8 Alternatives to Cut Roses This Valentine’s Day

Red rose with a green No symbol

One of my big pet peeves is the tradition of beautiful red roses for Valentine’s Day. I’ve written about this many times before but the issue doesn’t go away.

When I was in high school I had a good job working for a florist. I enjoyed working with flowers, cleaning them, putting them in water and learning to arrange them. For Valentine’s Day we always received tons and tons of long stem red roses. My best friend Sharon and I spent days cleaning the thorns off the roses which were always significantly more expensive for the two weeks before Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year.

Now I know that these roses were grown in South America where they don’t have any controls on pesticides. From there the roses are put in refrigerated airplanes and flown all around the United States. Just think about the amount of carbon pollution put out by the refrigeration on the planes and the planes themselves. Just so someone can buy them and give them on Valentine’s Day. Roses look pretty for about three or four days, maybe a week if they’ve been treated with a lot of preservatives. Then they die and get thrown away, usually into garbage cans to be sent to landfills.

If some well meaning person gives you flowers, please try to compost them.
If you know you’re likely to get flowers please consider asking them to give you something else this year? Here are some suggestions to help with that:

1. Locally grown, pesticide free, cut flowers

Bouquet of unusual cut flowers.

Eco-friendly cut flowers from Whole Foods

 If cut flowers are very important to you or to the person giving you a gift, look for locally grown flowers. In the Northeast there are greenhouses that grow local flowers for the winter. Look for flowers that aren’t shipped in huge refrigerated airplanes and look for flowers that are not covered in pesticides.

2. A plant

Consider a plant this year. A plant will give you something to remind you of your true love all year round. How about a plant that can be planted in your yard in the spring? My mother has a plant that she has been moving in and out of her house with the seasons since before I was born. What a wonderful way to commemorate true love!

3. Fancy chocolate

Personally I prefer to get chocolate for Valentine’s Day. This is a great excuse to pick up a little something that’s typically outside of our budget. A dozen long stem roses might cost $40 or $50 or even more.  Think about how awesome $40 or $50 of expensive, fair trade truffles would be.

4. Going out for dinner

I’m a big fan of experiences and who doesn’t enjoy the experience of going out for a nice dinner? If going out for dinner is part of your Valentine’s Day celebration already, perhaps spend a little more on dinner this year. Of course if you have children, going out can quickly become expensive proposition whether you take them with you or hire a babysitter.

5. Have a nice meal at home.

To save on the cost of hiring a sitter, sometimes we like to order takeout. That way we get to enjoy the food and the company without the stress of being in a restaurant with children.
Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast in Bed

6. Breakfast in bed

My husband is more of a morning person than I am so sometimes he likes to bring me breakfast in bed as a special treat. This is something that our kids can help with too.  They like to feel a part of the holiday and this is a great way to include them.

7. Jewelry

Jewelry is a popular gift for Valentine’s Day. How about some solar panel jewelry this year. It’s definitely unique, unusual and beautiful!

8. Pamper Mom

And perhaps my favorite Valentine’s Day gift: pamper mom for the day.
How do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Are flowers an important part of your celebration? What can you do to make this Valentine’s Day more thoughtful? Will you please share these alternatives to flowers with people you know?
Happy Greening,
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