It’s that time again. The drugstore aisles are overflowing with shades of pink and red and the Hallmark people are planning how to spend their first quarter bonus.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!
Don’t get me wrong. Now that I don’t deal on the retail side of the holiday, I’m good with buying cards and flowers and chocolate hearts. It’s a happy time, even if it started off as a rather morbid holiday.
Some historians tell the tale of a man named Valentin who helped Christians escape harsh prisons. While imprisoned for his acts by the Romans, Valentin fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Before he was killed, it is said that he slipped her a love note that was signed “From your Valentin,” an expression still used today (but don’t forget the “e” at the end these days).
Because of his reputation, Valentin was sainted and became a popular figure in the middle ages in England and France. There are endless alternative stories, but the 14th of February became a popular day to exchange notes of affection by the mid-18th century and today, approximately one billion Valentines will be exchanged.
Women will purchase 85% of that one billion.
That’s a lot of paper.
Let me suggest an alternative. While at the Tropical Plants Expo in January, I saw a “green Valentine.” There’s a vine called a Hoya Kerrill craib that is native to Asia, Polynesia and Australia. Amazingly, it produces succulent-like heart shaped leaves! I saw these leaves displayed in a red cup with a message attached that said “Happy Valentine’s Day” at a vendor booth at the Expo. You can enjoy the heart-shaped leaves in a display or just naturally on the vine. Brilliant.
I’m not against cards or red roses. But a living Valentine is a great expression of longevity and eco-thinking. How about a miniature succulent garden for your sweethearts’ desk or home? Or better yet, offer to plant a bare-root rose bush for her/him? A blooming gift that can be enjoyed for years to come is what I call romantic!
If you do send or receive a card this year, please remember to recycle. And help keep that red heart GREEN.
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