Forget the Champagne and sexy negligee: A small but passionate minority of Valentine's Day celebrants is pushing to make family the focus of the holiday.
"Valentine's Day does not have to be solely reserved for couples or sweethearts," a parenting columnist advised her readers, adding the slightly illicit suggestion that they should "date their children." In Seattle, Tutta Bella is promoting its kid-friendly atmosphere as an alternative to the red rose-and-candlelight restaurants that require reservations and babysitters. "Tutta Bella has a table for the whole family!," trumpets a release.
I'm assuming most parents would prefer to have a romantic Valentine's Day for two, but wondered what kids thought about scoring a seat at the holiday table. Do they appreciate joining their parents for the lovey-doviest day of the year?
Isabella, 13, says she never dines out with her parents on Valentine's Day, and she isn't too distressed about it: "As an adult, it's apparently a romantic holiday, but as a kid, it isn't as meaningful," she says. Her parents are similarly low-key about the holiday - "sometimes my dad gets my mom flowers, or the other way around, but we don't really view it as that big of a deal," she explains - but she would accept a restaurant invitation if offered.
"I suppose my ideal Valentine's Day would be spending the day with my family," she says. "If we went out to a restaurant, I'd probably order a burger and maybe a milkshake, if my parents let me. It wouldn't be any different from what I would normally order."
None of Isabella's friends dine out with their families on Valentine's Day, but she can imagine why restaurants are trying to drum up more than just two-top business for the holiday.
Valentine's Day, she says, "shouldn't become an excuse to spend money."