Wednesday, February 3, 2016

9 Ideas for a Waste Free Valentine's Day

Love is in the air! I always have and always will love Valentine's Day! Any excuse to show my loved ones massive amounts of affection is a day to look forward to my opinion! I have so many fond memories of Valentine's Day. From moments when my mom would surprise my brother and I with chocolate puddings with heart shaped sprinkles, to the time my now husband spent hours laboring over the most perfectly decorated chocolate covered strawberries. I also remember the time my mother spent weeks helping create and design the world's most awesome Valentine's Day card receptacle out of recycled trash and aluminum foil. I still have it. I might have more cherished memories from this holiday than any other. Valentine's Day is just special to me. It was always filled with happiness and true gestures of love. However, today, the pressure to buy wasteful gifts, such as cards, candy, and every other cliche gift you can think of, floods our TV commercials, magazines, and just about every other advertisement that we come across around this time of year.

Valentine's Day is just another holiday that corporations can capitalize on our wasteful and consumerist behavior. You almost wonder if it's taken some of the true meaning out of this special day. You buy something, you gift it, you forget it. At least, that's the general cycle I went through when purchasing gifts.

If you go back up and read some of my most cherished Valentine's Day moments, you'll notice one crucial thing. They were memories created by homemade gifts. They just meant more. But how can something that is practically free resonate so deeply? A diamond is forever! I think it comes down to mindfulness. When we make the time to create something for someone out of love, we consciously become connected and are in the moment. We're living. Gifts should evoke a memory.

Well, I'm going to stop getting all sappy and teary eyed. Thank you pregnancy hormones! I know it's hard to come up with waste free, memory creating gifts, in today's world, so I have put together a wonderful list for you.

  • Baked Goods. Nothing says love like sugary, baked goodness. Whether it's cookies, brownies, cakes, or pies, you can't go wrong.
  • Coupon Book. These are so much fun! Whether it's a gift to your spouse, to your kids, from your kids, or to other friends and family, you can get so creative with the services that you offer. Once the coupons are utilized, stick them in a scrap book, recycle the paper, or compost them.
  • Picnic. If you're lucky enough to live in a warm climate, take your sweetie to a park or a special place among nature and enjoy a picnic. I love picnics! Why has their popularity diminished? Make sure to leave your phones in the car so you can devote the afternoon staring into each others' eyes. I know, that was probably a little too sappy. If you live in a colder climate, lay that picnic blanket on the living room floor and light some candles. It's just as romantic! Utilize zero waste practices like using your own containers and buying in bulk when purchasing the food to make this waste free.
  • DIY Perfume. Or cologne. What better way to be constantly reminded of the one you love than wearing the scent they personally created for you! The scents can made to showcase your favorite flower or favorite herb, and it's toxic free! Check out this tutorial here, for instructions on how to make your own solid perfume. Pick up a antique glass container for your finished product to add another level of elegance!
  • Recreate Your First Date. Reliving that moment that when you first fell in love will bring back many special memories and remind each one of you the reasons you fell head over heels for each other to begin with. Depending on what your first date was, you might have to utilize some of your new zero waste skills to avoid trash like bringing your zero waste kit. It will give a fun new spin on an old memory!
  • Animoto Video. Put together a memorable and special video tribute to your loved one. Include pictures and videos that highlight special moments in your relationship. Pair the movie with waste free snacks and drinks to make this a cinema event your honey will never forget! 
  • Play List. We always have those special songs that make us reminisce of special times in our lives. Surprise your loved one with a play list of all of the songs that have a special meaning.
  • Groupon. Check out your local offers to see what memorable experiences you can find for your loved ones. According to my local listings, there's go cart riding, horse back riding lessons, yoga lessons, massages, and even a way to get a scuba certification. Way better than a box of chocolates! Once your activity is purchased, you can opt to have the coupon emailed and sent to the recipients phone. Once you arrive at the location, all you have to do is show them the coupon code.
  • Prepare a Romantic Dinner. I love when my husband carefully plans and prepares a romantic meal to impress me. It's just so sweet! You could make this extra fun by giving your meal a theme, blind folding your significant other while you feed them, filling the house with candles, or preparing something that you both have never tried before. You can really get creative with this! Prepare healthy meals with items you can get package free such as fresh produce, baked goods, meat/cheese from the butcher counters, and bulk items. Trust me, you will not be limited on meal ideas! If you want to see what I'm fixing for dessert this year check out my zero waste recipe for  Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles!
Fill life with memories, not stuff! Valentine's Day should be about expressing your love for someone with actions, not with meaningless purchases so, get creative, have fun, and don't forget to keep it waste free!

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