to what I want to accomplish in life, which is to not have paint all over my entire wardrobe and travel trailer. But your life goals are probably different than mine, so you…you can try it.

Lil Sugar also inspired this hand cut-outs idea.

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

Trace and cut out the child’s hand and add a cute saying, or just let the child decorate it. What? You want my ideas for cute sayings, even after the “You’re the balm!” line? Uhhhh, no, but here are some ideas from Lil Sugar:

    • Hold my hand, Grandma!
    • Forget me not. (with a string tied around one of the fingers)
    • You’re “hand” some. (Okay, so that one hints of cheesy.)

For your girl:

Give her cute hairpins and tag them with “I pinned you to be mine!” (I’m sorry. That’s a groaner.)

Pick out a cute pair of socks and add a tag that reads, “We make a great pair.” There is a printable available at Saltwater Kids where this cute idea originated.

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

For your boy:

Meck Mom has some cute manly Star Wars printable Valentines. Nothing says I love you with a macho, manly kinda love like a mind-controlling half human in a black helmet. I don’t know, ladies. Just go with it.

A matchbox car with a tag (i.e. post-it) that reads “You’ve raced your way into my heart.” Okay, my son would totally not get that, but he would like the car.

For your teen:

A poem written especially for the teen in your life:

Roses are red.
Get out of bed.
Give your mama a squeeze.
No you can’t have my keys.

It’s inspired, really. A-hem.

Here’s my favorite Valentine for my own teens:

A rock with the letter “U” on it. Come on…you get it, don’t you? U + rock…you rock! That’s borderline genius there.

For your man:

What hubby wouldn’t like to know he’s still your stud muffin after all these years! This idea, as well as a “one hot mama” idea can be found at Tutto Bella Blog:

35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

A bag of nuts and bolts: Don’t bolt, cuz I’m nuts about you! (Whoa. That may have won the cheese of the day award!)

For your lady:

Chocolate. What?! Chocolate’s not candy! It’s not!

For that special someone…you know the person:

Love Hurts...and 35 Other Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas | www.TheSimpleHomemaker.com

I can think of all kinds of Post-its for that one, but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

For a Special Valentine Meal at Home:

Find a tutorial to make heart-shaped carrots over at the beautiful blog Recipe By Photo. Toss them in a soup or serve them as a side dish.

Fruit kabobs are just one of three fruity ideas over at Life in Wonderland.

These cherry tomato hearts are precious for someone old enough to not put his eye out with a toothpick, so, that’s, like 40, right? Thanks to Eye Candy for the idea.

Check out these dark chocolate strawberry-bananas from Multiply Delicious. Okay, I know, I said candy-free, and chocolate has shown up twice, but is chocolate really candy? I like to think of chocolate as more of a digestif. Don’t know what a digestif is? Good, then maybe you’ll believe me.

Valentine Idea from Dayspring

It may be too late to get these in time for Valentine’s Day, but encouraging notecards for your friends are suitable year round, as are any expression of affection, appreciation, and love…although never is the cheesiness as acceptable as on February 14.

More ideas:

I have loaded my Pinterest Valentine’s Day board with oodles of (what appear to be) simple Valentine ideas. If you haven’t had enough cheesiness and want to check out other people’s cheese, pop on over

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Please share your ideas in the comments below. I’m sure they’re not half as cheesy as mine!




18 thoughts on “35 Simple, Candy-Free Valentine Ideas from Around the Web and Inside my Head”

  1. Great ideas! You’re totally the balm! 😉

    I’m stealing that one…and the banana…and I wish the cactus for someone at work that won’t leave me alone.

  2. Wow, that’s quite a lot of ideas! We don’t celebrate Valentine’s so big in Europe but I’ve always loved the feeling of love that comes upon us at that time. The virtual long-distance hug is a superb idea!

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