creative Valentine's Day

The Nickel Pincher: Plan Now for Green, Creative Valentine's Day Gifts

Don't grab a box of stale chocolate at the last minute; get creative to show how much you care.

By Jean Nick

The Nickel Pincher: Plan Now for Green, Creative Valentine's Day Gifts

Consider giving wildflower seeds to plant, instead of flowers that are already cut.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Whether you think Valentine's Day is the most romantic of holidays, or an annual rite invented by greeting-card companies to unload excess stock of pink paper, the sight of all those cupids can help bring you out of your winter doldrums and add a little chocolate-covered joy to your—and your significant other's—life. The holiday's more than a week away, which mean's there's time to plan something more special than simply picking up a gaudy box of stale chocolate next week (hey, they were stocking the shelves with them the day after Christmas. How fresh can they be?). So this year, show you care with some creative Valentine's Day gifts. These suggestions are as sweet for the planet as they are for your sweetheart.

First, let's start with the basics:

The Card: Valentine’s Day is the number two holiday for greeting-card sales (Christmas is first), and while I’m a big fan of e-cards, a handwritten note does seem more appropriate for this holiday. Look for a card printed on recycled paper, or on paper embedded with wildflower seeds that you can plant. Or handwrite a love letter (you can find plenty of love poems online if you have writer’s block) on a nice sheet of recycled paper, and present it rolled up and tied with a reusable ribbon.

The Candy: Cupid’s day comes in at number three for candy sales, and I must admit I’d be a tad miffed if I didn’t get a few bites—just a few bites—of really good dark chocolate. Choose organic and fair-trade products to reduce their impact (a few brands include Divine Chocolate, Theo's, and Equal Exchange), and opt for a modest amount of something really good, rather than a huge box of mediocre treats. Trust me guys—bigger is rarely better here.

The Flowers: Commercial cut flowers are grown with lots of toxic chemicals in far-off places (nasty ecofootprint). Since fresh-cut local flowers are out of season this time of year in most places, look for locally grown flowering plants (which will last longer anyway). If it just has to be roses, buy from an online retailer that sells organically grown flowers that comply with fair-trade standards, such as Organic Bouquet or California Organic Flowers. If your sweetie gardens, some packets of flower seeds or a gift certificate to a local or a mail-order nursery would be a delightful twist.

Planning something on a grander scale? Keep reading…


Published on: February 3, 2010

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