Sunday, January 17, 2010

Superhero Secrets: Green is the new Pink!

Some Valentine's ideas from the Greenhabilitator...

According to the American Greetings Corporation, around a billion Valentines are sent each year globally, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. And that doesn't even include all of those cute little Valentines that children exchange at school each year.

While some of us may be slightly sentimental, keeping all the Valentines given to us by our loves, I'd be willing to bet that most are eventually thrown away. Add to that the 36 million boxes of chocolate that are sold each year, the teddy bears, the flowers, and all the other heart shaped tchotchkes and you have yourself an enormous amount of waste!

But fear not! The Greenhabilitator is here today with some Superhero Secrets to make your Valentine's Day a little bit more sustainable.

For the Kids...

As a somewhat sneaky parent, I end up sending Fletcher's Valentines to the recycle bin a few days after he brings them home. What a waste, right? Trees are cut down, Valentines are manufactured in a pollution-spewing plant half way around the world, they're packaged in plastic, and shipped here to us only to be used and immediately tossed aside.

This year, we won't be stepping foot into a store though. Instead, we're using Green Bean's idea for recycled crayons. Last year, she and her kids fulfilled all of their green Valentine's dreams (reusing or recycling, making instead of buying, involving the children and avoiding commercial Valentines) by making adorable little heart-shaped crayons.

Not only do I have a ginormous box of mixed-and-matched, worn-down, used-up and mostly-broken crayons, I even have the exact heart-shaped mould she used that I found at Goodwill about a year ago. The kids are going to love this!

Another thing they love is using their imaginations. They like to collect all of the glue, glitter, magazines, construction paper, ribbon and fabric scraps in the house and can spend hours working on little craft projects. With some guidance and a heart-shaped stencil I'm pretty sure they'll have the most creative Valentines in their classes.

You can also use up some of those old, scratched-up CDs with these recycled CD Valentines from Fave Crafts Blog or put those tiny fingers to work folding origami heart Valentines.

For the Teacher...

If there's anyone who deserves a little rest and relaxation, it's a teacher.

Here's a tutorial for the Heat Therapy Bags that I made for my son's preschool teachers last year. These are great for sore muscles, cramps, tension headaches, or just to cuddle up with on a cold night! You can use scraps of fabric that you already have, rice or buckwheat, and a few drops of a soothing essential oil blend. A very frugal and practical gift.

This year I'm planning to enlist the kids' help in making the scented bath salts I found on Bake Space. I found a few cute little jelly jars at the thrift store that they'll fit in perfectly.

And if you like to sew, or have a budding seamstress in the house, these little Valentine's Sachets from Craft Gossip are a very sweet idea.

For the Romantic... walks you through Valentine's Day hour-by-hour with an array of things to do, sustainable gifts to give, and ways to celebrate. For example, at 7:00 am you can start the morning with coffee that is fair-trade, shade-grown, and organic, from a brewer who uses passive solar energy and wind-powered vents. At noon, swing by the farmer's market and pick up some food for a picnic lunch. And at 10:30 pm you can hit the {bamboo} sheets after sharing a bottle of organic champagne with your sweetie.

Better yet, visit to find a local (or not so local) bed and breakfast for the weekend. You'll be supporting a small, independent business while spending some alone time together.

For the Mom...

I am totally geeking out over these cutest-thing-ever Photo Blocks I saw on Little Birdie Secrets. (Photo courtesy LBS website.) I have my photos and mod podge lined up and am just waiting for the hubby to cut some of our scrap wood tomorrow. I'm making one for Macy's teacher, some for the grandmas and great grandmas and probably a few for myself as well.

Of course, if you're just not feeling up to a DIY project, you can always find fair trade, handmade or sustainable gifts on websites like Ten Thousand Villages, World of Good, Green Heart Shop, and Etsy. What mom wouldn't love a hand stamped Circle of Names necklace like this one from Etsy artist Tiny Token Designs? (Hint, hint!)

As always, I think the key to have a sustainable holiday of any sort is planning ahead. Take two minutes today to make out a list: people you can send ecards to, people you need to make cards for, how many Valentines your kids will need for school, and what kind of gifts you'll need to make or buy. A little pre-planning goes a long way and keeps you out of the store -- and away from all the mass produced crapola -- on Valentine's Eve.

Have some great green Valentines ideas of your own? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below!

This post is my submission for the January APLS Carnival entitled Greening Valentine's Day. The carnival will be hosted at Retro Housewife Goes Green on January 19th.


Kelly said...

valentines is a holiday? kids do valentines? teachers get valentines? sounds weird and totally OTT! my green idea idea is send the 1, just the 1 you love a car2 valentine message in an e-card and forget the rest! 90% green.

Green Bean said...

Hey, thanks for mentioning our crayon Valentines. I have no idea what we'll do this year. We did the crayon ones 2 years in a row and I'm melted. Looking for new ideas. I'll have to investigate your other ideas.

To the other Kelly, if only we could do just one! That would be heaven. I don't know about the poster's school but my kids' school has a whole lesson plan built around Valentines and delivering them in a post office style thing to each kid. I guess its time to get busy and see what's in the recycle bin.

Wonder-ful said...

Thank you for the crayon idea! I'm a teachers aide in two classrooms. I switched over from giving sweets to giving pencils for holidays (they keep it in the classroom and use them).

I also tend to stick around at the end of the year and 'rescue' the old crayons that would normally be tossed. Now I have a project for them :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Thanks for the ideas! Those really are the cutest-thing-ever photo blocks.

Robbie said...

I love the crayon idea! OK I confess I'd bought valentines on deep clearance last year but I may just hang onto those for kindergarten and make those now! (Plus it will rid our home of the temptation of those random crayons!)

panamamama said...

GREAT ideas! Love the crayon idea for school. Think I'll have to copy! :)

Linda A said...

As a teacher I like the heat therapy bag idea. Thanks for all these suggestions.

Linda at Citizen Green

Wonder-ful said...

I mentioned this to one of the teachers I work with. We're going to try turning this into the class' science fair project and have them turn their milk cartons into gift boxes to put the hearts in.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin