Roses are red, violets are blue,
Let’s not poison the planet when we say I love you!
14 ways to share your love with an Eco-Friendly Valentine
Love is in the air! Along with gifts, treats, and all things lovely, it’s also the perfect time to make sure we’re caring for ourselves, our lovers, and our planet with eco-friendly ways to celebrate. I hope these ideas spark your imagination. Get creative!
- Modernize the traditional Valentine’s card
Did you know there are approximately 1 billion cards sent every Valentine’s Day? With most of these cards ending up in a landfill, it’s really important to choose wisely if you must send a card. Sending an e-card is a great way to lower your environmental impact and save some money, with a variety of websites out there offering this free service it’s a great choice. (Care2 is a great site for cards for all occasions. http://www.care2.com/ecards/ )Making your own cards out of recyclable materials in your home is a fantastic choice. If you’re not into the DIY scene, source out a local artist practicing eco-friendly and fair-trade ways, and purchase a card. With all the eco-friendly card options on the market, there is no excuse not to use one! If you’re celebrating with a group, such as the kids’ classmates, or the gang in the office, then bake up some heart shaped Valentines and eat them up!
- Read the ingredient labels on Valentine’s chocolate & candies
With more than 50% of Canadians planning to give chocolate and candies to their loved ones, be sure you’re choosing products good for you and the planet. The chocolate industry is one of the biggest culprits for using pesticides, making is very important you’re buying organic. Choosing a dark chocolate of 70% or more is the best choice for your health, as dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. If your lover is candy crazy, the best things you can do is read the ingredient list before buying anything. Opt for candies free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and trans fats!
- Roses are red, and often not green
Those fresh cut flowers that we all love to give and receive take a real toll on our health and environment. The mainstream flower industry has become very corrupt over the years, resulting in frightening flower farms. These farms use scary production practices with an abundance of toxic chemicals, not to mention the excessive amount of water and precious resources they consume. Most farms practice un-fair labor, affecting women the worst. Giving flowers is a beautiful idea, so long as you’re being an eco-conscious consumer. Opt to buy organic flowers that are in season from your local farmers market or natural food store. Giving potted flowers or plants is an even better choice, as they last longer and use less packaging. Think “100 mile diet” with your flowers as well as your food whenever possible.
- “Green” your glow with beeswax candles
Candles make for a great romantic gift, and come in a variety of scents, colors and sizes. We often light candles to set the mood or to relax, but do we ever think about what we’re burning or inhaling while doing so? The most commonly used candles are paraffin candles; the most toxic and dangerous candles to burn. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum, a know carcinogen. Other chemicals found in paraffin are acrolein, benzene, ethanol, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, toluene, styrene, benzene, ethyl benzene, naphthalene, benzaldehyde, didecyl phthalate, and acetone. Then there’s the uncertainty of not knowing if there’s lead in the wick you’re burning, as the candle companies don’t disclose that information. The eco-friendly choice for candles and the green star award goes to beeswax candles. Beeswax candles are from a sustainable source, and last three times longer than paraffin. They are healthy and smell amazing. When purchasing beeswax candles, check the label to be sure they are 100% beeswax. I was considering adding soy candles to the list of eco-friendly candles, but since most if not all soy is now genetically modified, best to skip those and stick with the “bees knees”.
- The most popular Valentine’s treat? A night on the town!
According to Susan Ward from About.com, “When asked what they hoped to receive for Valentine’s Day, both men and women (62%) said a night on the town was their preferred gift.” Give your lover what they really want, and take them out! Consider going for a romantic dinner followed by a walk along the seawall or park. Opt for a restaurant using organic and free-range meats and/or ocean-wise seafood. This can be a very simple and affordable gift, that requires little planning.
- Two nights are better than one! Plan a Valentine’s weekend getaway
If you have the time freedom to zip out of town, take the opportunity to woo your loved one and enjoy some time together. Choose a location close to home to help lower your environmental impact and costs. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a natural setting, opt to get in touch with nature and hit-up a bed and breakfast in the mountains or along the beach. Bed and breakfasts are often run by families and use A LOT less resources and energy than a hotel or resort. They are also very romantic.
- Sooth away stress with a sensual Valentine’s massage
Pamper your loved one this Valentines Day with a massage. Giving the massage yourself makes the gift more special and will save you money. You can easily make your own massage oil at home; all you need is base oil, essential oils and a jar. Consider grape seed oil or almond oil for a base, and essential oils like lavender or rose. Be sure to mix the oils together before applying to the skin, as essential oils can be harsh on skin if applied directly. When you’ve got your oil made, set the mood by lighting your beeswax candles and playing relaxing music. Consider putting a towel underneath your loved one so you don’t get oils on your sheets, as they can be hard to wash out. All thumbs? There are lots of instructions online to get you started.
- Share some suds with a Valentine’s bath
Planning a romantic Valentine’s bath for 2 requires little work, and can be a lot of fun!
To set the mood, make sure you first clean the bathroom and tub. Pick up some organic roses and sprinkle the fresh petals in the bath; the rose is not only a sign of love, but also smells amazing. Light some beeswax candles and dim the lights, and if you’re a wine lover, have a bottle of it close by with some glasses. If you decide to go for a bubble bath, pick a product free of parabens and toxic chemicals. For an extra special treat, surprise your lover with new bath robes when you get out of the bath!
- Create memories, not garbage
Vancouver’s “Create memories, not garbage” campaign created awareness about reducing garbage and creating memories over the Christmas season. I think this is good advice year-round. Plan an exciting outing with your loved one this Valentine’s, and make new memories! Choose a seasonal activity like outdoor ice skating or snowshoeing, and get outdoors to enjoy all Mother Nature has to offer. If you don’t have the bountiful nature outside your door to explore, try learning something new like salsa dancing or a raw foods cooking class. Group deal websites like Groupon offer great deals on a variety of fun things to try. Be sure to take photos on your date that you can frame/post/share at a later time.
- Homemade Valentines from the heart
Making your Valentine a gift is a personable and caring way to show your love. If your lover is a cook, try making them homemade oil with herbs and spices. If they love long baths, give them a bath basket full of goodies you make! If you’re a crafty person then you’ll enjoy making these gifts as much as your Valentine will enjoy receiving them!
- Eco-friendly fragrances
Perfume is a very popular gift men like to give on Valentines Day. If you so choose to give perfume this Valentines Day make sure the perfume you buy is eco-friendly and safe. Before gifting perfume, try and find out if your lover uses fragrances and if she has a favorite scent. The brands you will find in the drug store or at cosmetic counters in large chains are full of toxic chemicals and very hazardous to your health. There are some fantastic natural perfumeries out there, but you will most likely have to order them online. If you live near a Whole Foods, they carry a great line of both solid and spray perfumes that are eco-friendly.
- Better bling
Jewelry can make a great Valentines Day gift for both men and women. A traditional heart shaped pendant or crystal ring are nice, but make sure you know where the jewelry is made, and under what conditions. By now I’m sure we’re all familiar with Blood Diamonds, and want to do everything we can to avoid purchasing them. A great choice for jewelry giving is to find a local jewelry maker, and select a piece or two to gift. That way you will know who made them and be able to ask any questions you have regarding quality and manufacturing directly to the artist. Estate jewelry can provide unique and antique pieces, and you can also have gems redesigned into new settings which reflect your tastes and re-purpose existing metals and gem stones.
- The perfect gift for him
Putting together your man’s favorite things makes a heartfelt Valentine’s gift that only you can give (who knows him better?). Some ideas are: artisan beers, books/magazines, homemade brownies, grooming products and maybe a watch or new wallet to top it off. If you man is a techno-dude, try and incorporate a techno gadget in there, making sure it’s eco-friendly and sustainable; not made inChina! Consider a Groupon for a fun adventure like rock-climbing.
- The perfect gift for her
Indulge her with one of the following eco-friendly gifts! A home cooked meal made with fresh organic ingredients is sure to please! Throw in her favorite wine and chocolate fondue for dessert and she will be over the moon! Gifting a day at the spa for the two of you to enjoy is a romantic option; Just be sure to check with the spa ahead of time to check if they use natural products free of toxic chemicals.
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