Try one of these simple zero waste Valentine’s Day ideas that are fun, inexpensive, and great for everyday families. They all have a little extra sugary sweetness the whole family will love.
Do you exchange gifts for Valentine’s Day? Historically, M and I haven’t been big on gift exchange, especially outside of Christmas and birthdays. As we’ve started to think about gift giving in broader terms beyond just buying something new, we’ve been landing on small and more meaningful tokens of appreciation to share as gifts with each other.
If the stars align this year, M and I be doing our third annual “Bring on the Men” barre class together to “celebrate” Valentine’s Day. It’s a fun opportunity for him to partake in something I do regularly with limited judgement. Most days, barre class is full of ladies. There are a handful of guys who are “regulars,” but very few dudes show up to barre class. Bring on the Men mixes up the gender parity making many of the guys feel much more comfortable tucking and lifting with the ladies.
Despite our inclination towards fitness, we also both have a serious sweet tooth (mine worse than his). If you want to pass on raising your heart rate with your significant other this year but still want a simple yet fun way to celebrate together, how about sharing some sugary sweet and zero waste (or almost zero waste) simple and inexpensive gifts?
Anyone who knows me can assure you that I know my sweets even better than I know my barre studios, so let’s do this!
10 Sugar Sweet Zero Waste Valentine’s Day Ideas
Pancakes with Maple Syrup (for Breakfast in Bed?) ~ As a kid, I remember having one friend who always had real maple syrup when we ate breakfast at her house after sleepovers. I grew up on pancake syrup and didn’t understand the maple syrup affinity. It tasted kind of weird to me. Man, was I off base?! Pure maple syrup tastes so. much. better. I’m a 100% convert, and I’ll never go back.
While I’m a fan of maple syrup on pancakes, does anyone really like breakfast in bed? I really don’t like food anywhere near my bed. I definitely love a breakfast production, and especially one I’m not leading, so bring on the pure maple syrup and the blueberry pancakes… just not in my bed.
Fair Trade Chocolate ~ I know this is a bit cliche, but who doesn’t love good chocolate? It’s popular for a reason. I’m essentially an addict, so maybe I’m not the most objective chocolate promoter. On the contrary, I do have a lot of experience with the drug, making me a well-informed advocate of the stuff. I’ve even taken the liberty of doing unscientific taste tests a time or two.
Litterless wrote a great article contemplating zero waste chocolate and the pros and cons to weigh when deciding how to indulge.
Biscuits and Honey for Breakfast ~ I love a good biscuit, and I suspect I have a lot of company. Biscuits and honey is a great, unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone you love, sharing something delicious, that isn’t overly sweet.
Most of us have pretty mundane breakfast each day. Breakfast seems to get the shaft because we’re always in a rush to start our day. Set aside a few extra minutes to make fresh biscuits that make one morning a little extra special. I’ve been eyeing these biscuits for a while. It’s too bad Landen can’t make them for me. 🙂
Homemade Chocolate Covered Pretzels or Chocolate Covered Raisins ~ You could buy these snacks from the bulk section if you’re in a bind, but I think they’re super fun to make with kids. My boys think it’s just divine when they have a spoon, a bowl and a bag full of chocolate to melt (that they know they’re going to get to eat). For the chocolate, be sure to use chocolate wafers or baking bars intended for melting (as opposed to chocolate chips) because they create a better layer of chocolate that hardens faster and more easily. We used Ghirardelli Dark and White Chocolate Melting Wafers. They were delicious and really easy to work with.
Whether you buy the chocolate covered dried fruit or whip it up on your own, gift it in small, decorated tins or little mason jars. The boys and I made these holders with small cans and washi tape. They had a blast putting them together, and I loved how they turned out.
Honey Bee with Heart Wings ~ Turn an empty toilet paper roll into a honey bee with heart shaped wings. Fill it with candy, from the bulk section of your grocery store, by covering the ends with a piece of paper. It’s super easy and something you can make with little ones too!
Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries ~ I’m not such a huge fan of store-bought chocolate covered strawberries. I don’t like the texture of strawberries after they’ve been covered in chocolate for very long. But the homemade version, just after the chocolate sets, is delicious. They only take about 30 minutes to make and are really easy, so you could definitely do this the day you want to eat them.
Sugar Scrub in a Mason Jar ~ Sugar scrub might be the easiest DIY project you’ve ever done. To keep this simple, try my two (or three) ingredient sugar scrub recipe that I also shared on Instagram. It’s really as easy as mixing sugar and melted coconut oil.
If you prefer something with a bit of color, some bulk stores (or Whole Foods in our case) sell sugar scrub mixes that come in various colors. The boys each wanted a colored sugar scrub of their own recently, so I let them choose a bit of their own sugar mixture. We brought it home, added coconut oil, and sent the boys off to get squeaky clean (and well exfoliated).
DIY No-Sew Drawstring Bag ~ Make a small bag from leftover fabric scraps, an old t-shirt, or any fabric-like material you’ve got on hand. You can see a tutorial for an easy version that requires no sewing, and isn’t all that large. Fill it with a Target gift card with a handful of small sweets for a teacher or babysitter.
Sugar Cookies (or Cookie Cutters) – Recently we made these soft ninja sugar cookies. Opt for a heart cookie cutter with pink or red icing and you’re good to go for Valentine’s Day. Just be sure to consider the size of the batch of cookies. Our recipe makes quite a few cookies, so sometimes we only make a half batch or plan to freeze several of them for another time. I hate seeing food go to waste. Don’t forget to be cognizant about what you’ll actually eat (or share with friends) before the cookies get stale.
If your Valentine is the baker, consider buying metal heart-shaped cookie cutters. The metal ones work better than the plastic ones, and they don’t use petroleum in production.
DIY Honey Vanilla Lip Balm ~ The ultimate natural sugar and sweetener, honey also makes a great addition to lip balm. I recently bought the materials to make this Honey and Vanilla Lip Balm, and the boys are pumped to make their own as well. Especially this time of year, I feel like I could always use an extra lip balm tube to keep in my bag or on my desk. They never seem to be where I need them when I need, no?
Bonus: Chocolate Fondue ~ A couple of years ago, we made our own version of simple chocolate fondue with the boys. We dipped fruit and marshmallows into a homemade chocolate sauce. It got a bit messy, but it was so good and the boys absolutely loved it! Check out the recipe and a few highlights from our kid-friendly chocolate fondue fun. If you’re feeling ambitious, make your own homemade marshmallows to really step up your sweets game.
Each of these gifts are easy to share with family and none are particularly expensive. Several you can probably pull together with things you already have at home. A few of the ingredients come in packaging, but you can find pretty much everything either package-free or in recyclable packaging.
Although we aren’t big on gift-giving, especially for holidays outside of birthdays and Christmas, making a little production out of smaller holidays mixes up the mundane. It adds a little spice to the everyday and gives everyone a reason to smile.