Valentine's Gifts: Have a Heart for the Earth

02_06_09_valentines.jpgEach year, when stores are stocked with anything-filled chocolates and garish balloons and over-the-top stuffed animals in hues of red, pink, and sometimes purple, we get a little queasy. We enjoy the sentiment of love notes and such, but sometimes we think V-Day is a not-holiday made up by the candy, cards, and cut flowers industries.

These handmade gifts have changed our minds. So before writing it off completely, take a look at these beautiful, decidedly non-commercialized (and light on the Earth) ideas for reminding someone you love them...

First of all, forget the cheesy store-bought card that won't mean much to your SO and make your own from recycled materials. If you're completely un-crafty, turn to Etsy for handmade cards crafted with recycled paper and printed with soy-based inks. We love the "Sew In Love" card from Chewing the Cud's shop (she has other witty ones as well). And just yesterday we showed you these beautiful cards from LA Girl.

Forgo that cellophane-wrapped, heart-shaped box and find a local jem. A friend of ours tipped us off to a new venture, The Jewels of New York. They're banding together to "uncover the hidden treasures New York has to offer and share them with friends through a collection of seasonal and local recipes," according to their website. They also happen to have the most beautiful handmade Valentine's cookies we've ever seen. If you're in NY, these would make a simply sweet gift and support a new local venture to encourage more local eating.

Along the same lines, look for locally or sustainably produced wines, chocolates, or candies to delight your beloved, or treat them to dinner at a place that grows their own produce or buys everything local.

And if you just can't resist flowers this Valentine's Day, be sure to go the local route, even if it means cutting stems from your neighbor's garden, with permission. (Many flowers are shipped in from across the pond, so watch out for their enormous carbon footprint.) Or give your loved one a fruitful potted plant, like a small Meyer lemon tree from your local nursery--something that will be useful and beautiful.

Those are a few of our ideas for quietly celebrating V-day. What do you think?

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