As a host family, you not only open your home to an international student but your heart as well. Sharing different cultures and ways of life is a big part of a host family's experience. One of the best ways to share American traditions with your student is to include them in your family holiday celebrations.
Valentine’s Day is generally considered a romantic holiday reserved only for couples, but love comes in all shapes and sizes.
These family-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas make it easy to spread the love in your home for this heart-shaped holiday.
Whether your family already has Valentine’s Day traditions of your own or you’re hoping to start new ones, here are some great ways to include your international student in the fun.
Ways to Celebrate Valentine's with Your International Student
1. Exchange Valentine’s Day Cards
Valentine’s Day cards are, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable Valentine’s Day traditions in the USA. From little kids buying whole boxes of cards that show their favorite characters for their classmates to long-time couples picking the perfect card for one another, there’s no escaping them.
So why not get a card for your student?
Hallmark or not, there is no shortage of non-romantic Valentine’s Day cards to choose from. There are family-friendly Valentine’s Day cards for your mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, grandchildren and probably your pets too! You can find cards that are sincerely heartfelt, cards that are extremely funny or blank cards that you can customize freely.
If you can’t find the perfect card for your international student, or you enjoy a little DIY, you can always make one yourself!
2. Break Out The Chocolate
What is Valentine’s Day without a box of chocolates?
Chocolate is far from a USA-only tradition, but it’s difficult to deny how integral it is to American Valentine’s Day when it’s all over the shelves this time of year. So, if they have a sweet tooth, grab some treats for your student to indulge in on the most chocolate-covered day of the year.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate chocolate into your family's Valentine’s Day.
Pick out a box of chocolates with all the different fillings for them to sample. Get a bundle of candy bars in place of a bouquet of flowers. Break out some delicious fruit and make some chocolate fondue to dip it in.
You can’t go amiss with something as tasty as chocolate.
3. Don’t Forget The Heart-Shaped Treats
If chocolate isn’t really your student’s thing, any heart-shaped treat will do the trick for Valentine’s Day.Conversation hearts are the first thing to come to mind when this time of year rolls around. These little sweets convey all the things we want to say but can’t quite find the words for. They’re also delicious and make the perfect addition to any Valentine’s Day celebration.
You’re not confined to buying heart-shaped treats for your student, though.
Why not have some fun with the whole family and do some baking? Cookies, brownies and cakes can all be made in the shape of hearts. And there’s the extra the extra-fun part of decorating them with pink and red icing for a personal touch.
Nothing says, “I care about you” quite like a gift baked with love!
4. Host a Game Night
Filling time with the family on Valentine’s Day isn’t quite straightforward as other holidays. There are no colorful eggs to hunt or tons of presents to open or costumes to dress up in (not that you can’t do those things on Valentine’s Day if you want to). Most activities for this holiday are geared toward couples rather than families.
So, we suggest hosting a family game night!
While it’s not a popular Valentine’s Day tradition, game nights are certainly a family-oriented tradition all across America. Those board games gathering dust on the top of your hall closet have been waiting for just such an occasion.
Maybe you want to be less traditional and fill your game night with your favorite video games instead. Who wouldn’t love a Valentine’s Day Mario Kart tournament?
The point is to have fun together as a family and include your international student in that fun. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
5. Have a Movie Night
Games aren’t for everyone and maybe you don’t have enough people in the house old enough for a competitive round of Clue. Or perhaps the games are done and you’re ready for a nice relaxing night with the family.
Movies are the perfect way to top off any Valentine’s Day celebrations.
While theaters are full of couples holding hands in their popcorn buckets, you and your family can pile pillows on the couch, fill up platters of snacks and enjoy streaming a playlist of traditional American movies to share with your student.
A few family-friendly Valentine’s Movies include:
- The Princess Bride
- Beauty and the Beast
- Little Women
- Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
- The Little Rascals
- Lady and the Tramp
- A Walk to Remember
- Tuck Everlasting
Of course, there are plenty of romantic comedies geared toward older audiences if you have a bunch of teenagers or young adults in the house rather than young children. And you can always watch movies with no romance at all if you prefer. It’s all about spending time together to show that you care.
6. Share What You Love About Each Other
The easiest, and least commercialized, way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to share what you love about the members of your family– including your international student!
It doesn’t have to be anything sappy or over the top. By letting them know what you appreciate about them, you’re welcoming them even more into your home and into your heart.
And isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is truly all about?
If you’re interested in opening your home to an international student by becoming a host family, you can visit StudentRoomStay’s website to learn more about hosting an international student!