Ethical Valentine's Day gifts
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Date: 22 January
Image: Patrizio Saliani
'It is unclear quite how it became linked from the Middle Ages onwards with a festival of romantic love'
Suzanne Elvidge guides you though what you can buy for your loved one for Valentine's Day
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St Valentine's Day is celebrated on 14 February, and is named after one of two or three early Christian martyrs, but it is unclear quite how it became linked from the Middle Ages onwards with a festival of romantic love.
Love Christian Aid
Visit the Surefish Shop for Valentine's Day gifts for your loved one. Christian Aid gets money from whatever you buy!
Or why not buy a gift from our good friends at Traidcraft?
Valentine’s Day Food
Food is a big part of Valentine's Day, often involving a lot of chocolate.
Rather than driving all those eco-unfriendly miles (and probably arguing who gets to be designated driver), why not have an eco meal at home, using as much local food as possible.
The internet is full of ideas for food, from breakfast via romantic comfort food (it is still winter, after all) to cocktails.
What about oysters? If you don’t fancy them, there are plenty of other aphrodisiac foods (or at least the myths behind them).
Pretty things for Valentine’s Day
Wooden pants? French designer Sophie Young of g=98 has created underwear that is both ethical and sexy, from white pine tree clippings from managed forests, harvested at the same time as normal pruning.
The fabric is called Lenpur®, and is soft, biodegradable, naturally antibacterial, and cool in summer and warm in winter, and the entire production facility is in a village in France.
There are boxer shorts for him and bras, pants and thigh highs for her.
For other suppliers of sexy and eco undies, look at Eco Boudoir, Enamore, Urban Fox, Ciel, Luva Huva and Greenleaves from Figleaves. And there’s Pants to Poverty – more cute than sexy!
Go to More Than Pretty Knickers to find out more about ethical undies.
Valentine’s Day gifts
Say it with flowers – and not just on Valentine’s Day but once every two months with a multi-mail bouquet.
Alternatively, if flowers aren’t their thing, what about an instant vegetable garden?
As I said before, chocolate always goes down well as a Valentine’s Day gift (with me, anyway – hint, hint), but there is also a huge range of eco heart-shaped gifts out there, including fair trade heart-shaped soap, fair trade heart-shaped incense holders, hand-carved hearts (they also have hand-carved words as well), heart-shaped bamboo spoons, a heart-shaped necklace or a pile of elephant poo paper in a heart shaped box!
Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like something you have made yourself, and you can get the kids involved too.
Make an eco Valentine’s Day basket, using a decorated basket or a box covered in pictures from magazines and fill it with all your (and your partners’) favourite eco goodies, paint wine glasses and buy a bottle of bubbly to go with them, or put a pile of heart-shaped pretzels in a fabric bag.
Running on a budget? Make your own oatmeal milk bath and have a romantic soak together.
Make some tiny boxes from greetings cards or paper (here’s another paper box) and put a sweet letter in each one spelling out ‘I love you’, or fill them with heart shaped jelly sweets.
You could make a box of love quotes or a memory box, or just leave ‘I love you’ notes around the house (on recycled paper of course!)
Once you’ve wrapped your present (perhaps using a scarf, or pages from old atlases), tie a crystal heart to it.
Valentine’s Day cards
There are some gorgeous recycled paper Valentine’s Day cards out there, but you could also make your own.
Whatever you do – Happy Valentine’s Day from Surefish!
Suzanne Elvidge is a freelance writer and Surefish Ethical Living Editor
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