I also, just in general principle, sort of object to those holidays wherein the primary raison d'etre seems to be about people feeling obligated to Get Something for other people. (My hubby, bless his heart, asked me for several years after our marriage if I wanted him to pay attention to "Sweetest Day," which falls somewhere in October. I told him, "Don't you dare." Now that is a silly holiday.)
And now we have kids--so I'm now faced with that whole delightful process of finding shoeboxes and having my kids decorate them, so that their classmates can each put a mass-market sheet of heavily colored paper into it, read them when they get home, and then throw it all away. Grr. (Okay, not to be a total Scrooge...I remember as a kid thinking all this was supremely cool, and it was just as wasteful then...) Last year I finally put my foot down and said no more mass-produced Valentines for the kids. We made our own--took the easy route and had each kid make one Valentine drawing, which we copied on a color copier and cut into individual valentines, and that worked very well. This year they both have smaller classes, only 20 or so to make apiece, so we may take a more individual approach...it's actually fairly easy, or it can be, depending on how much the kids do individually vs. how much mom and dad help out, and how complicated each one is. (We tend to default a lot to printing sticker-labels on our printer; not as green, but saves a lot of time--a red construction paper heart with a "Happy Valentine's Day!" sticker on one side and "Your Friend, Joshua" on the other is incredibly speedy, and there's a lot of leeway between that and some of the more complex kid-crafts you can do for this!)
It seems to me that people are divided into four main categories with regards to Valentine's Day; Below I'll give a link or a few for each of them:
1. People who are not significantly othered, but wish they were, and who get sad and crabby about this holiday. (This was me pretty much up until my wedding.) For you, I'd suggest reading up on some of the really un-green, unjust structures this holiday maintains, like like conflict diamonds, the chocolate trade, and the "Hidden Life of Cut Flowers." Feed the crabbiness; it'll make you feel better. :-) Or go online and drool over hot movie stars who are active in the green movement. And remember that dark chocolate is medically proven to lift your spirits.
2. People who are not significantly othered, and who don't give a rat's patootie about the holiday: Dude, there's nothing much to say here except Bravo! Have a "love the Earth" party or something, watch one of the Oscar-nominated green documentaries, plan your spring garden, or heck, just do whatever you would normally do!
3. People who are significantly othered and want to celebrate Valentine's Day with their sweetie in the form of gifts: I'd say, definitely be acquainted with the issues mentioned under category 1--if you do wish to buy gifts for one another, try to be aware of where the jewelry, candy, or flowers come from and how they were produced, or go outside the box and try some other kind of gift. (Last year I presented my sweetie with a coupon promising that I would cook him a grass-fed steak dinner, since I don't think he's had a decent steak in years because I won't buy the stuff unless I know where it comes from, and even now that I can find pasture-raised beef I only do it rarely...) Let me at this point also put in a plug for my absolute favorite chocolatier ever, Black Dinah Chocolatiers, who make the most incredibly orgasmically lovely chocolates out of their kitchen on a tiny isolated island in Maine. I have never, and I mean never, had chocolate like this before.
4. People who are significantly othered and who don't give a rat's patootie about the holiday or who would like to maybe remember it, but feel absolutely no need to celebrate it with gifts: For you--for us, because this is definitely me (although if my hubby wanted to send me a Black Dinah valentine's assortment, I wouldn't complain--but he can do this at any time of year, as far as I'm concerned), I would recommend something simple and homey, like Crunchy Betty's suggestions for Cleaning the Bathroom.
Last year's January APLS Carnival visited the holiday as well, with some excellent links--check them out too! And as always--please feel invited to post other thoughts, links, ideas, etc. in the comments!