With Valentine’s Day coming up quickly, everyone’s in a rush trying to figure out last-minute gift ideas. However, many of those presents have a hefty impact on our environment. If you’re like many modern couples, both you and your partner probably have an eye on the environment.
So enjoy the holiday and keep the planet happy with these 14 tips for a more sustainable Valentine's Day.
1. Skip the flowers.
Most flowers are shipped in from warmer climates, especially during the depths of winter. So skip the flowers. They’re lovely, yes, but they also need a lot of care and they do, of course, die. If you have a partner who really loves flowers, then get them an actual plant instead. Even better, get one that’s native to your area. You can keep it inside until it’s time to plant, and then your gift sticks around for years.
2. Also, skip the chocolate.
Cocoa only grows in warm climates, and it’s one of the things that’s becoming more difficult to farm as climate change progresses. If you think flowers have a long way to travel, cocoa comes from even further away. Skip the chocolates this year and go for something a little different, such as a favorite childhood candy or a fruit parfait. If you must go with chocolate, get the fair-trade kind. They’re worth it.
3. Go vegetarian for your dinner date.
If there’s a vegetarian or vegan restaurant in your city, choose that option for a dinner date. Even better, try a vegan place. It’s probably something different than you’re used to, which makes it a little more exciting.
4. Better yet, cook at home.
If you’re bound and determined to have meat, cooking at home is your best bet. You can choose the meat you use, so you can pick a local, sustainable option instead of something that’s been shipped in from who-knows-where. You can also try an at-home vegetarian option.
Related Post: Top 5 Tips for Taking Up the Vegan Challenge
5. Make cards, don’t buy them.
If you’re the kind of couple that does cards, try making them. They don’t have to be fancy, but you can bet they’ll be more cherished than a Hallmark creation. They have great poems, but something mass-produced and store bought simply doesn’t mean as much. If you make your own, the worst-case scenario is that you come off looking adorably befuddled.
6. Try to make a present, too.
If you’re making a card, why not try your hand at a present? If you want to get really green, you can even try your hand at crafting an upcycled present. The cool thing about upcycling is that there are options for just about every skill level. If you’re new to it, you might not want to try making shelves, but you can certainly doctor up an old lamp into something new that your partner would love. Plus, since you can personalize it, you can be sure that it really is tailored specifically to them.
7. Skip the present and do something instead.
Long story short, experiences make us happier, not possessions. So instead of buying presents or flowers or chocolate, go do something. Even better, do something that neither one of you has done before. You could take a kickboxing class together, go stargazing or take a horseback riding lesson.
8. Make your date unusual.
There are tons of ways to make a date a bit unusual. Geocaching is a fun kind of scavenger hunt, recreating your first date can make a spark and visiting your town’s weird attractions can be a laugh for both of you.
9. Try volunteering.
Plan to spend your time giving back to others. There are a multitude of options available in every community, and it’s a really neat way to spend a date. It doesn’t just help those in need either, studies have shown that volunteering benefits everyone involved. It makes you happier, gives you a chance to meet new people and gives you something new to connect with your partner over. You never know, it might turn into a weekly adventure instead of just a once-a-year thing.
10. Do something for the environment.
Go plant a tree. Plan a garden. Pick up trash. All of these things get you outside, which might be difficult if the weather is cold. Afterwards you can come home, warm up a glass of wine and talk about what you did – something meaningful that makes an impact. Not only will it be a fun date, but it’ll also make you feel good and give you something new to bond over.
11. Support your local community.
Instead of going to a big chain restaurant or buying mass-produced merchandise, try going to a local mom-and-pop restaurant. You can also hit up the farmer's market to get some food to grill up at home. Intimidated by picking out cuts of meat? Here’s a helpful guide to help you get the cut you want.
12. Get crafty.
Instead of making a present for each other, make the crafting the present. If you’re both a little bit crafty, or even just enjoy using your hands, this can be a really cool Valentine’s idea. You can try almost anything from welding to painting, depending on what you need to get done.
13. Try going old school.
Go really old school, like back before electricity. Turn off the lights and have an entire evening without any electronics. Light candles, have dinner and play cards. Build a living room fort and play spin the bottle, which is even more fun if you have a few pets to kiss as well!
Related Post: A Survival Guide to Living Off-the-Grid
14. Just go.
Go out! Don’t have a plan, don’t take a car, don’t worry about the money or the fancy gifts. Take a walk, go to a park or stroll along the beach. Spend time talking and reconnecting with your partner.
No matter what you do for Valentine’s Day, try to keep in mind what’s really important, which is spending time with your loved one. Gifts won’t give you that, so try something a little more meaningful.
So how will you make your Valentine's Day more sustainable? Feel free to leave us a comment below!
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