It's the thought that counts, the old adage goes. Well, we propose pushing it a step further, that it's actually the thoughtfulness that counts. An ideal Valentine's gift reflects careful consideration of both your loved one's tastes and environmental and social impact. Landfill-bound plastic knickknacks, non-biodegradable mylar balloons, and bad drugstore candy are no way to express your love—unless the message you're looking to convey is, I grabbed you something off a convenience store shelf?! Leave that stuff where it is and read on...
On Valentine's Day, especially, nothing is quite as meaningful as something handmade. Maybe it's just a card (bonus if you add a thoughtful note or love poem) or a surprise picnic—or perhaps it's one of the clever DIY gift ideas below. Trust us, time and effort are directly proportionate to romance level acheived.
If you're more likely to buy a gift than make one (we know crafty ain't everyone's jam), you can stick with the February 14 standards—roses, chocolate, lingerie—and still bring your eco A-game by buying from thoughtful, eco-friendly, and mission-based small businesses. We've curated the sources to help.
And hey, all these ideas work equally well for your galentines, too.
Under normal circumstances, we probably wouldn't embark on making homemade bath bombs, but in the name of love, and Valentine's Day, and all that's indulgent and devine, we just may. Really, what's steamier than a bath effervescing with your favorite essential oil? Stephanie Gerber of Hello Glow blog is just our shade of DIY and she swears these coconut oil bath bombs are no-fail, so we believe her. Made with simple ingredients, we think they'd work as well for the object of your desire as they would for your friends or family (heck, maybe even just yourself!) All the instructions are there to fancy up your project with multiple colors and dried herbs (as pictured) or just keep simple (and even more foolproof.)
If it's not likely that you'll make your own, opt for the next best thing: handmade...by someone else.
These grapefruit and ylang ylang heart shaped sprinkle bath bombs from Purely Posh Soap Co will totally do the trick. (Psst... her handmade soaps are divine, too.) Bonus: your purchase supports an independent artisan and woman-owned business.
Flower crowns should totally be the new corsage, don't you think? (Without the prom, please.) How else can your favorite gal walk around like a goddess of love adorned with the flowers you gave her? Wearing a crown of loosely arranged blooms is a surefire way to have her radiating a romantic glow all day.
The gals from Paiko, a botanical boutique in Honolulu, released this vid a few years ago, showing how simple it is to whip up flower crowns with just a few floral supplies, blooms and greens. It's stuck with us—we like the minimal time and material commitment, and how unstructured the look is. (And hey, if you feel really unsure about making them on your own, attend one of their workshops!)
Blackthumb put the kibosh on the flower crown idea? If flowers are her fav, then give her flowers—just be sure to eschew the ones shipped unsustainable distances, not to mention with a possible side of human rights violations. Yeah, this is basically most everything at standard grocery stores, big box stores, and large corporate florists. For locally grown blooms, search for flower farms/ growers in your area or seek-out floral designers practicing farm-to vase practices. Next best thing: this domestically sourced Grown in the USA Bouquet from Farmgirl Flowers, 25-30 blooms grown by American farmers arranged in their signature fresh-from the garden look. This gorgeous bouquet is sure to induce that freshly crowned beauty queen feeling.
Other ideas for botanical lovers: visit a plant nursery to adopt an amazing houseplant or invest in a blooming tree to plant together (the symbolism here is positively swoon-worthy, and a total boon to the environment, too!)
I could just eat you up, you say? How about whipping up an unexpectedly edible gift for your honey baby, like this Coconut Rose Sugar Body Scrub from Kale and Caramel. Blogger Lily Diamond is a kitchen alchemist, and her approachable beauty recipes often embolden us to stretch our wings. (Polish our bod with rough-cut coconut and sugar granules? Ok!) The hint of rose ups the romance factor making this scrub a spot-on DIY for Valentine's Day, but if you're looking for something a little huskier for your man, Lily's Coffee Cacao Scrub could do the trick. Whether you jar it as a gift or make it to use it together, we think delicious fun will ensue.
Forget diamonds, everyone knows chocolate is a girl's best friend. We like our chocolate dark, but without the shameful dark side of corruption, exploitation, and (gulp!)slavery that is rampant in the industry.
An early industry game changer, and one of our absolute favs, is Seattle-based Theo Chocolates. They were the first fair trade and organic chocolatiers makers in North America, and their chocolate is divine. Hey, if 'ethical' and 'environmentally sustainable' taste like chocolate truffles laced with honey saffron, lavender jalapeño, ginger rose, and lemon verbena, like the ones from this sinfully alluring Valentine's Casanova Caramel Collection, why would you buy anything else?
Unless, your Valentine is more of a bar person—as in giant hunk of chocolate person.
Then Tony's Chocolonely it is. Founded exclusively with the mission to bring slave-free chocolate to market, their brightly packaged signature oversized bars—a whopping 6.3 oz (!) of melt-in-your-mouth perfection—are a statement unto themselves (and that's in addition to their critical social impact mission.) Guess when you're out doing all that good in the world, it's easy to feel the love in the air. Tony's limited edition Dark Cherry Meringue Valentine's release says I love you in a big way with extra fine 51% dark chocolate swirled with bits of meringue and dried cherry. And the packaging is adorbs.
Now that's a hunka, hunka, choco love.
There's so much more that meets the eye to this sweet little set from Massachusetts based lingerie maker, Brook There, but first let's take a moment to appreciate how it will make her feel idolized, not objectified. Sure the ultra soft organic cotton errs toward the practical side, but really, is there anything else so worthy of being next to her bod? The line comes in mix-n-match colors and styles and is all milled, cut and sewn in the USA. Their smart, low-impact manufacturing, woman-friendly designs, and support for earth-friendly farming initiatives are bringing sexy back, in a super sustainable fashion. Now that's HOT!
Your love's a burning flame, you say? Show it with this clever vintage tin candle tutorial from the DIY experts at Design Sponge. Full disclosure, this is a cheater version of candle making—which is totally perfect, because we're all busy people! Nothing but love for the vintage tins here, but if you don't have a stash on-hand, there's dozens of other worthy vessels for some dripping hot wax ...sorry, ahem... where were we?... Up-cycle interesting jars, food containers, tea or cookie tins, hollowed-out coconut shells, small ceramics or flower pots (the kind without the hole at the bottom), spruced up old mugs or glassware, the list goes on. Add your favorite essential oil, and voilà! This gift is sure to induce a warming sensation.
Nope to plastic glitter and nope to ridiculously expensive pre-made confetti packs, these lil' hearts are made of dried leaves. DRIED LEAVES! (If Shel Silverstein ever rewrites The Giving Tree, he'll probably add this idea.) All you need is a hole punch and some colorful dried leaves. Sprinkle across the dinner table, in a card, sneak a little jar in a briefcase with a note, or stage a surprise shower of your love on your Valentine when they least expect it.
P.S. This is super fun for kids, too.
Once you have your perfect gift, go the extra mile to wrap it up with love. Here on the Wrappily blog we love exploring different ways to wrap using our 100% recyclable and compostable paper. Our Fresh From The Garden post has some simple inspirations for super romantic gift wrapping.
Eco-friendly and adorably chic, Wrappily uses neighborhood newspaper presses to print great patterns on 100% recyclable and compostable newsprint—an answer to the millions of tons of trash attributed to wrapping paper every year. This smart, new take on wrapping paper is an idea who's time has come. Our founder set out on her mission to green-up giving in 2013, a journey filled with marvelously talented people who are creating amazing patterns for our wrapping paper. After all, we believe in beautifully wrapped gifts, but not at the expense of the environment.