Valentine's Day is a great mid-winter break. Many of us have given up wine, chocolate, carbs, etc after the Christmas holiday. Plus binge watching our favorite TV shows has become our new favorite activity. That makes Valentine Days a great mini vacation, a chance to indulge in a treat, get out and about and enjoy family and friends.
It's also a great for small, indie and local business. The first few months of the new year can be quite slow for many shops and a gift giving holiday is a sweet benefit.
Holidays can be a bit tricky when you've started on your Zero Waste/Plastic Free Journey. I often find myself questioning and evaluating choices. How do you balance tradition with new insights? Here are some simple gift ideas for a sustainable celebration.
GIVE REUSABLE and REFILLABLE- This includes coffee mugs, water bottles, beeswrap, lunch containers and bags. It's really helpful to have more than one of any item. This way you can keep a mug at work, have one in the car and also one waiting to be cleaned. Multiples is especially helpful if you are like me and struggle with organization.
SHOP LOCAL FOR TREATS- Valentine's Day is all about the goodies but the packaging of treats can be super wasteful. If you want to totally avoid excess packaging shop as local as possible and bring in your own container. You can purchase yummy, handmade chocolates at your neighborhood candy shop. Local coffee roasters often have simple brown bags for coffee beans. Many food producers pack in reusable glass jars. The added benefit of shopping Main St is you are giving an economic boost to your local stores and community.
CARDS- I still love "snail mail". There's something really sweet about writing a message to someone far away. It's so much more personal than an email. Most cards nowadays are packaged in plastic. This can make it tough if you want to avoid excess plastic. I understand the dilemma, for an artist to get their cards in shops they need the plastic. Shop owners want the plastic because it keeps the cards fresh. A few ways around this are to contact an artist directly to see if you can purchase plastic free cards. If you do purchase cards wrapped in plastic make the life of the card a long one. Instead of writing directly on the card- write on a separate piece of paper and encourage the card to travel around. This is really fun- a nice chain letter.
FLOWERS- It can be hard to purchase flowers plastic free if you live in a cold area. One alternative is bulbs. I love paper whites at this time of year. You can find a beautiful dish, fill with pebbles, marbles, shells and pop in a few paper whites. A lovely winter treat.
GIFT CERTIFICATES- Part of the fun of celebrating is indulging. Giving a gift certificate to a local restaurant, theatre, music venue or yoga class can really help beat the mid-winter blahs.
SHARE THE LOVE- Holidays are also a great chance to thank community workers. Road crew, police, mechanics, fire, mail- there are some many people who work to make our communities vibrant and safe. Purchasing a goodie from your local bakery is appreciate in so many ways.
Holidays can definitely be a challenge for your Zero Waste/Plastic Free journey. Thoughtful gifts that support local, indie businesses are the best choice.