4 Unusual Twists on Traditional Gifts for Valentine's Day 2011

By Lou Carlozo, dealnews writer

Valentine's Day is sometimes accused of being a greeting card holiday — why just one day to celebrate love? That said, even the most recalcitrant skeptic usually ends up picking up flowers, or chocolates, or some other trinket, at some point to give out on February 14. If you are looking for some ways to spruce up your routine, and have looked at all the traditional gifts (at the best prices we could find) and considered some of the more out-there experience gifts, then it's time to reinvent the classics. Why not, this year, try a green theme?


If you think roses are more expensive around Valentine's Day, you're right — but they're also more expensive in June, too, at the height of wedding season. The reason is simple: The number of roses remains steady (they're a long-term crop grown year-round), but demand does not. So constant supply plus skyrocketing demand equals higher prices. And you thought we couldn't put a price on love.

But if you're wondering what goes into the exorbitant cost of most Valentine's Day flower orders, it's not just about the unit cost of the rose itself. Some purveyors sneak surcharges into the long-stem price, which inflates the total you pay. ProFlowers.com, for example, charges an extra $5 to $10 on top of standard delivery prices for a guaranteed arrival on Monday, Feb. 14. I suppose that makes sense, given that you don't want Joe Delivery Guy blowing your one big shot at romantic gesticulation.

But trust this Green Dad with the Keen Heart: It's sooooo much more classy when you a) pick up the flowers from a local shop and b) deliver them yourself. On bended knee. Preferably while singing Dean Martin's "That's Amore". (Did we mention that it saves gas, too?)

If you're concerned about the provenance of the flowers you get — as in, you don't want to deliver pesticides and other chemicals along with your bouquet, rest assured that you can get organic roses for Valentine's Day. The folks at OrganicBouquet.com offer rose selections that compare favorably to the standard variety, only they're produced in accordance with organic standards with partner farms that practice sustainable growing. Most selections run around $50, and check this out: The carbon footprint of the delivery is offset by funds donated to the Nicaragua Reforestation Project, in partnership with CarbonFund.org. Now that's the way to grow a floral business.


For those of you going the bauble route on Valentine's Day, there are also options for jewelry that avoid getting into political debates over the workers who mined the precious metals and stones. Take a gander at the wares made by OneTribe. Based in Richmond, Va., this small outfit produces handmade jewelry from natural materials such as wood, palmnut and stone. (It also makes trinkets that are vegan-friendly, and creates items from silver, brass, copper and even antler.)


And if chocolate is the thing, the sexy, sustainable folks at EcoFabulous.com recommend Vosges Haute Chocolate for special occasions. I get Vosges truffles every chance I can, and fellow chocolate snobs, I'm always thrilled to the core of my brain's cacao-craving pleasure center. Like love itself, Vosges is playful, daring and just a tad naughty, with truffle flavors running the romantic gamut from absinthe to the deliciously-named Woolloomooloo (Australian macadamia nut, coconut and deep milk chocolate). Salivating yet? Or just hungry for love?

The Stars

A few creative folks will get stars named for their sweeties this Valentine's, even though star-naming as a commercial venture is widely regarded as shady. But by donating $100 to the World Land Trust, you can save an acre of precious rainforest forever. You can't see it in a telescope, let alone build a love nest on it, but that slice of paradise you protect on behalf of your schnookums will make the world a better place. And if that isn't romantic enough, go ahead and unofficially name that parcel anything you want. Well, not anything — and certainly not after an ex-flame.

Lou Carlozo is dealnews' new Green Dad columnist. He was most recently the managing editor of WalletPop.com and, before that, a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune. Follow him on Twitter— @LouCarlozo63. You can also sign up for an email alert for alldealnews features.

Photo credit: Neal.

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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