By Sayward Rebhal, Networx
For the longest time I was in the "anti-Valentine" camp. "It's such a silly Hallmark holiday", I would say. I was also a Christmas Grinch and I've been known to throw zombie parties for Easter. So rebellious, right? But, well, maybe I've gone soft in my old age. Because somewhere along the line, I came to this conclusion: Being a grown-up is already so serious! Any reason to celebrate is a good enough reason for me.
And so now I embrace all the holidays. Even the most random ones, and even the very cheesiest ones. Arbor Day? I'm on it! Solstice parade? Sign me up! St Patty's? Get me a green microbrew! And Valentine's Day, in all of its roses and chocolates and pink-painted splendor. I like to take these traditional holidays and turn them on their heads,reclaim them (if you will) and morph them into my own. Which means: GREEN MAKEOVER! Here are 10 eco-fabulous Valentine's Day gifts:
1. Fair Trade ChocolateDagoba Chocolate is fair trade chocolate. We'll take it!
Dagoba Chocolate is fair trade chocolate. We'll take it!
Obviously, Saint Valentine himself was a chocolate connoisseur (I totally made that up). But unfortunately, chocolate production is a highly political issue; a global problem. The long and the short of it is thus: If your chocolate doesn't say "Fair Trade", then it WAS made using slave labor. Period. Luckily, fair trade-certified chocolate is widely available, in places such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, gourmet grocers, health food shops, and of course, online. Here's a comprehensive list of slave-free chocolate companies.
2. A Bubble Bath and an Organic Cotton BathrobeOrganic, fair-trade bathrobe from Branch Home. Cozy, no?
Organic, fair-trade bathrobe from Branch Home. Cozy, no?
Now that you've got your chocolate basics covered, let's move along to the better part of Valentine's Day. I'm talking about a relaxing soak in the hot tub or bubble bath (organic champagne optional!), and surprising your lover afterwards with this super-soft, all-organic, fair trade terry cloth robe.
3. A Home-Cooked MealNothing says loving like raw vegan sushi. [ilovemypit/Flickr]
Nothing says loving like raw vegan sushi. [ilovemypit/Flickr]
An easy way to "greenify" your Valentine's Day is to eliminate shipping and driving altogether. For example, instead of buying treats made elsewhere, why not make them yourself? A decadent dessert, a 3-course dinner under your own roof or a simple breakfast in bed are all easy and personal ways to say "I love you". Bonus points for using locally grown and organic ingredients!
4. Miniature Herb GardenThe miniature herb garden by Toysmith [via Amazon.com]
The miniature herb garden by Toysmith [via Amazon.com]
Gardeners in Dallas and other southern climates are lucky -- they can harvest for more of the year. For cold-climate dwellers, this miniature herb garden would make an absolutely adorable gift. It even comes with organic soil! And nothing is more "local" than food grown in your own kitchen.
5. Show Your Love a Good TimeHave you ever gone to a contra dance? [Bill Ward's Brickpile/Flickr]
Have you ever gone to a contra dance? [Bill Ward's Brickpile/Flickr]
Some of the best gifts of all are naturally eco-friendly, because they don't require manufacturing and they don't come in a package. That's because they're not "things" at all - they're experiences! How about setting your sweetheart up with a luxury massage, signing up for couples swing dancing lessons or securing tickets to a local show? My good friends just got married and we gifted them with year-long passes to the art museum. Anything you can imagine!
6. Do a Good Deed or Make a Donation
In that same vein, instead of giving an experience, you can always "give" a good deed. Try donating to an important charity in the name of someone you love. It's a simple gift that's made out of pure love.
7. Give the Gift of KitchenwareNow we're talking! Lodge cast iron cookware makes a great V-day gift. Really.
Now we're talking! Lodge cast iron cookware makes a great V-day gift. Really.
For the food-lover, eco-friendly and American-made cast iron cookware may not scream "romance", but it sure says "awesome". I got a pan for Christmas this year and I literally squealed. Another option is a Soda Stream home carbonation machine. The plastic bottles you'll keep out of the landfill makes this an incredibly green gift idea. And it's a great option for somebody with kids!
8. Delicious and Organic SoapsSoap Walla soap...looks good enough to eat. [via Etsy]
Soap Walla soap...looks good enough to eat. [via Etsy]
For the bath-lover, look no farther than the gourmet grooming products offered by Soap Walla. Organic, handmade, and completely cruelty-free, these are hands down my favorite soaps, bath salts, and other face and beauty products.
9. Flirty Soy CandlesSoy candles by A Scent of Scandal are perfect for the person who has everything.
Soy candles by A Scent of Scandal are perfect for the person who has everything.
You can never go wrong with a simple, elegant , and oh-so-romantic fancy candle. Scent Of Scandal offers hand-poured vegan soy candles in a variety of smells with sinfully delightful names. Rawr!
10. Hit the ThriftFind the perfect Valentine's Day gift at your local thrift shop.
Find the perfect Valentine's Day gift at your local thrift shop.
And finally, there's nothing greener than secondhand, so reduce and recycle by buying used! A precious antique or a vintage treasure is so much more personal than a mass-produced item, anyway.