A Sustainable Valentine's


If Valentine's Day makes you antsy, don't fret: the title of this post might just as well be "Keep It Simple." Thinking of the holiday as a chance to celebrate the people you love a little bit more than usual, instead of running around finding the perfect gift, can help it stay relaxed and enjoyable. With that in mind, I've compiled a few ideas for ways to celebrate your significant other/bff/mom/roomie. Because they focus more on things to do than on things to own, they're all zero waste, low impact ideas. (Environmental footprints? Not so romantic). So, here goes:

Make a card from recycled paper... or use Paperless Post. A homemade card pulled together from materials you have lying around the house (brown parcel paper, cutouts from past holiday cards, photos) with a sweet note inside is always welcome. Or, go paperless and choose a sweet e-card from Paperless Post, a website that helps you send an online note that is just as gorgeous as a paper one (see the examples above if you believe that it is, in fact, impossible for an e-card to be chic).

Go out to dinner... or make one at home. This tip is hardly revolutionary, but I think dinner for two is a perfect stand-in for a more elaborate gift. The chance to take a break from your normally hectic schedule and sit across the table from someone you love gets at the heart of the holiday - and, of course, your heart as well! To avoid the holiday rush of reservations, venture to a low-key neighborhood joint, or simply work together to cook a meal you've both been wanting to try.

Gift a plant... or arrange local foliage. Flowers are gorgeous, but it's sad when they start to fade after a few days - possibly not the best way to signal your enduring love. A potted plant, on the other hand, will sit on his or her windowsill for years, quietly saying "Remember how thoughtful I was that one Valentine's Day? Remember?" It is quite literally a gift that keeps on giving - try an air filtering plant or some kitchen herbs, both of which are useful as well as beautiful. One note to consider here is your significant other's actual tolerance for taking care of plants - if he or she isn't the type to enjoy watering and trimming it, your thoughtful present may end up as neglected and unwanted as a fish won at a carnival. If that's case, an arrangement of local foliage is a low-impact way to give the gift of greenery. Although branches tend to be bare this year in many parts of the world, if you venture outdoors with a creative eye you're sure to find something that can be turned into a wreath, added to a vase, or arranged on the table with a card from you. It's February - goodness knows we could all use a little nature in our homes this time of year.

Host a tea party for your friends... or just tea for two. Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year, so it's a good opportunity to have your gal pals over for an afternoon tea as a way to celebrate them and your friendship (as a side note, my coworkers make fun of me for using the phrase "gal pals"... but I stand by it. Gal pals forever!). With some finger food (crudites, sandwiches, snacks bought from the bulk aisle, and a few homemade sweets) and several kinds of loose leaf tea to choose from, you can quickly pull together a simple bash where everyone can chat and catch up. Or, as a small gesture to start or end the day on a sweet note, bring your loved one a cup of warm tea in bed - it's a low-key, fail-safe way to show thoughtfulness and love.

How do you usually celebrate Valentine's Day? What are you up to this year - any ideas to share? Would love to hear! Happy February, friends.

Images via Paperless Post.