Be thoughtful, not wasteful
Let’s face it, retailers make it as easy as possible for you to buy into all the old clichés of a bunch of red roses, a box of something sweet and a shop-bought card (often decorated with lashings of glitter or shiny foil that can’t be recycled). Reminders start appearing in supermarkets and on TV ads long before the big day, when shelves start filling up with the usual ‘gifts’ that you don’t need – cuddly toys, mugs with soppy phrases on, faux rose petals, plastic fairy lights, banners, garlands, gift bags and cards in varying shades or red and pink, foil and plastic-wrapped candies, gaudy photo frames that are unlikely to match anyone’s décor – a long list of things with a short shelf life and that most people are unlikely to ever actually ask for. They might be enjoyed for a few days, if at all, before being forgotten in a drawer or chucked away.
This year, instead of opting for easy and predictable, avoid the waste and put a bit of effort and thought into your gift. Why not make your own card? That way, you’re not tied to what has already been printed and can write your own heartfelt message, which will mean a lot more to your Valentine. If you’re feeling creative, you could write a bit of poetry for the object of your affections. You don’t have to be William Wordsworth or Emily Dickinson for the effort to be appreciated. And, if your poetic labours really are terrible, it will give you something to laugh about. After all, the idea is to put a smile on their face, right?
Rather than selecting a boring generic gift, tap into their interests and choose something you know will bring a lot of joy. If they enjoy wildlife, what about a bird nesting box or bird feeder, so they can enjoy watching the feathered friends frequent their garden on balcony. There are also a wide selection of bee or butterfly nesting boxes, plus hedgehog homes, which are great if they are keen to do their bit to help protect creatures in the wild. If they are music mad, then put together a mixtape or playlist you know they’ll love. You can even have it in the background for your romantic day or evening.
Alternatively, how about giving them an experience instead of a physical present? Cook their favourite meal or take them to a cookery class, where you can have fun creating something tasty together. If they love being outdoors, do your research and find a great location for a romantic walk, with plenty to see along the way – whether it’s the chance to immerse yourself in nature, take in spectacular views, or check out some fantastic local landmarks and historical sights.
Forget the flowers
For decades, we have been giving red roses as a sign of romantic love but the plant miles alone on importing the phenomenal amount of cut blooms brought in just for this one day, are obscene. That’s before you even take into consideration the resources required to grow these flowers in countries like Kenya or Equador (the largest rose producer in the world), where intense irrigation systems have to be used and where mass production is proving a serious environmental threat, plus the reams of plastic wrap that these bouquets are often presented in.
Bear in mind that the minute you cut a flower, it loses its roots and is already dying. It’s probably not a great symbol of your everlasting love to be handing your other half a bunch of fading flowers that are already on their way out.
Instead, why not consider a potted plant that has far greater longevity and can be enjoyed for years to come. You can make it extra special by selecting a pot you know they’ll love and will match their décor, showing just how thoughtful you are. If they lack the green thumbs or inclination to care for a houseplant, then a pot of bulbs is a great way to go. Whether tulip, narcissus, crocus or hyacinth, they will make for a beautiful indoor display and are perfectly seasonal. If you want to go one step further, you could both plant some bulbs together – inside or out – and watch them bloom in the spring as a wonderful way to celebrate your love.
Make memories whilst making a difference
Do things as a couple that will help create a brighter future for you both and others, particularly if it’s something your other half is already passionate about – show an interest and do an activity together. Get out and enjoy nature, plant a tree, lend a hand to a local eco-friendly charity, join a clean-up activity for a park, beach, or river in your area, or even start an allotment and start growing your own fruit and veg… There are so many things you could to together that will make a difference for the environment and mean you can spend quality time with each other. If you live together, make conscious and responsible decisions about the products you consume and make a pledge to reduce waste and plastic usage.
The brand-new Nassau Social Plastic range set to launch from LifestyleGarden® on March 18th is made exclusively from ethically recovered plastic that helps fight ocean pollution by improving the lives of those who collect it. By buying products made from Social Plastic, you are tackling global plastic pollution and changing the word by helping to transform the lives of people in poverty. Equally, with Nassau Social Plastic, you gain a beautiful set of outdoor furniture you can enjoy for years to come and then completely recycle at the end of its life.