Valentine’s Day. Not a phrase that I commonly hear people speak of with unbridled excitement. Does anyone really even like this holiday? Not to belabor the anti-consumer whine, but I feel that it is the rare holiday in our culture that is more aimed at consumers and awkward feelings of guilty love than Valentine’s Day. Does love really need to be more awkward than it already is?
Anyway, I thought perhaps it would be useful to talk about some non-consumer gifts that might be appropriate for this and other holidays. A bit late to be posting on the day of, I know. Being a grad student sometimes comes with the unusual luxury of not really realizing what the date is. My calendar seems to revolve around assignment and reading due dates rather than actual space and time.
But I digress.
Here, for your reading entertainment and pleasure (and perhaps saving yourself if you happened to be like me and had totally forgotten today’s significance) are some non-consumer oriented gift ideas for that Cleen significant other.
|Seeds for a perennial gift of love|
1. I’ll start out first with my Valentine’s gift from Thomas. Knowing my love for all things growing and green, he found me a gift that keeps on giving and will remind me of his affection every time I enjoy the results of my minimal labor: flower seeds! My apologies for the grainy photo, but the packet on the right is Forget-Me-Nots, Alaska’s state flower and one of my favorite wildflowers. The packet on the left is Lemon Queen Sunflowers, which grown tremendously high. Perhaps the sentiments that accompanied the flowers were even sweeter:
“I wanted you to have sunflowers because, like the sun, you light up my life.”
The gift itself is great because it was A) economical B) a fun project for me to enjoy and C) the seeds come wrapped in paper, so the entire thing is zero-waste (and even perhaps negative waste, since the plants will help recycle our indoor air). Now, don’t get me wrong. I adore fresh cut flowers. But, here in Alaska we are miles and miles away from the nearest field of fresh flowers and so it is ecologically (and monetarily) expensive to ship flowers up here while keeping them fresh. They are expensive even at the box stores, and always come wrapped in lots of plastic. So, Thomas’s gift was perfect for me in every way.
2. My friend L and her husband are also in the Cleen boat, and live on a limited budget. So, they have the wonderful idea of cooking a special treat for one another on Valentine’s Day. This year, she made him a special batch of his favorite cookies for dessert, and he was in charge of making a special dinner. I love this idea because it’s more of a celebration of knowing and loving each other by making food the other is bound to enjoy, and since they’d have to eat anyway, it’s light on the pocketbook and gives them more time and energy to enjoy their meal together instead of worrying about going out.
3. Another gift idea I love is creating a playlist of your sweetheart’s favorite songs and surprising them by uploading it to their portable music player. Gifts don’t always have to be about receiving something new. In fact, speaking from a woman’s perspective, most folks really just want to be acknowledged for who they are on V-day. That means giving something that reflects your true knowledge and affection for your significant other. For me, if someone knows and can appreciate my taste in music and compile me a winning playlist, they can be my Valentine all year long!
4. Finally, there’s nothing sweeter than hearing from your significant other just how much they care for you. I love receiving letters, and it’s so wonderful to have loving sentiments in writing so I can look back on them later with fond recollection. Even if you’re not much of a letter writer, try writing out a few lines (be sappy!) and giving it to your sweety as a keepsake. Better yet, hide it somewhere where they’re bound to find it (under a pillow, in their wallet, etc.).
Long story short, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful or full of consumption driven purchases. Think about the message you really want to convey and choose something simple yet meaningful.
What’s the nicest Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received? What great zero-waste gift ideas have you heard of? Share them with us in the comments!