Dating back to 496 AD when Pope Gelasius I established the holiday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is known as the special day of the year celebrating romance and love. Popular gifts such as flowers and candy are traditional; however, if you are looking for something a little different this year, here are a few great ideas:
The Susan G. Koman Foundation has an entire gift shop of pink with something for everyone. All purchases help fund the continuing fight for a cure and support for survivors.
Oxfam Unwrapped Gifts. If the traditional flowers and chocolate gifts aren’t really your thing, go with one of Oxfam’s less traditional unwrapped gifts. In the name of love, you can plant 100 trees, provide a fisherman with a boat, or even build an entire primary school. Your gift will provide someone in need with food, employment, education and ultimately help them get out of the oppressive cycle of poverty.
(RED) iPod. If the significant person in your life is tech-savvy and cause conscious, go for Apple’s (RED) iPod nano. This nano is the triple threat – it’s festive Valentine’s colors, looks techno-chic and a portion of the proceeds go to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. If you want to make it really personal, you can have your Valentine’s name engraved on the back.
Hope For Haiti Now. If the iPod is a little outside your budget, you can still give the gift of music by purchasing the Hope For Haiti Now album. The artists, record labels, and Apple will donate proceeds from the album purchases to help support relief efforts in Haiti. You can find the Hope For Haiti Now album on iTunes or Amazon.
Conflict Free Diamonds. Diamonds are forever. So if you’re going to make that kind of commitment, you definitely want to make sure that your diamond investment isn’t going to haunt you. Brilliant Earth allows you to design your own diamond jewelry and ensures that you only purchase conflict-free diamonds, which means the diamonds were mined legally and no person or resource was exploited during the process. Plus, Brilliant Earth donates 5 percent of their profits to help sustain African communities.
Flowers with a Purpose. Who doesn’t love getting flowers, especially for Valentine’s Day. A Teleflora bouquet purchase includes a donation made to the ASPCA. This year’s Valentine’s Day bouquet is not just a symbol of your love, but hope for rescued animals.
Fair Trade Chocolate. No Valentine’s Day is complete without a box of chocolates. This Valentine’s Day, buy your candies guilt free by purchasing fair trade chocolate. Divine Chocolate USA is owned by cocoa farmers from Ghana – the second largest cocoa exporter in the world. Fair trade guarantees that farmers earn a fair, livable wage for their work and aren’t exploited in the process. You can find Divine Chocolates online or at your local Whole Foods Market.