Let’s try keep this holiday sustainable shall we?
Worldwide, Valentine’s day was a $23.9 billion dollar industry in 2022. In 2022, Canadians spent on average $64 on Valentine’s day, with the top 5 gifts being jewelry, tickets, lingerie, flowers and chocolate. Do you know which one I’d pick out of that list? Tickets.
For me, my husband and I don’t have any plans. I will probably write him a nice note and give him some extra kisses. With the cost of everything right now, I’m happy to save the money for something we actually need.
BUT- don’t get me wrong. I love the romance with your partner and excitement of your kids that Valentine’s day can bring. If we hadn’t just went out for supper, maybe we would be going on a date.
So if you’re looking to spoil your loved ones, here are some suggestions on how to keep the day a bit more sustainable!
If you’re shopping for flowers, buy them at a local business. Supporting local is always a better option than a chain store. Local flower shops might even put the flowers in newspaper instead of plastic for you if you ask! Local shops may also carry flowers from Canadian growers.
Go the extra mile and skip the roses if they aren’t Canadian grown. Most of Canada’s roses are imported from South America and Africa. According to the Washington Post, in the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day – 30 cargo planes will travel from Columbia to Miami each day, with each plane carrying more than a million flowers. When the plane lands, the roses are loaded into about 200 refrigerated trucks, trucked to a warehouse and made into bouquets to be shipped across North America. Now I don’t know about you, but just thinking of how far the roses had to travel to make it to my table and the carbon footprint associated with them makes me a little sick. Not to mention, they are expensive and will die within the week.
Instead, pick a house plant! Give the gift of a cutting or a new houseplant to a friend. They will last much longer than a bouquet. House plants clean the air in your home, make beautiful natural decor and when the person sees it they will always think of you!
Whenever you reach for the chocolate bar in the checkout line at the grocery store or gas station..think again.
Did you know that 70% of the worlds cocoa production comes from West Africa?
Did you know that TWO MILLION CHILDREN are trafficked and forced to become child slaves in the cocoa fields of Ghana and the Ivory Coast alone? These children are 5-16 years old, working under the worst form of child labor conditions. Long hours and nights, being abused, wielding machetes in fields full of chemicals without proper PPE. The average cost to buy a child slave for a farm is $250. How sick is that? Now imagine your own children or any kids you know aged 5-16. Imagine them working long hours. You can’t even imagine that, let alone those children you love working in these deplorable conditions as a child slave. This should be enough for you to skip the big name chocolate bar.
Twenty years ago, Hersheys, Nestle, Mars, and Cadbury pledged to end child slavery in their chocolate production. They have failed miserably to reach their targets, and still cannot trace where their cocoa comes from.
Search out ethical, fair trade and sustainable (most cocoa farming is also linked to deforestation) chocolate. Check out small chocolate makers in your area and ask them about the ethics of their chocolate. Do they know where their cocoa comes from? You might even be able to purchase their chocolate without packaging as well.
Local shops in Saskatoon to check out include Purdy’s Chocolatier, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Those Girls at the Market and Harden Huyse Chocolates.
I’m not going to tell you to send your kid to school without Valentines for their friends. Sure the waste bugs me, as they are just a little card that gets looked at for a few minutes and then trashed at the end of the day. Yet, I still don’t think its worth it to deprive your children of this fun.
A fun craft with your kids could be making homemade Valentine’s for their friends. You can use things you have at home, like construction paper or even old art that they don’t want to throw out. However if you don’t have the time (like me usually), then head to the store and buy some of the normal foldable character ones. It’s always fun for them to pick them out, just lean towards ones without glitter, shiny material, cellophane, no scratch off areas and if you can avoid it- no stickers. Buy ones that you know are just paper and can be recycled at the end of the day.
Same goes for any cards you’re buying for your loved ones. Skip the razzle dazzle and go for one that is just paper or make it yourself.
If you receive a Valentine’s card this year, cut off the writing and save the picture for next year. You can write on the back of it to give it to someone, and that card will get reused one more time before heading to the recycle bin.
If those paper cards can be recycled, put them in your recycle bin and not the trash at the end of the holiday.
If you are sending things to school or daycare for your kids, try to keep the waste down there as well. The last few years, I have been sending cupcakes from Crave to my daughters daycare- they now come in cardboard packaging which is awesome! One of my friends texted me this morning to say that she is sending gift cards for one Dairy Queen cone with her child to daycare to minimize on waste. I think that is such a great idea too! Get creative! My daughter is in kindergarten and the teacher just said to send Valentines- so I won’t be sending an extra grab bag for each kid filled with candy, pencils, chocolates etc.
Date Day or Night
My husband and I have really started to enjoy day dates because our kids are in school and daycare, which means no extra expense for a babysitter!
My favourite is to pick a beautiful weather day and spend some time outside- you know I’m all about getting those 1000 hours outside! Since it’s winter, try out snow shoeing or cross-country skiing. Borrow the gear from a friend or rent it for the day. Nothing tops a day off outside with a yummy lunch and a pint afterwards! It feels so nice to get outside and you will make some memories together.
For an evening date, choose something you wouldn’t normally do! Head out to the art gallery, a show or a movie. It doesn’t need to be ON Valentine’s day. Take in a nice supper but don’t spend it on your phones. Leave them in your pocket, and slowly eat and visit. Take the time to date one another, just don’t woof down your meal and head home.
In the evening if you are feeling the love, put on something from your closet. There is no need to go spend $100 on sexy lingerie that you know you aren’t going to be wearing very often. Reach into the back of your closet, I’m sure you might already own a few pieces that will work just as good;)
You know how much I love experience gifts! Get tickets to a play, movie or a sporting event. Plan a surprise date day or night. But it doesn’t just have to be out of the house nights. Plan to cook a fancy or easy meal at home together,, like pizza or tacos!
OR even better–skip the gifts all together. Maybe your partner likes acts of service, so clean the pantry that is overfilling (this should be my gift to Dillon!). Volunteer together. Donate the money you would have spent on a gift to the charity or organization that has a cause that calls to you.
Every kid in your child’s class doesn’t need a plastic bag full of candy and junk. Your pets don’t need a new toy. Your kids don’t need a huge gift basket full of new stuff. They already have coloring books, enough clothes and stuffies. If you love getting your kids something, just try to buy things they need, and try to be mindful of what you are purchasing.
If you’re single, do something for yourself!
Make the Earth Your Valentine
Get out into nature. Join an organization focused on climate, sustainability or conservation. Send those emails you’ve been meaning to send about annoying packaging or how you think a company you use could do better. Follow creators focused on sustainability. Make a donation to an organization that works to fight climate change. Show our planet the love!
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas for this Valentine’s Day. Let me know which one is your favourite!
Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you for reading this. I really feel the love!
Keep DOing More Good,