Your guide to an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

Let’s be honest: Valentine’s Day has fallen out of favour recently, with many disregarding the holiday altogether. I completely understand and appreciate this sentiment. At the same time, it’s a long winter—especially with the pandemic! It can be refreshing to have little things to look forward to and add some excitement to the day-to-day, even if it’s a rather frivolous holiday. And I firmly believe that you can give gifts that are sustainable and can help give back to the community. Here are a few ideas.

The classics: chocolate, flowers, and a card

Really, there’s nothing wrong with going this route. However, opt for better, more ethical versions of these traditional choices.

For chocolate, choose organic and Fair Trade. For flowers, choose locally grown blooms, or Fair Trade if possible. You can also mix it up a bit by buying your loved ones a local flower delivery service or instead giving a potted plant or seeds for the garden come springtime.

For a card, support a local designer/illustrator by buying their work, or put some scraps to use and make your own. (Here’s a great chance to get your kids involved, as anything they make will be automatically cute!)

Get creative

Why not step it up a notch? Try out one of these ideas if you’re looking for a more original idea.

For your partner

Have a “theme” weekend. (This year, if you’re Canadian, Valentine’s Day falls on a long weekend, making it even more perfect for this idea!) What’s something you and your significant other are both interested in? Brainstorm ideas and create a fun weekend based around it. Granted, this idea isn’t necessarily specific to Valentine’s Day, so feel free to use it all year long!

Maybe you’ve both wanted to watch some classic black-and-white movies but never got around to it, so you can create an old-fashioned movie marathon, complete with air-popped popcorn. Of course, this can involve the whole family, too. Maybe the family would love learning about dinosaurs, so you can watch dinosaur documentaries and do a “dinosaur dig” in the backyard or sandbox. Have fun with it, and embrace the silliness of it!

For your child

Kids love bath time, so why not make it even more exciting with fizzy bath bombs, bubble bars, or fun soaps? There are tons of low-waste and/or natural options to choose from. You can have the kids choose their own, or surprise them.

Another fun idea is to bake a cake or cupcakes together, and have them decorate to their hearts’ content. Don’t worry if it gets messy or doesn’t look perfect—it’s the experience that matters!

For your BFF

Treat your girlfriends with a sugar scrub or lip balm, made with love by you! These DIYs are quite easy and enjoyable to make, and easy to customize with their favourite scents. Add a little gift tag with the ingredients labelled and you’re good to go!

For your mom

Moms always say they don’t want any gifts, don’t they? But I still think that a sweet and thoughtful gift is appreciated. When in doubt, I like to give edible gifts, like homemade granola, accompanied by a fancy jam or honey by a local artisan.

For your neighbours/community

If safe to do so with COVID-19 restrictions, consider facilitating a cookie or card swap with some neighbours or other people in the community. It can be a low-waste and fun way to spread some cheer and connect with those you care about. Maybe the kids can drop cards in loved ones’ mailboxes. Or, with a group of friends/family members, do a card exchange in which everyone gets a secret name to mail a card to as a surprise!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

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