Valentine’s week is upon us.
We’re all familiar with the familiar messages sent by the media.
Impress her with chocolates, roses and fancy jewelry! Take her on a date that looks like something from The Bachelor!
Truth be told, not all women are like the well-coiffed contestants on the show—and not all men resemble the smooth-talking, bad-listening Juan Pablo.
There are nontraditional Valentine’s Day-ers out there, both single and attached.
I am one!
I believe that, while should honor romantic love, we can also honor the unconditional love provided us by certain family members and good friends.
Sometimes, I go out to eat with my parents and siblings on Valentine’s Day (which is also, coincidentally, my birthday). Because it is Valentine’s Day, there is sometimes some sort of “prix fixe” menu involving so-called romantic food items—oysters on the half-shell, molten chocolate cakes or specialty cocktails. This is both awkward and hilarious.
We are surrounded by couples in full Valentine’s Day regalia.
Some genuinely seem to be glowing and having an amazing time. Others look nervous or worried, as if they would rather be anywhere else—awaiting a root canal, perhaps, or a colonic, or scrubbing the entire kitchen floor with a tiny toothbrush. But this is what you should do, we tell ourselves!
Are you looking for a more homegrown way to save money, celebrate Valentine’s Day, and show them you care?
The following ideas can be adapted for significant others. They are also appropriate for close family and friends who also deserve some love and appreciation for all they do.
They are minimal cost and maximal love—a win-win combination!
1.) ‘IOU’ coupons.
Could a loved one use some TLC? How could you help? Think outside the box!
Could your mom use some help repainting her kitchen? Could you babysit your neighbor’s children for an afternoon, so she can do some errands? Would a good friend like yoga lessons?
Get out the pretty paper and markers and make coupons. “This coupon is good for ______.”
Get creative. The options are endless!
2.) Homemade baking mixes or soup mixes or food mixes in pretty jars.
Does your favorite aunt adore your chocolate chip cookies? Maybe your best friend prefers your dried lentil and chickpea soup? Well, give them the ingredients and instruction to make their own, whenever the urge may strike!
Find a few canning jars with snug-fitting tops. Amass the dry ingredients and layer the ingredients into the jars, so they resemble decorative sand paintings.
For chocolate chip cookies, add flour, then chocolate chips, then granulated sugar and brown sugar, then baking soda and salt. Top with chopped walnuts and a sprinkling of dried coconut. Write out your recipe on a pretty label and affix it to the jar.
Don’t forget to list wet ingredients required for the recipe—eggs, oil, vanilla, et cetera!
The same thing goes for vegetable soups! Layer dried lentils, chickpeas, salt, pepper, oregano, sage, thyme and dried vegetables into the jar. Write a recipe and attach it to the side of the jar. Don’t forget stock options!
3.) Homemade cosmetics in glass or plastic jars.
You don’t need to blow hundreds of dollars on fancy-schmancy skincare products to feel like a million bucks. Natural, organic ingredients can nourish the skin just as well, and without all the additives and preservatives!
One can make a variety of positively divine moisturizers, scrubs, and aromatic sprays for a fraction of the cost by combining essential oils and carrier oils.
Make a moisturizing facial oil by combining high quality carrier oils like sweet almond, apricot kernel, grape seed or olive oil with a few drops of an essential oil that would suit the recipient’s personality and/or beauty needs. For a light, flowery scent, try bergamot, palmarosa or geranium. For earthy, sensual types, try a few drops of jasmine, sandalwood or patchouli.
(Again, be aware of any allergies or sensitivities a recipient may have.) And, when in doubt, it’s best to err a little lighter with the essential oils! Best not to have people dropping in one’s wake.
And, remember, guys can use this, too! (Shhh. I won’t tell if you won’t.)
How about a cleansing yoga mat spray for your favorite yogi or yogini? Add a few drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit oil to water and place it into a small spray bottle. Voila!
Homemade cosmetic bottles and labels can be purchased in a variety of health food stores. I like to use cobalt glass ones because they preserve ingredients well and come with their own droppers!
Arrange your custom blends in a decorative box or basket and include a card bearing a funny message or poem.
What are your non-traditional Valentine’s Day gift ideas? I’d love to hear them!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr