10 Ways to Be a Green Valentine
Valentine’s Day is for lovers – and for people who love Nature, too! Here are a few natural ways to celebrate your special someone, with thanks to Fresh Flowers for sponsoring this post.
Candles – Choose candles made from beeswax or soy as opposed to petroleum-based paraffin. They’ll burn cleaner and smoke less. I prefer those that are fragrance-free or scented with plant-based oils, such as essence of lavender, rose or orange blossom, rather than synthetic fragrances and perfumes that can trigger allergic reactions.
Chocolate – Enjoy the abundance of organic, Fair Trade chocolates available, including truffles, bars, drops, powdered cocoa and even ice cream. Look for them online, in neighborhood markets, or at specialty shoppes.
Flowers, Plants and Bulbs – As much as possible, opt for plants that are locally grown using no or minimum pesticides. Potted houseplants will last longer than cut flowers; small flowering bushes like azaleas and mums may be transplanted outside when the weather permits. Potted Phalaenopsis orchids (pictured lef) that last for several months offer another beautiful option. A set of narcissus bulbs already set in a beautiful bowl or vase will provide several months of pleasure, as well.
Cards – Look for cards made from recycled paper. Or, make your own from photographs, recipe cards, a magazine collage, or tickets to a special event you’re planning. E-cards are waste- and paper-free and can be viewed many times over.
Wine – Grapes can be one of the most pesticide-intensive crops grown. That’s why organic vineyards and those managed biodynamically make such a difference. Whether you prefer red or white, cabernet or chardonnay, you should be able to find an organic bottle.
Food - We prefer eating in to dining out so we can maintain the traditions we started years ago. Our day begins with a Valentine’s breakfast of whole-grain pancakes made in the shape of a heart, then topped with organic strawberries or raspberries (usually bought frozen since fresh organic berries aren’t available where we live this time of year) and outlined with whipped cream. If I’ve been really organized, I’ve already made shortbread cookies cut out with a heart-shaped cutter. I keep a heart-shaped cake pan on hand for dessert, usually, a frosted chocolate cake. My farmers market operates through the winter, so I can get organic greens, free-range eggs, pasture-raised chickens, and artisanal cheese for a yummy candle-lit dinner.
Buy vintage – We don’t buy gifts on Valentine’s Day. But for those who do, vintage boutiques are a good place to browse. My local shop sells silky lingerie, lovely jewelry, fun and funky hats and belts, interesting books, and many other items that can be re-used for a low-key but appreciated gift.
Give the gift of time – The people who love me best know what I enjoy most: time. I much prefer two hours of help in the garden or a leisurely walk in the woods with someone I love over just about anything else.
Tone down expectations for “stuff.” -- As I mentioned above, as a family, we’ve decided that, contrary to what advertisers encourage, most holidays are meaningful enough without adding the burden of gift-giving. Does every holiday have to promote consumption? Not in our house.
Keep it simple. -- You probably don’t need to “go all out” to make your loved one feel special. A beautifully framed photo of the two of you, a keepsake that accrues meaning over time, a thoughtful meal, a favorite poem, a single rose can say as much as anything far more elaborate. This is one of those holidays where “it’s the thought that counts” actually rings true.
Happy Valentine's Day to you and those you love!
Disclaimer: This Valentine's Day post was made possible with support from Fresh Flowers, who asked me to write about ways you can be eco-friendly on Valentine's Day and still enjoy flowers. Images courtesy of Fresh Flowers.com.au.