Spending money on flowers that are grown with toxic pesticides or gifting your sweetie chocolates that contribute to child slave labor and obesity doesn’t exactly scream romantic bliss. Instead of predictable presents that take a serious toll on planetary and personal health, invest in your true love by showering him or her with a thoughtful present that gives back to people, pets or the planet.
Whether your babe is an animal lover or passionate about education, the environment or health, these gift ideas will have him or her starry-eyed while boasting your benevolence and praising your philanthropy.
1) Save a Pet, Score Some Shoes
Adopt, don’t shop. Skechers and Best Friends Animal Society have partnered to host an in-store adoption event to help L.A.-area fans “Give Love” and find “The One.” On Feb. 12 at the Skechers North Hills location, in-store adoptions are only $14. Additionally, those who find a forever friend and adopt a pet through the promotion will receive a 20 percent off discount toward BOBS footwear in-store or on Skechers.com. Score!
A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. In addition to their philanthropic reach, which has allowed their customers to give free shoes to children in need (more than 12 million pairs donated thus far), BOBS from Skechers is launching a #GiveLoveAdopt Instagram contest. This encourages fans to post a favorite photo of them and their dog/cat, in order to win a custom pair of BOBS with their photo printed on the shoes. Details on how to enter can be found HERE. Participants have until Feb. 14 to enter.
Every pair of BOBS purchased helps Skechers support Best Friends to save the lives of dogs and cats in America’s shelters, and Skechers has committed a minimum of $3 million to the cause.
2) Seal It with a Cruelty-Free Kiss
Out with the cruel and in with the new! Begin replacing your gal’s usual beauty products with ones that are PETA-approved and cruelty-free while also making a point to protect her pout. Face Atelier prides itself on being one of the few brands that does not test on animals; their products are cruelty-free, non-comedogenic, and free of fragrance and flavor. Most products are also vegan.
Their Lip Rx is a must-have during romantic dinner dates and Valentine’s Day rendezvous since it repairs lips and locks in moisture with a mixture of organic ingredients. The meadowfoam seed oil, which is pressed from tiny seeds of Limnanthes alba, produces powerful antioxidant properties, while the vitamin E in sesame seed oil acts as a natural UV protection. With shea butter and allantoin, her lips will feel refreshed and healthy all year long. Healthy lips, happy animals — it’s a win-win.
3) Wear Your Heart on Your Neck
Calling all animal lovers! Bring an animal lover and their pet a little closer together this Valentine’s Day with a special gift from IMAD. These fun, pet-themed charms are a match made in heaven for anyone with a soft spot for furry friends and for endangered animals. IMAD is a jewelry company that uses fashion as a way to raise awareness for the injustice animals face worldwide, such as pollution, puppy mills, dog fighting and more. Made in the USA, IMAD products aim to increase public knowledge of vulnerable animals and preserve the future of the planet through sustainable production.
The Domestic & Endangered Animal Pendant Collection gives a voice to the voiceless by assisting in the preservation of animal life. IMAD stands for “I Made a Difference.” IMAD truly changes the lives of defenseless critters by donating $1 to the Animal Welfare Institute, an organization dedicated to the better treatment of all animals, every time you purchase a pendant for the cause. They offer an array of necklaces, pendants, gemstones, key chains and tote bags, including:
- Black Rhino Necklace: Part of the Endangered Animal Collection, this beautiful bronze pendant necklace has a black rhino engraved on the back, with a leaf to ensure it’s made from recycled materials. Speak up for the voiceless while sportin’ a sophisticated piece of jewelry.
- Chihuahua Key Chain: Engraved with a petite pup, this key chain is the perfect gift for a woman wildly obsessed with her fun-sized Fido.
- Sumatran Elephant Pendant: Don’t forget to share your love for elephants with your valentine. This Sumatran Elephant Pendant can easily be hooked to a necklace or key chain to raise awareness for these large, loving animals.
- Tote Bag: The IMAD tote bag states a fact with its logo: “If I Can’t Bring My Dog, I’m Not Going!” Made from 100 percent recycled cotton, this natural-colored bag is perfect for a weekend getaway.
4) Drool-Worthy Cushions
This Valentine’s Day, put the “wag” in swag with a luxury bed to pamper your pooch. With B & G Martin’s beautiful dog beds, your pooch will feel like true royalty once he sprawls out on his new plush cushion. These premium plush beds are made from the best (and sustainable) materials, from animal-friendly faux leather to lush microsuede. B & G Martin designer dog beds are eco-friendly and designed to give your companions the comfort and support they need. In fact, the B & G Martin bed has an innovative pillow insert, which offers the comfort of plush down feathers but is actually made from recycled plastic bottles — good news for both geese and the environment. More good news: The luxurious pillow insert is also waterproof, so if your dog has a potty-training accident, it won’t penetrate into the fill.
Here’s the (four-legged) kicker … every time a dog bed is purchased, a pup in need will be spayed or neutered, with the proceeds going toward the cause of reducing pet overpopulation worldwide. Each time an accessory like a fitted linen is bought, a pooch receives a crucial vaccine that prevents harmful diseases such as rabies or parvo.
With a strict policy against using animal products, B & G Martin makes the cruelty-free promise to never use leather, wool, goose down or feathers, or fur. As a company, they deeply believe that no animal should suffer for the comfort of another … fur real!
5) Farm-to-Vase Flowers
Last-minute guy shoppers, you’ll love this one (and so will she!). California flower grower and online retailer Bouquet in a Box delivers fresh arrangements that are hand-cut and hand-arranged to order, straight from family farms. Since nothing is premade or stored, the flowers are picked, arranged and shipped the day you place your order. Each bouquet is under $50 and comes with a vase. Imported flowers are never used, so the process is eco-friendly, and the flowers are ethically sourced. Major bonus for procrastinators: Flowers are shipped free overnight for a stress-free, last-minute gift-giving option on a budget!
6) Clothes That Heal the Planet
Did you know the world consumes 80 billion pieces of new clothing each year? That’s a nauseating fact when you consider each American is generating 82 pounds of textile waste every year.
The current state of fast fashion and instant gratification coupled with a desire for new things is leading to a dangerous global crisis. While clothes swapping and selling your gently used items online is highly encouraged (read: “Rags To Riches: 5 Ways To Earn Cash From Your Closet“), we all need new items for occasions for, say, Valentines’ Day! Good news: There is hope. In 2015, Threads 4 Thought — a sustainable apparel company for men and women and a certified B Corporation — kept 1.5 million plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans around the world.
The Threads 4 Thought line is made entirely from organic cotton, recycled polyester (originally post-consumer water bottles) and Lenzing Modal.
Why is environmentally friendly and recycled clothing better?
- Organic cotton reduces the toxicity of a cotton garment by more than 90 percent
- Organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful insecticides and pesticides
- Recycled polyester is made using recycled plastic bottles, keeping bottles and waste out of landfills
- It takes 50 percent less energy to produce compared with regular polyester
- Lenzing Modal is made from beech trees, which are never cut down and rejuvenate themselves without artificial planting or irrigation
- Lenzing Modal is a CO2-neutral fiber
7) Send Him or Her an Angel
If you believe in angels (and even if you don’t), you’ll love Doreen Virtue. A fellow vegan, Hay House author and lifelong clairvoyant, Doreen holds three degrees in counseling psychology. In 1995, after a brush with death during an armed car-jacking, she was guided to transform her life to teaching about God and angels.
Doreen and her partner started a rescue ranch and now support and care for more than 150 animals in need, from pigs, goats and horses to birds, dogs, cats and more. If you’d like to help support the rescue animals on Doreen and Michael’s ranch, you can donate directly, or gift your love with a video course this Valentine’s Day. One hundred percent of all proceeds from Doreen’s video courses go to the care and feeding of the rescue animals.
The course gifts cover topics like “Become a Certified Fairyologist” (yep, it’s a thing!), “How to Let Go and Forgive,” “How to Start and Grow Your Spiritually Based Business” and “Divine Healing from Addictions,” just to name a few.
8) Corporate Clothes with a Conscience
Your gal doesn’t need to participate in a protest to stand up against issues in everyday life. She can make a stand for fair trade and workers’ rights for women in the fashion industry just by the clothes she wears!
Maven Women is a line of elegant and fashionable women’s workwear made using the highest quality eco-conscious materials. The company adheres to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. The peeps at Maven Women are truly breaking the mold of models, as well as being socially conscious every step of the way, from fabric selection to shipping.
As you can see, the opportunities to give gifts that make the world a better place to live are endless. Why spend money on single-use, disposable items when you can change the world with conscious gift-giving? This year, put your money into something you’ll be proud of. I guarantee that not only will Cupid be smiling, but so will your sweetheart.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock