Valentine’s Day is here! This year, skip the same old heart-shaped box of chocolates or dozen roses, and instead take an eco-friendly approach by giving your loved one a gift that truly shows you care. We’ve put together a few green ideas that are sure to help inspire.
1.) Flowers: It’s no secret that roses are by far the most traditional gift idea for Valentine’s Day. Yet, many long stemmed bouquets are made available by sacrificing green ideals. A large portion of cut flowers are often previously treated with pesticides, many of which are grown outside the U.S., and then shipped here generating a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
Green Tip: You can still surprise your sweetie with a beautiful bouquet, but more sustainable options include buying organically grown, fair trade flowers, or supporting a florist in your own community who sells locally grown flowers. Alternatively, give a plant, such as an orchid, lavender, or even a small rose bush, all of which will last far longer than any bunch of roses.
2.) Chocolate: There’s no sweeter indulgence than chocolate. Before you get swayed by the traditional fancy schmancy red and gold candy box, give some thought to what might be inside. Real chocolate contains cocoa butter, and the higher the percentage the better quality chocolate. Imitation chocolate is made by replacing cocoa butter with vegetable oil, resulting in a significant difference in quality and taste. Additionally, a good deal of mass marketed Valentine’s Day chocolate comes nestled in large quantities of prepackaged plastic and cardboard, much of which never gets recycled.
Green Tip: Shop for chocolate made with quality grown ingredients, or better yet, support a local chocolatier such as Birmingham’s own Indie Candy, which makes some of the area’s best all natural and allergen free chocolate. Other options include giving Green and Black’s Organic Chocolate, or Endangered Species Chocolate bars, both of which support organic growing methods and fair trade practices, and can be purchased at many area locations including, Whole Foods.
3.) Romantic Dinner: If you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home, it’s fun to surprise your loved one with an extra special dinner. Stop by one of Birmingham’s many organic or gourmet grocers and select from a variety of local and/or sustainably grown ingredients to feature in the main course. begin your meal with a sampling of specialty cheeses from some of Alabama’s finest dairy farms, including Yellow Moon or Belle Chevre. Compliment the meal with a glass of wine from a local winery such as Morgan Creek Vineyards, or a specialty beer from Good People Brewing Company, both of which are available at a variety of Birmingham stores.
Green Tip: Set the mood with the glowing light of a soy based candle, such as those made locally from The Green Bottle Candle Company. begin your meal with a sampling of specialty cheeses from some of Alabama’s finest dairy farms, including Yellow Moon or Belle Chevre. Compliment the meal with a glass of wine from a local winery such as Morgan Creek Vineyards, or a specialty beer from Good People Brewing Company, both of which are available at a variety of Birmingham stores.
4.) Gifts: Give a gift that pays homage to your loved one’s unique interests. Keep in mind that gifts of time and experiences can often be more meaningful and appreciated than gifts of material objects. Get creative and plan a special day with your sweetheart strolling through the Birmingham Museum of Art or for the more adventurous, try Red Mountain Park’s night zip lining!.
Green Tip: When choosing a gift for Valentine’s Day, shop local! Support local businesses that make shopping in the Birmingham area a one of a kind experience. For a few ideas, check out our latest Local Gift Guide.