Feel that love in the air? Yes, Valentine’s Day is around the corner. After Halloween I think Valentine’s is my fave holiday because it’s all about ooey gooey love in all its forms. This could be love for your partner, love for your kids, love for your extended family, or love for your friends. We don’t celebrate love enough in my opinion so heaven forbid we let the official love holiday pass us by without celebration.
This of course does not mean we have to give in to the mainstream and rather commercial version of the holiday. We can choose to go minimalist and keep it simple or we can give the day our own green twist. We can say “I Love You” without great planetary cost. Here are some ideas.
Go Local – If you plan to buy a gift or go out to eat try a local place close to your home. Save that trip to Paris for your second honeymoon. Try a small mom and pop restaurant for dinner and you will be surprised how good the service is. A store with wares sold by local artisans will ensure a unique, lower impact gift. Celebrate Valentine’s and help support your local economy.
Gift Experiences Rather Than Stuff – Instead of shiny baubles and aftershave why not give the gift of fun? Get a gift certificate for mystery dinner theater, an opera, a cooking class, Disney on Ice, movie tickets, or the like. If your partner loves art get season passes to your local art museum and make it a goal to have a date night there once a month. If your kids love paintball, buy tickets for the whole family so you can enjoy the first Big Game Day come spring. Nothing says love like bruising each other with paintballs. Stuff ultimately means less to us than happy memories so get out there and make some together.
Go Non Toxic – Perfumes, flowers, bubble bath, lotions… all the mainstream stuff is smelly and potentially toxic. No, seriously. Valentine’s is no time to expose the loves of our lives to dangerous chemicals! If you want to get your partner something along these lines go for natural, organic ingredients. Check out Juice Beauty, Pangea, and your local Whole Foods for some better options. You might also want to try love themed essential oils for a healthier “scent”.
For kids skip the toxic nail polish and lip balms, there are much better options. HoneyBee Gardens and Piggy Paints have pink/red colors that are safe and perfect for Valentine’s. Looking for USDA Certified Organic Lip Balm? Try All The Better To Kiss You With.
Flower Power – Flowers should also be grown without chemicals if you have to have them. A better option would be decorative blooming branches so that they can be used all year long. You could go also with a houseplant that will clean your indoor air and decorate your home year round. A lucky bamboo plant is a nice option for loved ones. Also a Feng Shui Tree is a lovely twist on the flowers/plants theme.
Healthier Sweet Stuff – For chocolate go Fair Trade, organic, dark (70% cacao and above), and raw if you can swing it. The stuff they sell in the Valentine’s isle at your local grocery is CRAP. Don’t eat and don’t gift it. Try Buddha Chocolate, my new personal favorite! Another good option is Equal Exchange chocolate bars. Both offer salty, dark chocolate that is ethical and to die for. Gnosis chocolate is certified raw, vegan, organic, and kosher.
We may decide to forgo candy altogether and take the family out for local artisan ice cream made with cream from grass fed cows. I LOVE our local foods community here in Ohio!
Give Greener Cards – You can really send clever messages inside e-cards so if you can go that route, do it. While getting a physical card is always fun, we end up with feeling as though we have to keep it and do we even look at it the other 364 days of the year?
For kids you can always buy recycled Valentine’s Day cards or make your own with recycled materials for your own kids and for them to pass out at school. You could even save valentines from previous years and reuse them. Who will know? If your kids insist on giving out treats, stick a Valentine’s smencil or a Yummy Earth Lollipop to the recycled valentines.
Go Vintage – It’s green to reuse old stuff so finding a vintage gift for your sweetie is totally earth friendly. Perhaps the wife would like some vintage Pyrex or Fire King mugs. The hubby might enjoy antique fishing lures or a well loved tackle box. Kids’ stuff isn’t always safe when it is old so perhaps some vintage inspired toys like these wooden sailboats or a rag doll.
Hopefully this post gives you some eco ideas for Valentine’s Day and beyond.