But I sure love my family. And my mother, who rarely gets serious with me about anything, once scolded me when I complained about this February holiday filled with overpriced flowers and candy. “Don’t ever take for granted the fact that you have so much love in your life, including a wonderful husband,” she said. “Take any opportunity you can to celebrate that.”
Or something to that effect. It’s stuck with me ever since. (Well done, Mom!)
So today I bought K-Bear one of those shiny balloons she’d been eyeing in the grocery store for the last week. Except I got hers at the Dollar Store. However, I still felt slightly guilty because I know there are greener ways to show our love. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started:
- Opt for organic, shade-grown chocolate. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not a holiday without chocolate. But why organic? According to Sierra Magazine, “Of all crops, cocoa takes second place for using the most pesticides (number one is cotton); when producers stop using planet-harming chemicals, chocolate tastes better. As for shade-grown, that label means the cocoa under it was grown under indigenous trees, which therefore got preserved.” In addition, remember, less packaging equals less waste so skip the frilly wrappings. Some of my favorite brands include Chocolove (love the romantic poem inside each wrapper), Endangered Species (hello dark chocolate with cranberries and almonds), and Green & Black’s (they have hot chocolate too!).
- Pick Conscious Flowers. Sadly, according to Sierra Magazine, “conventional flowers can have 50 times more pesticides on them than is legal to have on food. That’s just one reason to go with organic flowers, which are grown without pesticides.” Look for the VeriFlora seal or go to OrganicBouquet.com, a carbon-neutral company that not only sells pesticide-free flowers but also gives their workers in underdeveloped countries zero-interest loans, healthcare, and education. Alternatively, choose home-grown blooms if you can, buy what’s in season (like tulips or daffodils) from a farmer’s market. Better yet, consider a potted plant which will last longer than a plastic-wrapped bouquet.
- Shop for Estate Jewelry. According to Sierra Magazine, one gold ring can generate 20 tons of mining waste. And the gold industry is notorious for violating human rights, especially in indigenous communities.” Instead of new bling for your loved one, consider a piece of formerly owned jewelry, also known as estate jewelry. From diamonds and pearls to semi-precious stones, you can often find a case dedicated especially to these vintage pieces at many jewelers. Antique stores and flea markets are other good sources.
- Seek out Eco-Friendly Cards. These include e-cards as well as those made from recycled paper. Check the back of the card to see how much recycled paper it contains. Don’t forget to recycle the card once you’re done with it, or reuse it. Centers for abused children often accept used greeting cards so the kids can cut-up them up and make new artwork as part of therapy.
- Plan a Delicious Date. Consider getting out into nature and planning a camping trip, scenic hike, or moonlight snowshoe. Or make restaurant reservations at an eatery that uses local, seasonal, and organic ingredients and offers vegetarian menu options. Alternatively, opt to stay in and enjoy the simplicity of organic wine (I love Cooper Mountain’s Pinot Noir) and candlelight. Remember, soy candles emit 90% less soot and last longer than traditional candles.
Go ahead. Celebrate the love you have in your life. You are lucky to have it. And so am I.