Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day: Lovin' Green While Saving Green

Valentine's Day is about spreading love, not spending money. Believe it or not, you can give beautiful gifts from the heart that cost almost nothing, yet are filled with meaning and keep Mother Earth feelin' the love, too.

The Card

Valentine's Day is the second biggest holiday for greeting card sales. Literally billions of cards are sent each year and most come from virgin trees. Making your own cards from recycled and or unconventional materials leaves trees standing and your sweetheart thanking the stars for your creatively thoughtful gesture.

And what to say inside a custom card?

You may not believe you are a writer, but honestly, can a professional truly express what is in your heart in a more meaningful way than you can? Even if you believe she can, just for the fun of it, why not give it a whirl? You (and your love) might be pleasantly surprised. Here are a few pointers for producing poetic prose:

  • Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables -- that's haiku, a simply beautiful form of poetry that you'll catch onto quickly. Read a few, then give it a try.
  • Of course, a letter or free verse is always an option, or if you're really wanting to knock your partner's socks off, how about writing a sonnet?
  • These sound too difficult? Here's an easier, but still romantic idea. Take each letter of the words "My Valentine," and next to it, write something about your beloved. Here's an example:
  • M My heart

    Y You are the only one I'll ever love

    V Very best
    A Always my partner
    L Love you forever

  • If your words don't capture the exact tone you're looking for, remember that laughter is a gift -- even if it is unintentional.

And if you're feeling creative, how about making some seeded paper or thinking inside the box? Select a small box. Cover the outside with pictures of you and your honey or appropriate words cut from a magazine. Inside, place some stones on which you've stamped words of love, a small bag of beans with a tag that says, "I love how you've always BEAN there for me," or come up with a (much) better play on words and items to go with it.

The Gifts

Valentine's gifts usually include one or more of the following: flowers, candy (chocolate of course, is the hands down favorite), jewelry or lingerie. All are wonderful (and usually quite welcome), especially if you think green before purchasing them, (here's how). But even better, are gifts from the heart, those you make yourself. Now don't get all nervous, we've got simple ideas that cost next to nothing, and are oh so simple to pull off.

Before we give you the list, here's a hint. Gift making together can be daring and romantic. For instance, what could you be wearing -- or not -- while cutting out a couple of dozen paper hearts on which you write your feelings, then hang by thread above your bed -- or tape...somewhere else.

Think about making chocolate candy hearts (using organic, Fair Trade, shade grown chocolate of course -- check your local natural foods store for baking chocolate). What else could that chocolate be used for? Chocolate paint anyone? Getting the picture? Use your imagination to come up with a Valentine's gift making project that will bring you together in more ways than one!

In addition to the two gift projects above, here are a few other ideas. You may choose to purchase items listed or make do with something you already have:

1. A coupon book good for one massage a month for a year using organic massage oil, and starting on Valentine's Day.

2. An organic cotton pillow case on which you embroider your sentiments or glue on heart shaped pieces of felt (just for display).

3. Glue romantic words on to the backs of a deck of playing cards and type up instructions for strip poker.

4. Pack a small bag with silly and/or romantic everyday objects such as, a roll of toilet paper (be sure to recycle after use), cotton balls, soft brushes or feathers, and silky scarves. Be sure to include the directions: Decorate each other.

For more ideas for Valentine's Day and every holiday and celebration, visit

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