Like every other holiday, Americans have gotten into the habit of equating Valentine's Day with buying. It started with cards but has esclated to the point where we feel the only way to "prove" our love is to buy–flowers, lingerie, candy, jewelry–something that will stand in for the words we feel incapable (or unwilling) of saying or the actions we don't think of taking.
If you want to buy your love something as a token of affection, that's fine. But isn't it time we stop listening to marketers and start thinking for ourselves?
It doesn't take money, or even a lot of creativity. All it takes is asking ourselves, "What can I do for the person I love that will make him/her happy?"
We placed a quote on one of our Celebrate Green e-cards that sums up this point. It was written by an 8-year-old girl who was asked to explain what love is:
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails any more. So my grandfather does it for her even though he has arthritis in his hands."
Expressions of love can be anything from taking on a job your partner finds onerous to recognizing she sometimes needs time alone to letting him have the last of your favorite chocolate bar. It's about willingly giving something of yourself and choosing to act in a way that fulfills another's need.
This Valentine's Day, before you head to the store to buy a card, think about the person you love and consider what you might do to bring her joy and/or make her life easier. Believe us, your actions will speak volumes more than any item you could ever purchase. (But if you insist on a card, how about making an eco-friendly one?)
What have you done or will you do for your Valentine? Let us know.
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are a mother-daughter team and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net.