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Make it: Valentines

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos
February 10, 2009
File under: Eco-Friendly Merchants, Family Time, Food, holidays, Toys


Valentine’s Day has felt, for a long time, like a holiday made for merchandising. The pressure to buy a bit of happiness can be overwhelming. How do you convey your feelings for your family in a thing? Or a card? Or a Whitman’s Sampler?

Take heart. Natural gifts and simple, handmade Valentines will delight your little ones and remind them that love is worth celebrating—for far more than a day.

For the time-pressed, buying a well-made toy or useful gift beats disposable card store decorations every time. French toymaker Vilac makes a hemp jump rope with sweet painted heart handles that will stand up to years of active play.

Stubby Pencil Studio’s recycled DIY Valentine’s Day Cards are fun to decorate or receive. Pair them with soy and natural mineral Crayon Rocks to give children 3 and up. A set of mini sports cars (these are made of wood and made to last) are fun to play with and share.

If the kitchen is your happy place, bake up a batch of these incredible German rosewater cookies. They’re heart shaped (Valentine-worthy), a bit romantic (Rosewater is exotic but readily available at health-food or Middle Eastern stores), and simple enough to make a double batch for all of the lovelies in your life.

For paper lovers, a charming Heart Hand Wall Hanging (made with the painted imprints of your children’s hands) or a Tissue Paper Carnation Bouquet (never wilts! infinitely reusable!) are simple and heart-warming. Up the green quotient and use recycled papers in your crafts; Stubby Pencil Studio sells a slew of them.

The most bang for my Valentine’s Day buck requires a simple plan: Visit the local thrift store and buy a wool sweater in red, pink, or some variation thereof. Once home, wash and dry it on hot (that makes felt). Last, cut out the number of valentine hearts you need for your little ones’ schoolmates, your husband, parents, teachers, postal carriers…well, maybe you’ll need two sweaters…then, voila! Love, reborn!

Happy Valentine’s Day. For real.

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