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Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Posted by Elizabeth Burton on

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day | Living Deep

Millions of freshly cut flowers, boxes of individually wrapped chocolates, heart-shaped greeting cards and glittery gift bags are exchanged each Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, traditional holiday gifts can have a negative impact on the environment. Red roses alone are responsible for a major uptick in emissions. This is because most red roses are grown outside the US and then flow in from Latin America. In her article “The hidden environmental cost of Valentine’s Day roses” for Vox, Gaby Del Valle explains. Del Valle writes that “American shoppers are expected to spend nearly $2 billion” on roses this Valentine’s Day, most of which will be shipped in from “the sunny, mountainous regions of Colombia and Ecuador.” To meet demand, “30 cargo jets will fly from Colombia to Miami every day in the three weeks leading up to the big day and a similar amount fly out from Ecuador.” During the three weeks preceding Valentine’s Day each year, these “flower delivery flights burn approximately 114 million liters of fuel.” Burning this fuel means “360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide [are released] into the atmosphere.” Of course, after these flowers are flown in from Latin America, they are then loaded into climate-controlled trucks – producing even more emissions. According to the 2012 Penn State paper “Agricultural Alternatives: Cut-flower production,” each flower is responsible for roughly 3 kg of CO2 by the time they reach your florist or grocery store. At Living Deep, we believe conscious consumerism is the best way to buy. In this post, we propose a series of alternatives to the traditional gift ideas that hurt our planet. From biodegradable greeting cards embedded with seeds to organic cotton table linens, follow below for our list of sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts. Plus, find eight great date ideas to go with them!

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Themed Dinner-and-a-Movie Date at Home

For the History Buff Who’s Also a Foodie

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

First on our list of date ideas for an eco friendly Valentine's Day is to pick a movie and whip up a meal that both correspond to a theme you and your partner choose. In their article “40 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas That Are Anything But Cheesy” for Women’s Health, Lindsay Geller, Alexis Jones and Alyssa Girdwain suggest taking this date idea a step further.

Geller, Jones and Girdwain recommend “wearing couples costumes” during your themed dinner-and-a-movie date! For a 1920’s theme, queue up Midnight in Paris, “dress up in jazzy 'fits” and make a classic French meal like Chicken Basquaise or Quenelles de Brochet.

According to relationship expert Dr. Morgan Cutlip, PhD, dressing up and trying something different is the perfect way to spend quality time together and express the romantic love you have for your partner. Dr. Cutlip notes that thoughtful, creative dates are “‘a great reminder of your compatibility and genuine enjoyment of one another.’" 

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to a Home-Cooked Meal on Valentine’s Day

Not a great cook? Order in from your favorite restaurant instead! Just be sure to request the “no utensils” option when checking out to keep your Valentine’s Day as sustainable and zero waste as possible.

Another option is to have a meal kit delivered, allowing you and your partner to cook together without fretting over a complicated recipe or long list of ingredients. In her article “7 Best Meal Kit Delivery Services of 2022” for Eco Watch, Melena Gurganus recommends Purple Carrot, Snap Kitchen and Sunbasket. 

Sunbasket is Gurganu’s number one choice because the produce is 100% organic, the meat is antibiotic- and hormone-free and the eggs are farm-fresh. Even better, Gurganus notes that Sunbasket considers the impact to marine life when sourcing seafood.

Gurganus writes that “their approach to sourcing wild seafood was named Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program.” Sunbasket also “aims to support farmers who push for sustainable water management and crop rotations.”

Gift Idea: Stick Candle Holder from Grain and Table Linens from The Conscious Comfort

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Set the table in style with the Stick Candle Holder from Grain and table linens from The Conscious Comfort. The Conscious Comfort’s limited edition cotton tablecloth and napkins are made from 100% Texas-grown organic cotton that is spun and woven by artisans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

As with all Living Deep products, The Conscious Comfort linens are wrapped in 100% recyclable biodegradable packaging. Tags sewn into each product are printed using a mixture of soy inks and non-toxic toner. Choose between the brand’s herringbone and dobby styles for the heritage linens you’ll be using for years to come.

What could be more romantic than the warm glow of candlelight during a delicious dinner? Locally crafted from solid American ash by artisans in Washington State, the Stick Candle Holder is a lovely gift for someone special. Best of all, Grain’s Stick Candle Holder is ethically produced, made from rapidly renewable materials and FSC certified.

This candle holder is available in three different sizes, ranging in height from three inches to nearly ten inches tall. We recommend purchasing a variety of sizes to add dimension to your Valentine’s Day tablescape. Carry them over to your coffee table or nightstand after dinner to create ambiance during your movie date!

Dog-Friendly Scenic Hike

For the One Whose Valentine is “Man’s Best Friend”

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

If this year’s Valentine is your adventure-loving pup, consider taking a hike together. Break out your heart-shaped cookie cutter and bake a few biscuits your dog can enjoy once you reach your destination. This recipe from Suzanne Hamlin – published by The New York Times – pairs dark brown sugar with peanut butter, but you can leave out the sugar if desired. For a gluten-free batch rich in protein, consider this recipe from Small Farm Big Life

Some of our favorite dog-friendly hikes on the Olympic Peninsula – where our Living Deep team is based – include the Peabody Creek Trail and the Spruce Railroad Trail. Be sure to keep your pup away from the tidal rocks that surround these coastal trails. According to the National Park Service, the sharp stone, mussels and barnacles found in these areas “can cut their paws and lead to infection.”

Gift Idea: Eco-Friendly Cork & Upcycled Gore-Tex Collar, Upcycled Climbing Rope Leash and Skin and Pad Salve from Little Pine

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Prepare your pup for their adventure with sustainable Valentine's Day gifts from Little Pine. Some of our favorites include their Eco-Friendly Cork & Upcycled Gore-Tex Collar and Upcycled Climbing Rope Leash. After the hike, relieve any soreness, bruising or chafing with Little Pine’s Skin and Pad Salve.

Soothe their paws with this all-natural salve made from organic ingredients like arnica Montana herbal oil, coconut oil and neem oil. The salve also boasts a healing blend of botanical extracts like chamomile and oregano. 

Sustainable Valentine's Day gifts from Little Pine not only support your sustainable lifestyle and help you pamper your pet. Little Pine products also benefit artisans and suppliers who are often kept out of the market.

One of the most impressive elements of the Little Pine brand is their support for socially disadvantaged people across the globe. Little Pine demonstrates this support by working with suppliers that employ “immigrants, individuals facing disability, Syrian refugees [and] incarcerated indigenous women.”

Couples Yoga With Heart-Opening Poses

For the Couple That Loves a Challenge But Still Wants Romance

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Whether you plan to stay in or go out, signing up for a couples yoga class is another great way to spend Valentine’s Day with your loved one. You can also curate your own couples yoga routine – complete with the perfect playlist and heart opening poses – to truly impress and delight your partner. In her article “How Couples Yoga Will Strengthen Your Relationship” for Healthline, Kristin Buettner explains why yoga could be the perfect date idea for Valentine’s Day.

Buettner begins by noting that yoga is traditionally “an individual practice…but practicing yoga with another person...can have its own unique benefits.” According to Buettner, couples yoga can positively impact your relationship – “from stretching your levels of trust to strengthening your communication.” 

Quoting psychotherapist and yoga instructor Julia Lehrman, Buettner says “‘a couples yoga experience can serve as a kind of mini ‘retreat’ or ‘workshop’ to strengthen a relationship.’” Involving a series of joint poses, couples yoga “‘requires couples to really pay attention to each other in the moment and work together toward common goals.’”

Recent scientific research backs up Lehrman’s claims. Buettner writes that “studies have shown couples yoga has far-reaching benefits, from reduced anxiety to a better sex life.” Trying couples yoga on Valentine’s Day could help you and your partner reduce stress, improve communication, boost trust and increase intimacy in your relationship.

Alternatives to a Couples Yoga Date on Valentine’s Day

Not a fan of yoga? Consider a workout class instead. Writing for Cosmopolitan, Julia Pugachevsky identifies working out together as one of “13 Ways to Feel Immediately Closer to Your Partner.” Pugachevsky writes that “everyone knows how important exercise is in general, but even better is having your partner by your side as you push yourself to run that extra lap.”

In addition to encouraging each other to meet and exceed your fitness goals, “you’re also together when your body is releasing a bunch of endorphins.” According to Pugachevsky, this means that “you’ll associate all those happy post-exercise feelings with each other!” 

Gift Idea: Yoga Mat from Öko Living and Organic Heat Therapy Pack from The Conscious Comfort

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

For a sustainable Valentine’s Day gift you and your partner will use on February 14th and in each subsequent class, consider a pair of yoga mats by Öko Living. One of our favorites is the Chakra Energy Herbal Yoga Mat, which is dyed in a rainbow of seven vibrant colors. Each mat is naturally dyed with medical Ayurvedic plants like turmeric and holy basil that “help align your energy and support your optimal wellness.”

These handcrafted yoga mats are hand-loomed from ethically sourced GOTS Certified Organic Cotton that is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. Unlike other yoga mats, these are crafted with zero plastic and are free from harmful chemicals. This means you will not have to roll out the mat and wait a few days for that awful plastic off-gassing smell to dissipate. 

If you choose a hike, run or HIIT class instead of couples yoga and need more Valentine's Day gift ideas, consider an Organic Heat Therapy Pack from The Conscious Comfort. Perfect for everything from post-workout pains to period cramps, this reusable heat therapy pack is filled with sustainably harvested organic flax seeds that can be warmed in the microwave or cooled in the freezer.

Purchase this pack in three sizes – Mini, Medium and Large -- for all those in need of sustainable Valentine's Day gifts.

Glamping and Stargazing – Solo

For the One Who’s Happy Single this Valentine’s Day

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Flying solo this Valentine’s Day? Consider glamping and stargazing in your own backyard for a relaxing – and illuminating – Valentine’s Day staycation. From the conjunction of Venus and Mars to a full “Snow Moon,” there is a lot to see in the night sky right before, during and after Valentine’s Day.

Download a stargazing app like SkyMap, International Space Station or Pocket Universe to help you find and identify different stars, planets and other celestial happenings. This list of stargazing apps compiled by Lisa Joyner for Country Living has a few more options. 

Gift Idea: Ting Sling from Ting Studio and a Box of Fair Trade Chocolate Chocolates

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

We suggest giving yourself two sustainable gifts for Valentine’s Day this year: a Ting Sling and a box of fair trade chocolates. Spend a night under the stars in your backyard, at the beach or on a mountaintop snuggled up in a handmade hammock from Ting Studio.

Designed by Inghua Ting and Niki Smart, the innovative Ting Sling hammock is actually made from nylon seat belts for superior comfort and strength. The hammock’s unique design allows it to perfectly contour the user’s body.  

Two of our favorite fair trade chocolate brands are Alter Eco Foods and Loving Earth. Committed to helping farmers adopt regenerative agriculture  practices and create more sustaianble farms, Alter Eco Foods is a carbon neutral Certified B Corporation.

Their organic Valentine's Day truffles are made with organic, all natural ingredients like pure coconut oil and crunchy dark chocolate. As an added bonus, the non plastic packaging for these chocolates is plant-based and fully compostable.

Native Botanical Garden Tour

For the Naturalists with Green Thumbs

In the Pacific Northwest, we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a litany of stunning indigenous plants each and every season. While this Valentine's day gift and date idea might not work if your city is still sleeping under a blanket of snow, West Coasters can certainly participate!

For a date your significant other will never forget, pack a picnic lunch, some hot beverages and a sketchbook to take with you on a native botanic garden tour. Download the PlantSnap app on your phone or tablet to identify plants you would love to see in your own backyard. Consult your state's Native Plant Society for the best tours in your area.

Too cold to leave the house? Find a virtual garden tour you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March 2020, many local chapters of the California, Oregon and Washington State Native Plant Societies began offering virtual garden tours. Some offer online webinars and courses that help homeowners create their own native plant gardens at home.

Gift Idea: Edible Garden Design from Thrive Lot

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Give your nature-loving partner -- and yourself -- the perfect gift this Valentine's Day by working with Thrive Lot to create an edible landscape in your backyard. Thrive Lot pairs you and your partner with a Master Grower and dedicated Project Success Manager.

These experts will help you create a Detailed Design and Stewardship Plan that will result in a biodiverse, ecologically sound edible garden. With their help, you and your partner will develop a sustainable backyard garden teeming with life. Learn all about the process here.

Spa Day with Couples Meditation

For the Pair that Values Self-Care

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts for Valentine’s Day

If both partner and self love the spa but want to focus solely on each other this Valentine’s Day, consider an at-home spa experience with couples meditation. Draw a bath, make a pseudo-sauna in your steam room and sip some herbal tea next to your partner for a relaxing afternoon.

Engaging in a couples meditation after your spa experience can help you feel even closer to each other this Valentine’s Day. Mindfulness company Headspace offers a free ten-minute guided couples meditation on their website here. Designed to decrease stress, nurture intimacy and help you treat each other with more kindness, this meditation was repurposed from the Headspace Relationships course. 

Gift Idea: Explorer Trio from Biophile with LEMPI Hand Cream, LEMPI Scent Diffuser and LEMPI Scented Candle from Skandinavisk

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts ideas for Valentine’s Day

Next on our list of sustainable Valentine's Day gifts are the Explorer Trio from Biophile and candle, diffuser and/or hand cream from Skandinavisk. Each of these products boasts pure essential oils and sustainable materials that support both your skincare routine and your sustainable lifestyle. Including a refining essence, a rejuvenating serum and a nourishing oil, the Explorer Trio from Biophile is the ideal gift set for a partner with sensitive skin.

All Biophile serums and oils are PETA Certified Cruelty free skincare products – perfect for the ethical consumer. Similarly, Skandinavisk’s LEMPI hand cream is both vegan and cruelty-free. This moisturizing organic hand cream contains certified organic ingredients like aloe vera leaf extract, glycerin, shea butter and sweet almond oil. Packaging is made from recyclable and biodegradable materials.

Of course, no spa experience would be complete without a candle or diffuser -- both of which make a great sustainable Valentine's Day gift. Both the LEMPI Scent Diffuser and LEMPI Scented Candle from Skandinavisk arrive in a gorgeous painted glass vessel. Unlike a standard soy candle, the LEMPI Scented Candle is a hand poured candle made from a Sweedish rapeseed wax blend.

The notes of peony, rose, strawberries and moss in the LEMPI collection are lovely year-round but especially fitting for Valentine’s Day. This collection’s name – “LEMPI” – actually comes from the Old Finnish word for “love.” Give yourself and your partner the entire LEMPI collection as a gift set

Redoing a Room in Your House

For the Couple That Believes Home is Where the Heart is

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts ideas for Valentine’s Day

Have you and your partner been longing for new floors since moving into your home years ago? Does the guest room that became your home office need a makeover? For a truly special Valentine’s Day, consider redoing a room – or corner of a room – in your house together. Quoting author and psychotherapist Tina Tessina in an article for Huffington Post, Kelsey Borresen explains why working on home improvements together can be meaningful for couples.

According to Tessina, “‘if you work well together, and can solve problems as they come up without fighting, a reno may strengthen your relationship.’” Furthermore, ‘“a successful renovation will make you feel successful as a partnership, which really strengthens a relationship.’” 

In her article Give the Gift of DIY: 7 Home Improvement Ideas for Valentine’s Day for Realtor.com, Ana Durrani agrees. Quoting Massachusetts interior designer Christina DePina, Durrani writes that “‘DIY or home improvement projects create lasting memories reflective of a special bond between people.’” Pick eco-friendly brands or find used items at a thrift shop or antique store to ensure your home improvement project is as eco-friendly as possible.

If your partner is stressed by renovations already underway, consider doing the project on your own as an eco friendly gift for Valentine's day.

Gift Idea: Non Toxic Paints from ECOS, Lighting from David Trubridge and Nature's Plank HPD from Teknoflor

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts ideas for Valentine’s Day

Next on our list of sustainable Valentine's Day gifts are paints from ECOS, lighting from David Trubridge and flooring from Teknoflor. For a larger home improvement project, consider Nature's Plank HPD from Teknoflor. Made across the world in Germany, this Declare Certified flooring from Trubridge is the ideal alternative to both pergo and hardwood. Shoppers can choose from sixteen different colorways – each designed to mimic the natural grain of wood. However, this flooring is tree free. Instead, it is bio-polyurethane based.

For a smaller project, consider odorless, water-based house paints from ECOS. With more than 1300 colors to choose from, shoppers can use ECOS non-toxic paints in any room of their home. Better yet, these paints are free of VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) which can cause headaches and other ill effects. For a tiny home improvement that will instantly transform any space, consider David Trubridge’s eco-friendly Hīnaki light fixture.

This beautiful piece was inspired by fish traps made by the Maori people, who call them Hīnaki. While the traps were traditionally woven together from vines, Trubridge’s Hīnaki pendant light is made from natural bamboo sheets grown overseas. This light also represents the designer’s first foray into lighting – making it an especially lovely gift for the special someone who is also a first-time homeowner. Hinaki pendants are shipped in zero waste packaging.

Taking the Day Off to Volunteer

Give Back to the Long-Distance Partner Who Gives Their All

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts ideas for Valentine’s Day

Last on our list of sustainable Valentine's Day date ideas is to volunteer for an organization your partner is passionate about. You can volunteer alone, with your partner or with friends, but this is particularly perfect for a long-distance loved one. Assisted living facilities, homeless shelters and food banks are just a few options.

Gift Idea: Send a Card from Flowerink to Your Long-Distance Partner with Details About Your Day Volunteering and How Much You Appreciate Their Kind Heart

Eight Great Date Ideas and Sustainable Gifts ideas for Valentine’s Day

For a zero waste gift, consider Valentine's Day cards from Flower Ink. Illustrated and printed in Montreal on handmade paper made from recycled post-consumer material, these cards are incredibly special. They are embedded with Bird’s Eye, Clarkia, Black Eyed Susan, Sweet Alyssum, Catchfly and Snapdragon seeds. As such, these cards can be planted afterwards.

This makes them lovely Valentine’s Day gifts for long-distanced partners because your SO will see the flowers and think of you! Our favorite greeting card for February 14th is the You + Me card pictured above. Detail your day of volunteering within the card, or express admiration for your SO’s thoughtfulness and generosity.


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