Valentine’s Day can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but it shouldn’t mean hastily bought gifts that are ultimately forgettable and a waste of time and money. Here are 18 sustainable gifts for Valentine’s Day that feel good and do good. Have fun!
Share an Experience
A thoughtful experience is a gift that keeps on giving. Choosing an activity that you both enjoy will give you both a story to look back on for years to come. Good memories are not single-use.
- Tickets to a live performance. Secure good seats to an upcoming music gig, comedy night, or theatre show. If it’s not going to be on or around Valentine’s Day find a creative way to present the tickets
- Go on a food or drink tour. Whet their appetite by sampling street food at an outdoor market, or go on a tour around their favourite brewery/distillery. For a personal touch, create a tour of places special to you both have a little something at each stop.
- Couples massage. Take the stress out of Valentine’s Day literally and share a couples massage or spend a few hours at a local spa getting looked after. Consider the type of treatment and what products are used so you can avoid producing lots of waste. Feel free to ask the staff about this if you’re unsure
Make it Personal
Personalised gifts are often the most rewarding. But it’s not about engraving the person’s initials onto a novelty item that they may or may not use for long, it’s about using a bit of creativity and considering what they mean to you. A little thought can go a long way.
- Personalised word search. Pick a handful of words or phrases that mean something to you both and draw up a simple word search with your names in the middle. Print it out on some sustainable paper and put it in a nice wooden frame
- Jar of love. Reuse a large jar or glass vase and fill it with small slips of paper written with reasons why you love them, why they’re a great person, or fond memories you have with them. Encourage them to keep it somewhere that can be seen every day, and if they’re feeling down they can dip in and read a few
- Personalised voucher. Get some sustainable paper and write a personalised voucher for something that shows you care, it could be for a number of back rubs, taking care of something they’re normally obliged to, or a redeemable IOU that they will appreciate
- Photo book or collage. Millions of photos are uploaded onto social media every day, and millions more are kept on phones and cameras hardly to be seen again. They can unlock great memories of places visited, food eaten and fun activities, so do them justice. Pick a few based on a theme or time period and make a photo book or miniature collage for them to look over and cherish
- Scavenger hunt. Write some clues on slips of paper that lead them to different locations. The final clue will lead them to a meaningful place or a gift for them. This can be fun wherever it happens or wherever it ends up. Take your time with the clues and use in-jokes or references for a personal touch
Homemade and Heartfelt
Staying in on Valentine’s Day can make for a nice change of pace and means you can avoid noisy crowds, over-priced meals, and tacky Valentine-centric spending. Instead, get into something comfortable, settle in, and enjoy.
- Gifts hampers are great for presenting a collection of thoughtful and sustainable gifts. They can be dressed with reusable or repurposed materials and the hamper can be reused again and again
- Homemade romantic meal. You don’t have to be a pro to be a boss in the kitchen. Set some time aside or prepare what you can the day before so that you can bring it all together with minimal stress. Then top off with…
- Homemade sexy cocktails. Using a few basic ingredients like fresh fruit and juices you can make simple and sexy cocktails at home. Try to incorporate a few favourite flavours and don’t be afraid to experiment a little
Nurture with Nature
A big bouquet of flowers, often wrapped in plastic, has long been iconic of Valentine’s Day gift-giving. Rather odd given that most end up wilted and in the bin after just a week at the most. Instead, try a more natural gift with a positive impact and far longer life.
- Give a potted plant rather than cut flowers. Not only do potted plants last longer than cut flower, they also reduce plastic waste and are more effective at filtering out pollution and chemicals in the air
- Sponsor an animal through an animal or wildlife charity and help save an endangered species or recovering animal population
- Adopt a tree or habitat. This can be in your local area or somewhere further afield and goes towards the protection of natural environments and the homes of their native animals
Choose a Sustainable Supplier
If you are still tempted to go down a more traditional route there is no shortage of suppliers offering more sustainable options.
- Valentine’s Day Card. If you don’t want to make a personalised card, choose one made using sustainably sourced, recyclable, compostable or event plantable materials
- Chocolate. Perhaps the most iconic Valentine’s Day gift of them all, chocolate can be guilt-free with sustainably and ethically sourced options available. Avoid plastic-wrapped chocolate and go for paper or foil instead
- Jewellery. It’s often difficult to trace the sustainability of a piece of jewellery, but you can reduce the environmental impact by buying second-hand or finding a hidden treasure at a local craft market. If you want an unworn piece, look for a responsible seller like those that use salvaged gold and silver from old electronics
- Lingerie/Underwear. We spend the majority of our time with underwear on, so it’s only right they should be a worthwhile investment. Not cheap or questionably made. For a lady, you can arrange a professional fitting and get some pieces that properly match her shape and make her feel good. Look for materials that are sustainable as well as being comfortable and durable. Like a favourite t-shirt or pair of jeans, these will last ages and keep them comfortable whatever you get up to