Let’s get right to the heart of the matter–Valentine’s Day is one of the most dreaded holidays of the year. It’s supposed to celebrate love and connection, but ends up being a vehicle to extract money from frantic people who just want to let their loved ones know how special they are.
Do yourself and your significant other a favor. Skip all the “expected” components of V-Day. The default options are so generic that they’re practically meaningless. We’re not saying you have to burn copies of The Economist in a display of anti-capitalism (unless your partner would be into that! Maybe you could make s’mores together over the flames?). But instead of filling the day with empty gestures, think of it this way: like many things, Valentine’s Day is all about what *you* make of it. It can be romantic, or cheesy, or fun. And even all of the above, if that feels right for your relationship.
It’s never a waste of time or effort to think about what you value and cherish about your partner, and–most importantly–let them know that you value and cherish them. The longer you’ve been in a relationship, the greater the tendency to…not take each other for granted, exactly, but just sort of assume that each of you is well aware that your immovable place at the center of their universe just goes without saying.
Well…say it anyway.
We’ve rounded up a few options from small businesses that are upgrades or fresh, unexpected twists on the subpar chocolates, trite greeting cards, and sad, refrigerated flowers that are the hallmarks of your average Valentine’s Day.
Because this isn’t your average Valentine’s Day.
Affordable sustainable fashion
With a manufacturer to consumer model, this startup works with socially responsible factories to cut costs without cutting corners.Translation: cloud-soft cashmere sweaters priced at $50.
Using sustainably sourced botanical extracts, this natural beauty line creates gentle yet potent formulas (many of which are vegan).
This line of ethical jewelry is made in Kenya by artisans working with recycled and reclaimed materials, creating pieces that are minimalist yet bold.
Leather goods – women's
Timeless, stylish clothing, bags, and accessories from a company that believes in making fewer, better things–and pricing them fairly.
Leather goods – men’s/unisex
Handmade in a solar-powered studio on Cape Cod, these leather goods are built to last, and look better the more they’re used.
Instead of pink or red, go green with an adorable cactus or succulent in its own little planter.
Responsibly sourced coffee from a company committed to supporting farmers, communities, and our planet
Is your partner’s love language coffee? Perk them up with some beans, a bottle of cold brew, or maybe even a monthly subscription so they never risk running out.
High-end, farmer-friendly chocolate
Founded by a former criminal defense lawyer, this bean-to-bar chocolate company is dedicated to making delicious treats and treating cocoa farmers fairly.
Tell your favorite cook or food lover that they’re more than worth their salt with a box of specialty spices and seasonings.
Ocean Sand Art
Klaus Bosch on Uncommon Goods
Part artwork, part stress-relieving diversion to enliven that 4:30pm Zoom call.
The beard-haver in your life deserves a soft, healthy set of whiskers (and you deserve not to be subjected to beard burn). There are plenty of pampering options for the clean-shaven, too.
Ethical meat & seafood box
Support small family farms and enjoy some dang delicious meat and seafood. Take it one step further and cook a Valentine’s steak dinner–may we recommend the reverse sear?
How it started: with a herd of goats and some truly excellent goat’s milk soap. How it’s going: with a limited edition Schitt’s Creek collab that’s simply the best.