Valentine's Day is once a year, and not to be a mood killer, but we should be celebrating those we love everyday, not just a single day. Don't get caught up in the commercial side of this holiday. It's not about buying chlorine bleached paper, printed with toxic inks, and sealed with icky glue in envelopes. It can be a day to make it extra known to those you love, how much you really cherish them. As with any occasion, a little creativity can quickly take the place of purchased extravagance. It's even acceptable to be a cheap date, if you pull out enough love and put in enough thought.
Here are a few ideas that allow you to honour and celebrate your sweetie without breaking the earth's heart:
1. Shower Together. Good news -- this is the perfect activity on every front. Did you know that showers account for 22 per cent of individual water use in North America? It's the gift of an experience with nothing to purchase. However, should you want to show a little extra love, add a few great organic soaps, shampoo, a low-flow showerhead, an FSC certified hairbrush, and wrap it all up in a luxurious organic bathrobe.
2. Engage in Pillow Talk. A gift of new healthy pillows, without flame retardants or other synthetics, is a wonderful gift, and one that will give you nightly sweet dreams. Add a homemade organic Body Scrub (coconut sugar, coconut oil and a few drops of your favourite essential oil) for a relaxing organic spa package at home.
3. Light it up. 100 per cent manuka beeswax candles with cotton wicks set the mood, without the black soot and fumes (think diesel exhaust while you eat and drink and play, ick) from standard paraffin, lead-wicked candles. Keep your indoor air clean, and your intimate moments pure!
4. Raise a glass. But first, fill it with something conscious. Look for organic labels, read the ingredients and care about what you are drinking...it matters, just like your food choices do. Toasting to good health and happiness without pesticides makes the sentiments much more wholesome!
5. Freeze the moment. Have your pictures taken. Or take pictures on your own, and have fun with it. Think of all of the time you spend online or on your smartphone...you can carry those digital shots of your time together everywhere!
6. Screen something. Brew your favourite loose leaf tea in a french press (no tea bags mean no bleach, strings, or staples in your drink & in our landfill later), or a fair-trade, dark, hot cocoa and cuddle up under a comfy organic throw to watch a movie -- maybe even a documentary. I am fully aware that this doesn't seem like a romantic theme, but I promise, it's inspiring and empowering, which leads to all good things.
7. Indulge. Studies have shown that dark chocolate helps prevent heart disease and cancer. It has also been shown to increase blood flow and improve mood by boosting the brain chemical, serotonin, which is similar to Prozac and its many mood-enhancing clones. But, when it comes down to it, a little dark, organic, fair-trade chocolate tastes good, soothes the soul and is fun to share.
8. Dress up or dress down. Dress up your table and yourselves, or, dress down and get down on the floor. Spread out a blanket and have an indoor picnic! Prepare a dinner together with local ingredients -- even the planning and shopping can be fun.
9. Experience it all. Together. Take a cooking class. Go to the theatre. Go mini-golfing or bowling. Get tickets to a concert. If you combine your outing with a meal, choose a restaurant with a local and sustainable menu.
10. Give a Rose Bush instead of Roses! This really does make sense. Why buy flowers that were grown with toxic chemicals, transported for thousands of miles and wrapped in plastic, when you can give a real living thing that lasts. Although it might not be the perfect climate for roses year round, think local, think organic and think about buying the whole plant, tree or herb that will keep on giving and can be enjoyed all year round. It will act as a constant reminder of your love for each other.
11. KISS (something goodbye). Consider kissing your plastics or all of those nasty cleaning chemicals goodbye? Clean out a cupboard or a room and replace it with all things healthier - or nothing at all! Go through your clothes or books and donate anything you have not needed or used for one year or longer. Now how is this not romantic? Giving makes your heart even more full. It can also be considered a walk down memory lane if you go through it all together.
12. Do what's right for you. Don't use the above ideas if it's not going to celebrate your relationship to your liking. But remember, each time you buy something, you are telling that store, or the company to buy more and make more. Blood diamonds, phthalates in sex toys, and pesticides and petroleum in lingerie is anything but sexy for you or our planet.
Remember, "less" in no way needs to mean "less special" for Valentine's Day. Get to the true heart of the matter, keep the twinkle in your sweetheart's eye and show love and respect for our planet. Repeat everyday rather than annually.