Co Authored by: Emma Gardner and Ray Daly
Valentine’s Day is fast upon us and it’s one of my favorite holidays - the perfect excuse to bring some extra sweetness to the lives of those you love. Plus, candy…so much candy. But it’s also often an excuse, like so many commercialized holidays, to overconsume. If you’re looking for easy ways to shower your beau with eco-friendly love, or how to indulge your sweet tooth without all the plastic packaging, we have some ideas for a thoughtful, earth-friendly gift this V-Day.
One of the simplest ways to avoid overconsumption is to skip that traditional wrapped gift altogether. Instead, try gifting an experience this Valentine’s Day. There are numerous experiences to pull from that can show your sweetie how well you know them: tickets to a concert or show that they would love to see, dinner at their favorite restaurant, a class or event together at a local creative business (we love painting classes at Keystone Creative Goods, and our neighbors at Stump always seem to have great events to participate in!).
If you’re looking to make your experience extra personal, we’ve got a few ideas:
Home Spa Day
A fun and accessible option is an at-home spa day. To set this up for you or a partner to enjoy, all of the essentials are easy to find plastic free, and can be personalized with
What You’ll Need:
Epsom Salt: Epsom salt is the perfect spa day essential. Draw a bath and add 1-2 cups to your bath for ultimate relaxation. Epsom benefits include stress relief, detox, and exfoliation. It helps relieve inflammation and relax sore muscles. To get this package free, bring your own jar or bag to the shop and grab as much or little as you need.
Loofah or konjac sponge: To complete this perfect bath, grab an exfoliator! Loofahs and konjac sponges are both naturally grown plastic free (loofahs are actually gourds, and konjac is a plant root!), and can be found in many shapes and sizes so you can find the perfect luxurious exfoliator to lather up with.Rose Clay: What’s a spay day without a face mask? Make your own facial masks with rose clay, perfect for exfoliating and refreshing skin to brighten complexion and remove toxins. Rose clay is great for sensitive skin, and can be used on all skin types. Plus: when you’re mixing your own clay mask, you can customize it to be just the way you like it! Choose from any variety of activators (water, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, aloe vera juice) to make a mask that’s just what you like.
Jojoba Oil: Hydrate or show a little extra love with a massage using nourishing jojoba oil. Jojoba oil can be used both to soothe dry skin and add shine to your hair. To use as a body oil: after bathing or showering gently pat dry and apply a thin layer of jojoba oil all over to lock in moisture. We have jojoba oil available for bulk refill in-store, so you can buy just one massage worth, or enough to keep your body moisturized through the rest of winter.
Dîner fait maison
I mean, it's just a fancy way to say a home cooked dinner, right?
I don’t know about you, but as someone who routinely cooks for my household, there is no more romantic gesture than my partner handing me a fun beverage and telling me to sit down while he takes care of a nice meal.
To keep this low waste, you can check out what your local co-op, farmers market, and independent grocers have available package free. Some of my favorites around Philadelphia include Weaver’s Way Co-Op and Riverwards Produce for groceries, both have great bulk sections, and the East Falls, Clark Park, and Northern Liberties farmers markets. Between these you’ll create a meal that is not only low waste but supports robust local food systems!
(You can find us at the farmers markets listed above on a rotating basis! Check here to see when we'll be at each.)
If you’re looking for some meal inspiration, I always find that the Minimalist Baker has a plethora of diet-friendly, delicious, and simple meal ideas.
Keep Gifts in Responsible Packaging
Don’t worry, you can still wrap it. Maybe your partner or loved one’s love language is receiving gifts, and they mean tangible. That’s okay, we have options for that too. Gift your sweetheart something that comes without the baggage; by that we mean something low waste or packaged with more permanence.
Some of our top choices are:
Candle: Set the mood, choose a candle that has clean ingredients. Ingredients like soy or beeswax are better for your health and the planet, so you can love longer. They often have a longer burn time as well.
Self-Care Items: Give the gift of self-care! Nothing is better than receiving something you can pamper yourself with. Whether it be a luxurious face cream that comes in a glass jar, a handmade shower steamer to relax with, or a lip balm in a paper tube to pucker up with, you can’t go wrong. Don’t forget to treat yourself either. ;)Candy: I was wrong, nothing is better than a sweet treat, packaged sustainably and ethically sourced. Some brands we like are Alter Eco, which offers its candy in individual compostable wrapping, and PA local chocolatier, Moka Origins, who plant trees and support the lives of farmers with every sale. And don't even get me started on those Tom Bumble candy bars (they're like a heavenly little butter finger, but made with organic ingredients. We can't stop eating them.)
Card: Write your sweet nothings on a card made of recycled or compostable paper, with non-toxic dyes. Some cards are even made of plantable seeds, so if that love poem isn’t one for the books, you can give back to the earth by planting it!
Locally grown flowers: Did you know that flowers typically have a high carbon footprint? Most are shipped from the Netherlands or South America, and because they are so perishable, they must be flown. But don’t stress! You can still deliver that beautiful bouquet by opting for locally grown flowers. We usually hit up our local farmers markets and Riverwards Produce for ours, and our local farmers markets also typically have a great selection around the holidays (Everwild Farm at East Falls farmers market always has the most beautiful flowers!)
Wrapping things in kraft paper, newspaper, a brown bag, silk scarf or fabric, and garnishing with some ribbon, twine, or a personal touch is a great way to deliver a wrapped gift but keep the wasteful materials out of it. Plus… it just looks so darn nice.
However you choose to celebrate this holiday, there are simple and effective ways to show your affection while giving thought to the environment. A low waste or sustainable lifestyle can make it easy to maximize intention and care for our everyday routines and what’s around us; so while we pamper ourselves or our loved ones show the Earth some love too this V-Day!