In this sustainable Valentine’s Day gift guide, you’ll find 16 ways to show love to your partner without creating a mountain of trash or wasting money!
Valentine’s Day is almost here! From an environmental standpoint, Valentine’s Day can seem a little problematic. First, it asks us to prove our love for our partners through the money we spend and the stuff we buy. Plus, it causes so much waste! Think of all the ballons, plastic card wrapping, teddy bears, intentionally shipped flowers, and industrially produced candies.
Should we even celebrate Valentine’s Day?
First of all, I absolutely think that we could benefit from more reminders to focus on love. It’s such an important part of our lives and relationships are so integral to our health and well-being! It is not bad at all to pause and spend time showing affection and care for those you love.
Do you have to do it on Valentine’s Day? Do you have to follow a specific framework? No.
Personally, I think it depends on how you like to show and receive love from your partner. If you are a gift giver and that brings you joy, then give gifts! If you know your partner would rather spend quality time together, spend quality time together. You don’t need to force yourself to be something you’re not, go over the top, or go into debt about it.
You also do not have to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
First of all…You absolutely do not have to celebrate Valentine’s Day, let alone acknowledge it! However, the fact you are reading this tells me you want to celebrate, but in a more environmentally responsible way. Maybe you’re researching because you are trying to reduce your own waste or you are trying to find gifts for an environmentalist. Let’s share some ways to do that!
Sustainable Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
1. Keep it simple with words of affection
I know this is a pretty Grinch-y take on the holiday and not for everyone. What if you just say “I love you” or spend time in a nice conversation on the phone, Zoom, or in-person?
2. Make or repurpose a card
My love language is words of affirmation and I LOVE written messages. Although conversations are great, I sometimes forget the compliments and kindness because my anxiety and depression push those away. It really helps to come back later and have physical, written evidence of love that I can reread and hold in my hands.
DIY Valentine’s Cards
You don’t need anything fancy. I have a lot of cardstock around, so I like to cut it to size and just use it as a notecard. You could also add a stamp, pattern, or calligraphy to class it up. The words are more important than the paper or decoration, so keep it simple!
You can also order or buy a handmade card from an artist on Etsy!
3. Gift responsible flowers
So many flowers are shipped in from around the world with massive carbon footprints! It may be better to skip the cut flowers if they are not in season locally. Give a plant instead for blooms that last.
You could also opt to gift a membership to a local flower CSA! My dad has given my mom a membership to a biweekly flower CSA for several years now and it’s a wonderful way to support a local farm while giving a gift that lasts.
4. Support local businesses with chocolates or wine
Whether you have local confectioneries, wineries, and distilleries or you just have a local business that sells those products, opt for local. Look for items made locally to support small businesses and reduce shipping waste.
Not into wine or chocolate? Look for a local tea shop or a business that sells consumable products that fit your loved one’s preferences!
5. Dine out at a local spot
Since we cook from scratch so much, we often like going out to eat on Valentine’s Day. Look for a local farm-to-table restaurant or your partner’s favorite spot and schedule a reservation in advance!
6. Dine in with luxury ingredients
Although we like to dine out, we also aren’t a huge fan of crowds. Valentine’s Day is a great day to make something extra special. We love to use high-quality grass-fed steaks from Crowd Cow and invest in some time together!
7. Order something custom you’ll love for decades
8. Splurge on luxe items they wouldn’t buy themselves
This is a great time to go a little extra and order something higher quality than their normal products. This could look like a vegan self-care gift set. We love to share this clean skincare brand, too!
9. Spend time together
Look for concert tickets, cooking classes, foraging clubs or other events near you to spend some quality time together!
10. Support a hobby or passion
Lately, I’ve been getting really into block printing and beeswax candle making as a creative outlet. Chances are that you or your special person have a hobby you could support. Maybe it’s a cool foraging basket for a budding mycologist or a book of the best day hikes in your area!
11. Offer a massage
If your partner’s love language is physical touch, you might want to set aside some time to offer them a thorough body massage. If you do it yourself, it’s totally free! You could always book a massage with a local practitioner.
12. Uplift their goals
If you know your partner is working on being more eco-friendly, they might appreciate you upgrading their dish soap to something without plastic or investing in a plastic-free razor. These are small efforts that reduce waste in the long-term!
13. Books are a love language
I am a reader inside and out! I love buying books, looking at recommend reads, reading, and talking about books. Those are like 4 different hobbies all in one…just saying!
The great thing about books is you can find used copies of almost everything! This is a very low waste and affordable way to give a gift. Idea: offer to buy whatever stack of used books your partner finds at a local thrift store. Sure, the stack might be a mile high, but chances are it will be very inexpensive!
Book of the Month Club
If you are looking for something a little more expensive and are open to buying new products, I highly recommend Book of the Month Club. It completely reignited my passion for reading after being drained of it during college and grad school! You can order new releases monthly. There’s also a thriving resell and swap community so you can order just a few books new and swap them out again and again!
14. Donate in their name
Chances are that if you’re looking for a sustainable Valentine’s Day gift, your partner is values-driven. Ditch the stuff and make a donation to a cause in their name. Maybe it’s the local animal shelter or a reforestation program.
15. Plan a weekend getaway
It doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day itself, but it might be nice to plan for a little alone time together! Look for nice destinations nearby and consider renting an Airbnb or room for just a night. A change of setting can do wonders!
16. Get baking
I’m pretty sure dessert is a love language in and of itself. My husband and I always seem to bake for each other for birthdays and special occasions! He loves key lime pie, so I’ll try to adapt key lime pie into truffles or cake pops. I love dark chocolate-covered candied orange peel (so specific, I know), and he’ll make it from scratch!
This is a super sweet way to show your partner you know them and will go out of your way for them. It’s also low waste and delicious!
Shop this post: Sustainable Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
What can I buy for Valentine’s Day when I’m broke?
Honestly, opting for a sustainable Valentine’s Day can easily be super budget-friendly. Your local thrift store is a great place to find books or products to support their passions or hobbies! You can dine in with your favorite recipes and pick up a potted plant at a nursery for a few dollars. Go for a hike or take a mini road trip!
What are romantic Valentine’s gifts for her?
Okay, so I tried to keep this list pretty gender-neutral, but I absolutely wrote it with my own preferences in mind…This list is totally adaptable to all people though! It’s just about seeing your partner for who they are and investing in either time together or their passions.
The most romantic Valentine’s gifts are going to include touch, proximity, or uninterrupted time together. These include things like nights out for dinner, a quick weekend getaway, a massage, etc. The rest depends on your partner! Do they like to hike? Would they prefer to see a movie? Would they like to explore a new town or city? Supporting their interests and passion will raise their energy and help them feel seen and loved.
What are zero waste Valentine’s gift ideas?
If you or your partner are living a zero-waste lifestyle, look for experiences together and only purchase used or sustainable items. This would look like going to a wine tasting at a local winery, picking up flowers (maybe even dried flowers) from a local farm, going on a hike, baking from scratch, going to a local museum or sports game, etc. If you are buying items, hit the thrift store or antique shop instead of the mall.
What are we missing? What are your favorite sustainable Valentine’s Day gift ideas? Please tell us in the comments!
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