Green Valentine- Gifts You Can Feel Good About for the Lady You Love

by - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Valentine's Day is under a month away. Perhaps more importantly, Galentine's Day is even sooner. Sure, one is a holiday made by card companies and the other is made up by a tv show ("Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our boyfriends and husbands and kick it, Breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies") but I don't think there's any harm done in taking a day to show someone that you care, romantically or otherwise.

 You may say "But Barbara, I can do this without shopping" and I 100% agree with you! Make some cards! Write them a sweet note! Just hang some white lights (romance, like life, is 90% lighting)! So many ways to show you care and some of the best won't be found online shopping! But if you are the type to buy a Val/Galentine's Day Gift, you have so many options other than the Valentine's Day aisle at your pharmacy (see if you can find one thing in that aisle made in America or out of eco-friendly materials. Just one. Often the quickest, so-called easiest option comes at the highest cost). I will throw out a couple of traditional ideas (chocolate, jewelry, etc) and a few ideas I think are just cool.

I am starting early because Etsy-shopping does take some foresight. Also, that last minute shopping never turns out quite as well.

Candles- Not the most original gift, but who doesn't like a house that smells good? I am still loving the humor and fun of these Etta Arlene candles,

from Decades Vintage
Cards- Closer to the day, I will try to write a blog of ideas to make your own cards. If you aren't crafty, you might try buying vintage cards (which you can find literally tons of on Etsy. I was honestly shocked). This is my new favorite card ever. Maybe funnier for a guy, but why don't we tell people "You're the nuts" anymore? You can also find sweet, hilarious, and Nicholas Cage-filled handmade cards.

Chocolate- This has to be the number one classic we all shop for during this holiday, but we can do a lot better! Your area has local chocolates and local candies. Start there. Hershey's isn't all made in the US anymore, and those individually-wrapped kisses aren't doing the environment any favors either. Buy your candy local, and if not local, at least Made in the USA. It is so easy. If you need a list of Made in America chocolates, there are plenty! Try USA Love Lists and Americans Working for potential buys, or you can look at the Made in America Store for a list you can shop straight from.  The best tip I can give is to just go to a local candy or grocery store and ask if you aren't sure. And if you miss the heart-shaped box, I bet you could make one on your own!

from Lateef Jewelry

Jewelry- Lateef Jewelry out of Missouri makes necklaces that you can personalize to your handwriting. I think this is such a lovely idea, and you could make it something simple like "I love you" or an inside joke. Also a cool gift between friends. If you want something else personalized, these Amy Waltz bracelets look beautiful and really special, as do these long distance rings from i Craft Cafe. I just think that would make such a sweet gift.

from Once Again Sam

I love Once Again Sam's shop in general, but I think these cameo silhouette necklaces are my favorite thing I have seen in a long time. If your Valentine is also a mom, getting her a necklace like this with her spawn on it is a homerun.

from julianneblumlo
Want to get them something right on trend in the moment? Druzy, which are the little sparkly gems that grow on top of other gems, seems to be on point. I remember loving those sparkly gems at the Carnegie as a kid, and its cool that something that a new resource is gaining value. Also, you can find it in every color, every shape, and every kind of jewelry. Who knew! My favorite for a romantic (or friendmantic) gift are these dangly earrings from julianneblumlo, because they look sweet and a little dainty. If your lady friend has a more graphic style, I like these triangular geometric earrings and the classic circular stud (I told you- every color).

from Mountain Metalcraft
I also really love these little knot rings from Mountain Metalcraft in Vermont (and only 26 dollars). It looks chic minimal when it is really thrifty minimal. If you are looking for another type of original jewelry, check out Nikola Jewelry (animals, science, and even pendants that look like genes) or My Selvaged Life's really cool zodiac necklaces. For a craftier lady friend, these cross stitch necklaces look pretty genius to me- you can change the design- or this color wheel necklace, which I have and can vouch for its loveliness.

More of a hiker than a fashionista? You could also buy paracord and make her a paracord bracelet! Sweet and thoughtful gift that goes with who she is. You could also do some of these recycled flip flop bracelets, which I received as a stocking stuffer and haven't taken off since.

If you want to go epically big (or you are thinking about getting fancied), I highly recommend Brilliant Earth, which sells ethically-sourced diamond jewelry. That's amazing, and they are an awesome company, but their vintage collection (including engagement rings that look both unique and beautiful) is my favorite.Basically every ring on the page could single-handedly get you hitched. You could propose to a stranger, and it would probably still work.
from Near and Dear Designs

Personalized Art- This may be too much for some people, but I think it could make for an especially memorable gift ONCE. Once, friend. Do not take this path more than once. Etsy offers tons of cool options, from these graphic circular portraits (you can even add pets) or the Harry Potter portrait you always needed. I also think these portraits are sweet and whimsical, fighting gravity and floating away.

Want something you can personalize as you go? I bought The Boy one of these scratch off maps for our first anniversary. Not only does he love it (and scratching off new places), but it is almost always the first piece people ask about when they come in our house. And it is printed on 100% recycled paper! Who knew? Make it into a "taking adventures together" kind of gift, maybe?

from succulent wonderland
Planters- I have seen a lot of pretty planters out there this year, and it might be a nice substitute to flowers. Most areas in the US aren't really flower-filled in February, so I would save the flower-buying for when you can get something local, and try buying a planter instead. My favorite one for the occasion is this "LOVE" succulent planter from Succulent Wonderland- how pretty is that? And I bet it would look pretty cool on a patio table or in a backyard. They even hang, from what I can read. Have a nerd you love in your life? Pokemon planters exist.

from Rock Hound Soap
Soaps and Skincare- There are so many options for self-care items on Etsy, I am willing to bet you could buy whatever you were thinking of from your own state.I used to think buying skin care gifts was a bit of a cop out, but I think if you do it thoughtfully, you might actually get a gift they will appreciate a long time. I would much rather experiment with stuff like this as a gift, because it feels pretty risky for everyday shopping. For this holiday, I like the idea of something like Rock Hound Soap, which combines a more practical gift with the super commercial gem-giving. And it does it for 5.50- beautiful and practical! Skin Foods by Aubrey, which is based out of Ohio, has a great variety of healthy products, and Aubrey is recommended by the Etsy editors.

Something from their Favorite Book or Movie- Show them you know them, and get something related to a book or film they love. For example, this Pride and Prejudice blanket is made in the USA out of partially recycled materials. And if that's her favorite book? You've nailed it!

from Sleepy Mountain
Specifically for Galentine's Day- In case you really want to blow up your Galentine's Day, I highly recommend making mosaics out of your friends' faces out of their favorite pop cans. If that isn't an option, write "Galentine's Day" into Etsy search, and marvel at what a wonderful world it is. I love these ovaries before brovaries spoons, and everyone already knows I am lusting over Sleepy Mountain's Leslie Knope Earrings.

Want something a little less Pawnee and a little more universal? This print from Flapperdoodle reminds that far distance friend of how much love is being sent through the telephone line.

from Gypsy Garden
Stuffed Animals- Hey, don't mock the Valentine's Day cheesy stuffed creature. Once, my dad and I spun and slid off the road, and a giant gorilla of love from the Boy may have just saved my life (ok, maybe not, but you never know!). You can find all sorts of little animals (like this insanely cute brontosaurus from Gypsy Garden) on Etsy. Bears for Humanity is a consistent great choice as well (and cute). You can also find stuffed animals in the toy section of consignment stores- send it through the washing machine, and you may have a winner.
from ampoids

Techie Stuff- They always list this for guys, but in what weird heteronormative world do only men have cell phones? Or care about them? I think you can get a pretty rock solid, thoughtful, and useful gift if you think about your lady friend's tech usage. You can, of course, find some great phone covers, like this one from Shoreberry. Amazon even has ones in bioplastic! Or, if they need a speaker for playing music off their phone (and really, who doesn't), these Altoid speakers are just the coolest. Only problem would having them accidentally be thrown away, but I love the recycling!

Ok, this is a big list, but you know you have a million options for this! The best advice I can give is to think about your lady specifically- what does she like and what does she need? The answers can be love and encouragement- it totally depends on her expectations! But no matter what your tradition or ideas, you can find an option better for the environment. Putting that little extra thought and time in never hurt anyone.

Happy shopping ladies and gents! If you are looking for more shopping inspiration, try my list of all the Eco-friendly and Made in America shopping lists! You can make a difference by spending the money you were going to spend anyway differently- Buy Less, Buy Better, and Make it Yourself!

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