Worry not. You have the entire weekend plus two more days to find and take care of the perfect gift to say “I love you” to whomever you think deserves it on Valentine’s Day. And we are here to help with a few ideas thoughtfully curated to fit your ethical, ecological and minimalistic principles, so you can have a simple and sexy love celebration with no guilt and absolutely no shopping frenzy. No soulmate? No problem! All of these suggestions – except, maybe, for number 10 – serve your gifting needs, whether your valentine is a boy, a girl, your mom or your best friend.
1 – Make your own DIY present from recycled materials. Putting yourself to work is a beautiful way to show you really care about your Valentine. You can make a delicious cosmetic and put it in a beautiful repurposed container like this lip scrub or this natural lavender soap. You can create a unique notebook from a cereal box or craft a heart piñata filled with candy and chocolate.
2 – Offer ethical and artisanal jewellery. It is very hard to go wrong with jewellery, provided that you make sure it is fair-trade, of course. Need a specific idea on this one? I’ve been hinting my better-half about this bracelet for a year now but still no luck (hope he reads this, though). It’s a 14k gold-fill cuff, hammered on both ends with room for one letter on each side, so you can personalize it with your Valentine’s initials or theirs and yours. It was made by Tizita, from Ethiopia, as a result of a social business that creates opportunities for women locally and globally so, it’s a gift that gives back.
3 – Pay for a lovely magazine subscription. Offline is the new luxury. And it has become so easy to forget the beauty of a magazine in its original form. Give paper. Recycled, gorgeous, collectable paper, filled with visually appealing goodies and compelling stories on topics like conscious living and mindfulness. I would personally be pleasantly surprised if Flow Magazine happened to show up at my door step every few months.
4 – Take a cooking lesson. Cooking and eating are, in my opinion, two of the most beautiful and complete ways to show love and appreciation for one another and, also, if done right, two excellent opportunities to spend a very, very sexy time with a lover. If you easily find your way around the kitchen, just cook something new and special with your lover and/or best friend and enjoy it together – really enjoy it, no phones or Netflix allowed. If you would like to learn something new, sign the two of you up for a cooking workshop. And if your Valentine’s Day is most likely to be a party of one, go to an aphrodisiac cooking lesson alone and get to know some prospect guests for the after party…
5 – Get a museum membership for two. If you and your Valentine have a love of travel, art and learning, get a museum membership for two on your local city and ‘travel’ the entire year long by learning about other cultures and lifestyles while visiting local museums. Just google “museum membership” and the city you live in and I guarantee you’ll find something amazing. If you are living in Lisbon I suggest the membership card for MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology – it costs 20€ and it provides free entrance in the museum as well as in all its exhibitions and lectures for a year for two people, on top of 50% discount on any educational program (workshops, tours and other activities).
6 – Sign-up for a creative writing class. If you are in a long-term relationship and you miss those first nights when you would sit in the car and talk all night, this one is for you. The two of you will rapidly become an open book to each other after this experience. I strongly recommend it. Through the most fun, easy and sometimes surprisingly deep exercises you will write your heart out and that will spark the most interesting conversations you’ve had in a really long time. Again: just google “creative writing workshop” and the city you live in and I guarantee you’ll find something the both of you will love. For those of you in Lisbon I recommend browsing this website where you can sign-up for a class or buy a voucher.
7 – Enrol yourself and your soulmate in a sport that is new for the both of you. My idea of a perfect date involves trying something new. And if there’s a chance for adding a little bit more adrenaline, I’m in! Sports – especially if we are talking about the more adventurous type like surfing, rock climbing, scuba diving or sky diving – give you a rush of adrenaline and other ‘happy’ hormones like serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. Yep, just like sex. On top of it, trying something new can make you nervous – a good kind of ‘nervous’ if you enjoy it. So trying a new sport together, for a while, can be a great way to celebrate your relationship, spend some quality time together and improve your sex drive. Just saying… Try a couple’s class at a rock climbing centre if you never have. Here is one in Lisbon.
8 – Go for flowers, but choose the right ones. Locally grown seasonal flowers are ALWAYS a good idea. Just don’t get anything with an immense carbon footprint (like something that was shipped from across the globe), nor anything too elaborate, too expensive and artificial looking. Go for wild flowers you can pick up near your home, or steal some from your neighbourhood gardens (I will deny I ever advised you to do this though…). For a safer bet, buy a beautiful arrangement you and your Valentine will want to Instagram multiple times a day from someone who already does that, like this magical family that lives in Lisbon.
9 – Plant a tree. I and my husband planted a tree on our wedding day and we visit it at least two times a year. It’s a beautiful thing to literally watch love grow. Do the same and find a place in or around your city to plant one. Again, for those of you who live in Lisbon, there’s a program for people interested in planting trees in the city and around it. Here.
10 – Give an orgasm. Such a simple, deep and altruist gift. Have a chat about what both of you like and fantasize about and focus on giving instead of getting. Funny enough, giving pleasure is actually one of the most pleasurable things in the world. And so is getting a full, long, loving orgasm. Win-win. Happy Valentine’s Day.