It’s that time again…
Not content to let a single month pass without a commercialized holiday, the Hallmark industrial complex has given us Valentine’s Day, a time when men and women alike are somehow guilted into purchasing an alarming amount of flowers, chocolates and jewelry for their loved ones.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with surprising your sweetie with an unexpected expression of affection. It’s just the fake, plastic, pink and red crap that gets my blood boiling. Now that Valentine’s Day has been co-opted by consumerism, it’s more ugly than sweet. The National Retail Federation tells us that the average person shells out $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise. Insanity! And how much of that stuff do you think ends up in the trash can before Valentine’s Day rolls around again? Lots.
To have a Valentine’s Day that’s more full of love than waste takes a little creativity and planning, but it’s not hard. Taking the time to think about the impact of your Valentine’s celebrations is guaranteed to result in genuine emotion, precious memories and the satisfaction that you’ve created a special day without harming the planet. Here are some ideas to get you started!
DIY Cards & Gifts
Really want to wow your Valentine? Make them a card instead of just picking one up at the store. Don’t worry if you’re not crafty or a poet. Almost any material can be upcycled into an adorable Valentine. All you need is scissors, some paste, and the ability to trace a heart. Check out Inhabitots’ wow-worthy DIY Valentine ideas made out of everything from playing cards to vegetable scraps! And why stop at the card? Check out 5 Handmade Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day and 10 Handmade Valentine’s Gifts for Him (guys are always harder).
And if you just don’t have the time for DIY anything, an e-card can be a great way to send a quick “I’m thinking of you” note without a single shred of wasted paper. Check out Care2′s entire collection of Valentine’s Day ecards and poems for a one-click solution.
>>Up Next: Make A Memory
Make A Memory
Instead of just buying another “thing” this Valentine’s Day, why not create a memory that your sweetie will hold dear forever? You may not have the money for an out of town getaway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share an unforgettable adventure. Peer-to-peer services like Vayable, Gidsy, Guidehop and Sidetour allow you to connect with people who can act as your “tour guide” for a new experience right in your hometown. Think about a beer or wine tasting, a private chocolate making class, a midnight street food crawl, or a sunset sail on the river. All you need is a camera and a sense of adventure.
Host A ‘You Are Loved’ Potluck
Valentine’s Day is usually a rough time for those without a significant other. But why? The idea that this holiday is only about romantic love is one born in the commercial world. Love is universal. We love our friends, family, neighbors and social networks. Our annual celebration of love should be just as inclusive.
Those with a sense of humor have spread the idea of “singles’ dinners” on Valentine’s but why stop there? Why not host an “everyone’s invited” party and indulge with everyone you care about, dates not required? Plan the dinner potluck style and have each guest bring the food that most embodies “love” or “passion.” Play board games or watch a few romantic comedies we all love to hate! Top the event off with organic Valentine’s Day cocktails and send everyone home with some homemade vegan truffles.
Are you planning a zero-waste Valentine’s Day? Share your ideas for low-impact fun in the comments!
Images via Thinkstock