How to Have a More Sustainable Valentine's Day
No sooner have the Christmas Holidays finished and the shops have started filling up with Valentine’s gifts and cards. Did you know that according to the Greeting Card Association, UK shoppers bought 18.7 million Valentine’s cards in 2016.
Valentine’s Day or Saint Valentine’s Day as it’s also known is celebrated around the World on the 14th February. It originated as a Christian feast day for two saints named Valentinus and it wasn’t until the 14th Century that it became associated with love and romance when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
[“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]
Today it seems to have become a very commercial affair but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still celebrate it. We just need to take a simpler more personal approach because it’s always nice to show people how much we love them, which obviously shouldn’t just be restricted to Valentine’s Day.
So, here’s my guide on how to have a more sustainable Valentine’s Day.
ideas for a more sustainable Valentine's Day
Showing someone you love them should be personal and fun but that shouldn’t stop you doing it more sustainably
Keep it Simple with a Handwritten Note
There’s really no need to rush out and buy a commercial Valentine’s Day card when a small handwritten note would mean so much more to the person receiving it.
You could write the note on a piece of paper, a pretty postcard or even a handmade card from somewhere like Etsy. I love these Plantable Seed Cards.
However, the actual card doesn’t really matter it’s the words you write on it that are important.
A great way to buy a gift for someone is to buy them an Experience as it will be something that will not only be fun but it will also make lasting memories.
There are so many experience days that you can buy now and they’re a great way to give someone a great present that they will enjoy without any waste.
I love wildlife and I love photography so I’d love to go on the Photography Days at Port Lympne
There are lots of companies organising experience days from Baking to Rock Climbing and they’re available to suit any age, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Or if you the person you are buying for enjoys the Theatre you can buy Theatre Tokens rather than tickets to a specific show. It’s just a case of choosing the right one for the person you’re giving the gift to.
Buy Sustainable Flowers or Plants
One of the most popular gifts for Valentine’s is a bouquet of flowers but they’re not usually the most sustainable or green option.
The majority of flowers sold in the UK are imported from abroad where they are grown mainly in energy-intensive heated greenhouses, resulting in a high carbon footprint.
However, there are alternatives. You can choose a more eco friendly, sustainable option buy buying locally grown in season flowers without any plastic packaging. The choice of locally grown flowers in season in February is quite limited so a house plant would make a great alternative.
A Jar of promises
Why not fill a jar with small notes of something you promise to do and let the person you’re giving it to choose one a week. The notes could be anything you choose from going for a walk together to you promising to cook a meal at home or making breakfast in bed.
The list of possibilities is endless and totally personal.
Zero Waste Starter Kit
If you would like to give someone a gift who’s just starting out on their Zero Waste journey you could give them a Zero Waste Starter Kit to help them eliminate single use plastics and be more sustainable.
I’ve got some boxes that I’ve put together in my TMG Zero Waste Shop and also some Gift Boxes.
Buy Unpackaged Gifts or Zero Waste Friendly Packaging
Celebrating Valentine’s Day more sustainably is really just about being a mindful consumer and thinking about what you’re buying.
Is it something that the person receiving will find useful? Think about what it’s made from, is the packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable?
You should be looking for gifts that are unpackaged or if they do have packaging then it should be minimal and preferably reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Handmade soaps, books, a nice woollen throw or antique jewellery (pre-loved is a great way to be sustainable) all make lovely presents.
I still love holding a real book to read and I love browsing in book shops. If you want to buy a book as a gift but don’t have time to go to a book shop you can still support independent book stores by buying online from Hive. This is what Hive has to say:
We give independent bookshops a chance to be seen online. We hope it will help them to reach new and different customers. We help them benefit from the sale of all kinds of stuff.
A Meal for Two
What better way to spend time with a loved one, than by sharing a meal together.
There’s nothing nicer than going out to a restaurant to enjoy a meal cooked by someone else. And, you can make sure it’s a more sustainable option by choosing a restaurant that uses locally grown in season produce. One of our favourite local restaurants is Five Little Pigs, Wallingford. They cook wonderful local produce and have a big focus on sustainability
Many businesses and restaurants claim to be sustainable, but what does that really mean? ‘Sustainability’ is a particularly hazy term- difficult to define, but all too easy to bandy about. To us, it means three things: supporting local producers, cooking and eating seasonally, and reducing waste.
Five Little Pigs
I hope you have a lovely fun sustainable Valentine’s Day however you choose to celebrate it.