Because what is missing from Valentine’s Day is a little deceit

Christmas has Santa

Easter has the Bunny

St. Patrick’s Day has

Valentine’s Day has. . . .the Mysterious Power of Love? Eh. . .

When Belly was a toddler, an online friend posted a Valentine’s tradition that was so easy and flexible that I knew I had to try it out. We are now in our fifth year, and now the kids expect it. You’d think I’d be better prepared for it each year.

It does involve a bit of deceit, so if you are someone who thinks Santa and his ilk are terrible lies for children to believe, you may want to stop reading now.

OK, here is what you do to make your very own Valentine’s Day Lollipop Plant:

1. A few days before Valentine’s Day, give you child a small empty flower pot.

Procrastinator version*: the night before, take your saddest looking house plant and, without letting the kids see, pull it out of the soil and throw it out into the backyard to serve as compost.

2. Let the kids decorate the outside of the pot with stickers, markers, glitter glue.

Procrastinator version*: skip this step; it is almost bedtime!

3. Once the decorations have dried, carefully fill the pot with several inches of fresh potting soil.

Procrastinator version*: search garage, basement and shed for potting soil, to no avail. Either reuse the soil that was once the life force of the dead plant now lying in your backyard, OR, go into the yard with a spoon and chip off a half-inch of hard dry dirt from the frozen ground.

4. Give your child some tiny cinnamon hearts and have him push some into the dirt. Blow a kiss and water them a little bit.

Procrastinator version*: Oops! No cinnamon hearts? Use anything sprinkly or red and hope your kid is too young to notice the difference.

5. If you have started your plant a few days before Valentine’s Day, you can make the plant start to grow over several days. The first night, cut up a few lollipop sticks into various heights. The first night, put the smallest sticks in the dirt so that the plant seems to be ‘sprouting’. The next night, replace those sticks with slightly longer sticks. . .keep this up for a few days.

Procrastinator version*: You did not start your plant a few days before Valentine’s Day.

6. The night before Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Eve?), replace the sticks with several beautiful lollipops. Go to bed and know that you will be woken to the delighted shrieks of “it grew! it grew!”

Procrastinator version*: The night before, sneak out to the local
CVS after the kids have fallen to sleep and buy the last sad bag of lollipops (which are not red, heart shaped or have anything to do with Valentine’s Day but beggars can’t be choosers). Fall asleep but wake with a jolt at 6am and realize you forgot all about the damn plant. Tiptoe down the stairs, and carefully jam some pops into the dirt. If necessary, shield the plant from view with your body as you do this so your child does not see him mother’s lame attempt at creating “magic”.


7. Let your beloved eat lollipops before 8am. They will love you for it.


* taken from personal experience


  1. Very cute idea–who doesn’t appreciate holiday deceit?

    The procrastinator suggestions are hilarious.

  2. ahahaha. I planned to try out this little bit of deceit (scratch, magic) this year. I got all the stuff, except dirt, so I have to figure out which sad, barely-holding-on house plant gets the axe. muhahaha.

    But I planned on unwrapping the lollys, though, in an attempt to make them look a little more organic. Fresh veggies aren’t shrink-wrapped, ya know.

    Don’t forget catching a leprechaun for St. Patty’s Day, too!

  3. Suburb Sierra says

    It’s like you wrote the procrastination notes just for me!

    And I love that the “lollipop fairy??” left Mom a bottle of wine next to the lollipops. Now it may be worth my time to try it out knowing that.

  4. You are brilliant. Brilliant!

  5. Indigo Virgo says

    so, so funny, yet practical. I love it.

  6. So is the Yellow Tail in the picture the grownup version of the valentine lolipop garden……

  7. Chicky Chicky Baby says

    You know I’m stealing this idea and passing it off as my own, right?


    You’re brilliant, as always.

  8. What a great idea, we are totally doing this here. I don’t do Santa, not because of an anti-deceit feeling but because it helps us sidestep some of the materialism of Christmas, but we do the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and any other opportunities to create a little magic.

  9. I love this! I think I will add lollipops to the grocery list for tomorrow. And then I will forget to buy flowerpots and fall back on your very thoughtful procrastinator version. 🙂

  10. Cute idea, but it was the procrastinator’s version that had me rolling. That is SO me!

  11. RamblingMad says

    Awwww….where were you 20 years ago when my kids were small? Okay, where were blogs 20 years ago?

    Cute idea! I’ll have to try it out on my future grandchildren.

  12. Two things.

    One, I started this today – only I decided to have them plant the lollipop seeds in crushed-up Oreos instead of dirt, on the logic that they would taste sweeter that way.

    And two, it took until just now – and I have no idea how long I’ve been reading, at least a good long while – to catch the “fairy godmother/FOM” play on words. What do you mean, obtuse?

  13. Fairly Odd Mother says

    Thanks to you all for your interest in passing this little tradition down to your family! Lollipops for everyone!

    Mrs. Q—I thought of unwrapping the lollies but worry about my nutty kids getting dirt on their pops.

    Yes, the wine was for me. Whee!

    RamblingMad==your someday-grandchildren will think you are the coolest grandma ever.

    Katesaid–OREOS! Great idea! And, you get to eat the ‘dirt’!

  14. Subspace Beacon says

    Very cute idea — especially the tips for procrastinators. You ARE my kinda gal.

  15. That’s a great family tradition. I hope I remember it in a few years! =)

  16. mothergoosemouse says

    Freaking brilliant. Now I just need to use this approach to extort some good behavior beforehand.

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