Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to celebrate love, it is a perfect excuse to pamper our partners, either with gifts or with attentions, or with gestures that materialize what we feel and help us to express what that special person means to us.
Unfortunately, in the vibrant materialism that characterizes our times, this translates into a direct hit to the environment: hundreds (if not billions) of flowers, paper cards and chocolates are sold en masse across much of the world in the span of a few days. But this doesn't have to be the case.
It's just a matter of focus, rethinking tradition and finding ways to enjoy without affecting our planet. Here are 5 ideas for a sustainable Valentine's Day:
1. Plants instead of flowers:
Flowers are one of the most traditional Valentine's Day gifts, and also, without a doubt, the least sustainable: it is certain that within a week they will be wilted, and if we take into account all that is involved from the time they are grown, transported (in refrigerated transport), sold and delivered, a week seems too short.
Besides, a flower as a metaphorical representation of a relationship means that the relationship is very beautiful, but at the same time ephemeral. Why not a plant? Plants live as long as we maintain them, as long as we water them. They grow, give fragrances and colors, and even help the environment by absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen. A plant, a succulent for example, can be a great sustainable Valentine's Day gift.
2. Make a lasting (and personalized) gift:
If flowers offer an indicator of the problem with traditional Valentine's Day gifts, it is that they tend to be ephemeral: just as flowers die, paper cards, for example, tend to be stored, forgotten, at the bottom of a drawer. Therefore, it makes sense to think of gifts that are not only more practical, but also long-lasting: mugs, reusable bottles, notebooks, books, etcetera.
Plus: nowadays it is very easy to customize objects in almost any print shop. Let your imagination run wild and give, for example, a personalized mug (an inside joke never fails).
3. Take the courage to write:
If you like writing, you will have already had this idea. If not, take heart. It doesn't matter if you don't know where to start: just sit down at your computer or in front of a sheet of paper, think about your partner, and write.
You can write an anecdote or tell him/her something he/she doesn't know, or you can simply write a letter in which you tell him/her what you think and what you feel. To write is to pour out your soul in the form of words, it is to dare to let yourself be seen; writing for someone is a deeply intimate gesture.
4. Cook a romantic dinner:
No material object can be worth more than a gesture, and few gestures are as intimate as preparing an elaborate dinner for your partner. Can't cook? All the more reason for you to try. And don't worry, the internet is awash with recipes for all levels and all tastes.
5. Gift an experience:
They say that the best gifts can't be touched. That's why one of the best gifts you can give your partner on Valentine's Day is a keepsake. It sounds rather ambiguous, but we don't mean just any kind of souvenir, we mean a memorable experience.
Attend a class together (for example, a cooking class), a tasting, a concert, a tasting, or go to a museum, an art gallery or an observatory, or see a play or a movie at the cinema or, why not, take the opportunity to travel to nature: go camping or hiking on a trail or, if you have the possibility, to a beach for a day of shared relaxation.
Plus: for a more intimate experience, a (not so) far-fetched idea: all day long, leave your cell phones turned off or on silent, to enjoy each other without interruptions.
The possibilities are many and it will be up to you to dare to think outside the box, to be creative and shuffle through the possibilities, to let your ideas lead you to spend a Valentine's Day that is not only sustainable, but also, of course, memorable.