February 14th has been celebrated as the day of love since the 14th century, when this Christian feast day started to become associated with courtly romance. A couple of centuries later, the tradition of couples exchanging greetings cards, flowers, and chocolates to show their love began to develop and has continued to this day.
In the last few decades, there has been some (fair) criticism that Valentine’s day has become too commercial. Some couples simply refuse to get involved, or come up with their own day to celebrate each other. But, in a world that can sometimes feel a bit harsh and cynical, (not to mention chilly in February) it can be nice to have a day to voice our appreciation, be warm, bright and celebrate the people we love
We believe there’s meaningful ways to be involved without buying into the consumerist frenzy. Beagle Co-founder simply makes her husband a card each year which she illustrates herself. And if we do want to get gifts, there are ways to do so while still being mindful of the environment – and of our wallets! So where can you find sustainable Valentine’s gifts to share with your partner or loved ones? Here are Beagle’s top tips!
It doesn’t get more natural than flowers from mother earth herself, right? A lovely bunch of flowers is a classy, traditional gift that will brighten up your loved one’s home and bring a smile to their face for days.
Unfortunately, many large-scale florists use flowers sprayed with chemicals and pesticides which harm the environment, then wrap the flowers in single-use plastic. But great news – there’s a growing number of local, organic florists who grow local varieties without the use of harmful chemicals. Find one near you on Flowers from the Farm.
If your loved one is a plant lover, you could take this idea even further and buy them a potted plant – either a houseplant or one they can plant in the garden. Something like a rose bush or little tree is a gift that will grow and blossom, making them smile year after year.
2. A plantable card
On the theme of gardening, everyone knows wildflowers are good for the bees – so why not buy a Valentine’s card that will help our buzzy friends? Companies like The Seed Card Company offer beautiful Valentine’s day cards printed with vegan ink and embedded with wildflower seeds. When they’ve been enjoyed in their original form, all it takes is a pot of soil and some TLC to transform them into bee-friendly wildflowers.
3. Homemade sweet treats
Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a handmade present – and cake is a sure-fire winner. You can even make it a day in advance – just pop in a Tupperware or tin, tie with ribbon, and voila. There are lots of love-themed recipes around – check out Good Housekeeping for mouth-watering suggestions including vegan chocolate truffles, red velvet cookies, and cinnamon churros.
Or try BBC Good Food’s Valentine’s-themed page for heart-shaped cakes, strawberry choux buns, indulgent cheesecake or boozy fudge. Whatever your lover’s taste, there’s something here for them.
4. A framed photo
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This is an easy and budget-friendly idea, but one that your loved one will treasure. Just print a photo of the two of you, then find a sustainable photo frame to finish the gift.
We’re a big fan of scouting charity shops, and you can find second-hand items online too, for example at Oxfam.
5. An adopted animal
Is your loved one a big animal person? One of those people who prefers their dog to humans, maybe? If so, this could be the perfect gift: help them to adopt an elephant, jaguar, or gorilla, and give the WWF vital funds to protect endangered species and habitats.
Or if you just can’t choose, give them WWF membership, which comes with a membership pack and magazine, and exclusive advice for sustainable living. Perfect for an eco-loving lover!
6. A pre-loved book
Books can be a really thoughtful gift, particularly if you write a note in it explaining why you thought your partner would like it. A hand-written love note in a beloved book will be treasured forever.
For top sustainability points, source your book pre-loved (this is also a great excuse to spend an afternoon poking round second-hand book stores and charity shops!) Or, if you’re buying new, check out Bookshop to support local independent bookshops.
7. Soft and sustainable underwear
Underwear is a classic romantic Valentine’s day gift – intimate and a bit cheeky, it can show your partner that you want to spoil them. Look out for brands that use sustainable fabrics such as bamboo or Tencel, such as Stripe & Stare, Boody, or Thought, and have some fun picking out designs.
One tip: it’s nice to choose something a little special, but make sure your choice is also comfy and practical, so it becomes a go-to in your loved one’s wardrobe. The most sustainable clothes (or pants!) are the ones we wear all the time.
8. An experience
Think outside the box (or gift bag), and get your valentine a gift that can’t be unwrapped. An experience you can enjoy together is a memory they will treasure forever – and there are loads of options out there. Try a spa day for two or take them to a restaurant they’ve been dying to try – they’ll love you for it.
Looking for something specific?
If you’ve already got a different gift in mind but want to find a more sustainable alternative, we can help! Install the Beagle Button in your browser and receive recommendations for more ethical products as you shop.