GO GREEN: 12 tips for unique & sustainable Valentine's Day gift ideas

Traditionally Valentine's Day is another Hallmark special. Single use cards, cut flowers and small polyester soft toys going out to the masses.

Impress your special someone this year with our tips for a sustainable celebration. We are thinking outside the traditional go-to's with ideas for eco gifts, experiences and special traditions that you could start this year and carry on as the years pass. 

In fact, many of these ideas could carry you through as gift ideas for your loved one for the remainder of the year. We aim to have you sorted with plenty of choice and links to some of our favourite local businesses. 

1. Houseplants

You would have to have your eyes closed to not realise that indoor plants have made an incredible comeback. Lasting longer than cut flowers, there is the added bonus of not dying in front of your eyes and having to be thrown out. A living plant may be edible (think herbs, vegetables, fruit tree..) or decorative and air purifying (think Monstera, Peace Lily, Ficus...).


Some houseplants can be cost prohibitive, however tips for cheaper options are taking your own cuttings (with permission). Garden centres will have price scales with the smaller potted plants being cheaper than a more mature larger one.

Maybe add in a funky pot and we are sure there will be wide smiles when they see what you have chosen. One of our favourite local spots is Tim's Gardens on Gloucester St, Nelson. 

2. Chocolate

What's not to like about the giving of chocolate on Valentines? Try to stay away from the mass produced, plastic wrapped novelty variety and splash out for a new taste sensation. You could select a few as a tasting session for your desert, and the best is you as the gift giver may benefit from sampling them too!

Local wizards Hogarth make this incredible chocolate that is both organic and fair trade. 







3. Pottery

How about a pottery making class? Maybe your Valentine is an avid tea / coffee drinker, or would love to create a vase or keepsake bowl? 

There are options for all budgets from full courses to one-off clay throwing sessions. There is always 'the' movie scene that comes to mind however we think it's fair to say you can move past that and see the experience as a fabulous thing to try as a first time leveller. 

Jamie Smith and Tom Baker of Kiln Studio standing in their studio with a black dog.

Kiln Studio in Nelson hosts regular wheel-throwing and hand-building ceramics classes. Jamie and Tom work above us in Bridge St Studio's and the shelves are full of inspiration with beautiful ceramic pieces. 

4. Valentine's Journal

Ever wished you had kept all the little notes, cards and love letters? How about a beautiful journal to start writing in together. Over the years you can pen notes to each other to share. The fabulous thing is it all stays safely stored together as a keepsake to review and read through as the years pass and the book fills. 

There are some NZ made journals worth mentioning. If too close to the date for shipping then head to your nearest independent bookstore and stationery shops and you are likely to find a gem. Matt and Dan from Made of Tomorrow can even custom your journal with up to 8 letters. 

5. Tea Towel 

A good tea towel that actually absorbs water off your dishes could be said to save a relationship! There is often one who prefers to dry and will know a good tea towel from a decorative one. We proudly throw our linen mix tea towels in the mix here as they do both. Cute enough to frame, yet super absorbent to boot.

6. Clean Perfume

Fragrance lovers are now loving the choice of scents without the nasties. As knowledge increases about what actually goes into a perfume (think parabens and phthalates at the top of the toxic list) men and women are looking for more natural alternatives. 

Options available vary from simple essential oil blends to more complex created scents not just for those with allergies and sensitive skin. Solid balms, sprays and liquid are all having their turn being reinvented green.

This market is growing and options can be found through local stores like Healthpost.co.nz, ohnatural.co.nz and most pharmacies.

7. Picnic time

Hoping that this weather stays perfect for an outside jaunt, head to your local market to select a delicious range of nibbles for a picnic. A local bakery or deli will be able to fill a basket of delicious goods or create your own with an artisanal loaf, fillings and treats. Don't forget a tasty beverage and something to keep them cool. We have been known to tie a produce bag to a branch near the river edge to keep a few cans cold.

8. Ditch the wrapping paper

So many other options to choose here. A previous blog of ours points to a range of ideas using what you have, or can find second hand. HERE

Wrapping made of a love note, drawing, a homemade 'coupon' for your loved one would be wonderful ways to think outside the box. 

Pictured here is one of our HANK - nine different organic cotton handkerchiefs. 'Meadow' design.

9. Home cooked dinner

Even though we have certainly had our fair share of extra home time lately, there is still magic in the offering of a home cooked meal. A chosen menu, selected ingredients and lovingly prepared by YOU. A little preparation with napkins and candles can make a simple dinner a special experience. 
Hints: not the time to cook something for the first time. Stay away from teeth coating pesto and careful on the chilli if you don't know them very well. 

10. Staycation

This could be seen as an extension of the home cooked dinner. 
What if you planned the entire night and breakfast? From dinner, a sunset adventure (think swim, walk, star gazing), movie session with snacks. Where to sleep. You could try the upside down option that Ethically Kate chooses on Thursday nights. Sleep upside down with your pillows to your feet end, because why not.
Don't forget to plan breakfast. Think delicious granola from YUM pared with outstanding coffee from Sublime.
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11. Baking

Thank goodness the humble heart shape doesn't require extraordinary skills to achieve. 
Have a go at converting any standard cake or biscuit recipe. Or think big picture and shape pizza dough into a heart. 
Don't fret if this scares you. Leading up Valentine's Day you will see local bakeries offering appropriately shaped baking which you can collect packaging free for your special someone. 

12. Take an online cocktail course

No need for a taxi if you experiment with these recipes at home. Grab your ingredient list in advance and then have a blast being bartender for each other. Search Virtual Cocktail Lessons online and there is a plethora of different options for free.
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