Valentine's day is fast approaching. It hasn't been a "gifting" holiday for me, but rather a day to share an experience with my sweetheart, or a dear friend (like any other day). Last year, my boyfriend surprised me with a bouquet of wildflowers he picked, some champagne, and a delicious dinner. It's the thought that counts, not the stuff. Valentine's Day (like many of our holidays) is another day that perpetuates consumerism. It's possible to give without purchasing something that will generate trash or is packaged in plastic.
I'd like to share with you some of the ways I appreciate my loved ones without producing any trash, not just on Valentine's Day, but on any day!
A long walk or hike. This is possibly my favorite activity, especially before sunset. I'm fortunate to live a few blocks from the ocean-- not in a Mansion! I live in a little one bedroom cottage that eats my paychecks for breakfast. My sweetheart (we live together), often invites me to take an evening stroll. We walk down to the beach to watch the sunset. Sometimes we stop for ice cream! This simple activity is relaxing, trash free, and it feels good to breathe fresh air and hold hands with the one I love.
Candle lit dinner: Turn off the lights and turn up the romance by lighting a few candles to pair with a homemade dinner, maybe some wine, and a sumptuous dessert. Food costs money--but we have to eat! It's possible to shop zero waste for food stuffs.
Play a board game: Share a simple activity with your loved one or friends that doesn't cost anything and is fun!
Listen to a new album together: My sweetheart and I both love to listen to music, and we often look for new artists. We listen to an album while having a glass of wine (me), cooking dinner, or playing a hand of cards!
A plant: If giving cut flowers is your thing, think about giving seeds to plant flowers instead, or giving a house plant that cleans the air and can be enjoyed for more than just one day!
Bake something sweet! Cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, chocolates, etc.... Sweeten up the day with a little treat. Anything I could ever need for baking I am able (so fortunate) to purchase in bulk.
Adventure! Maybe you have a little dough to spend--nothing wrong with that, and you want to gift an experience. Sky diving, wine tasting, checking out a museum, going to see a movie, going out for dinner at a new restaurant, are all exciting things to do in a day.
A sweet note: For my 24th birthday (i'm now 25), my boyfriend used a piece of recycled paper (he's so smart) to write me a list of 24 things that he loved about me. He took me to lunch in the city and read me the list. It was the best gift ever, and it didn't cost a thing! And something like this would totally work for Valentine's day as well.
I'm very happy to say that for me Valentine's Day is like every other day of the year--I experience kindness and love every single day from my boyfriend, family, friends, and community-- thank you. Love yourself so that you can in turn love others.
Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!