Originally published at metro.us in February 2011 here.
Store shelves are brimming with tchotchkes – from commercially manufactured greeting cards to plastic-wrapped, imported carnations and roses — that can really take their toll on our environment.
This year, celebrate your sweetie without breaking the bank – or the Earth’s heart. It’s really not that difficult and the benefits include a happier, warmer relationship with someone you love.
Did you know that showers account for 22 per cent of individual water use in North America? So cut down (and double your fun!) by doubling up. Want to show a little extra love? Give your sweetheart a few great organic soaps wrapped in a luxurious, organic bathrobe.
Engage in Pillow Talk
A Pleasure Pillow by Mette Vangso is the ultimate luxurious gift. Each beautiful pillow – filled with organic buckwheat – moulds to your curves, keeping the heat or chill exactly where you need it.
Raise a glass
But first, fill it with something local and pesticide-free. Look for Southbrook, Malivoire, or other organic wines that use sustainably grown grapes. For a healthy brew, try Mill Street Organic.
Brew your favourite loose-leaf tea in a FrenchpPress (no tea bags means no bleach, strings, or staples required), or a fair-trade, organic, hot cocoa while watching a movie.
Soothe the soul and tickle the palate with a little dark, organic, fair-trade chocolate. In addition to preventing heart disease and cancer, the dark stuff has been shown to improve mood by boosting the brain chemical serotonin.
Experience it together
Take a cooking class. Visit a famous attraction. Go mini-golfing or bowling. Get tickets to a concert or play or try a new restaurant with a local and sustainable menu.
Give a rose bush instead of roses
Think local, think organic and think about buying the whole plant, tree or herb, so it can be enjoyed all year-long. It will be a constant reminder of your love for each other.
Kiss (something goodbye)
Maybe your plastics, or all of those nasty cleaning chemicals? Clean out a cupboard or a room together and replace everything with healthier options – or nothing at all.
Remember, “less” in no way needs to mean “less special.” Get to the true heart of the matter, keep the twinkle in your sweetheart’s eye and show love and respect for our planet. Even better, try to repeat this daily.
Lisa Borden is a Green Living consultant for leading companies, and owner of Borden Communications + Design Inc.