As you browse for sustainable and ethical Valentine’s Day Gifts this year for your loved ones — whether that’s your partner, best friend, or sister — it can be helpful to keep that individual’s “love language” in mind.
What is a love language?
Developed by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages® concept was originally developed to help those in relationships understand how each partner receives and gives love. This framework has since expanded though, recognizing that understanding love languages can be fruitful for friendships, families, and other types of relationships.
What are The 5 Love Languages®?
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
According to Dr. Chapman each individual will have one primary love language and one secondary love language. If you’re not sure what your love languages are, or the love languages of your partner or other loved one, check out these quizzes which will help you on your journey.
Something to note here is that all of these love languages are important to express in some form in a relationship. Finding your primary and secondary love languages or the languages of the other person (partner, child, parents, etc.) doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the only way syou receive love or the only ways you should give love, but simply offers a guide for building deeper connections.
Once you know the primary love language of your partner or other loved one — or maybe for now, have a good idea of what you think might be their preferred way(s) to receive love — take a look at these eco and ethical Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas organized by these 5 different love languages!
Note that this guide includes affiliates and partners. As always, all recommendations meet high standards for sustainability and are brands, products, and ideas we truly stand behind!
1. Receiving Gifts
While I always appreciate thoughtful gifts, I’ve never felt “love” from a gift and given my years in this conscious consumerism space, I even rejected the notion that one could give or receive love through physical gifts. But turns out, there are many people who genuinely do feel love or feel that they can best express their love through gifting.
And thankfully, this doesn’t have to cost the planet or people. There are many ways to give sustainably — shopping secondhand, finding vintage items, making something homemade, or even re-gifting something you’ve never used!
If you’re looking to make an intentional purchase of something, here are some consciously-made ideas.
This thoughtfully curated self-care themed gift box from Sam & Lance features products all ethically-made by women. The set features all-natural Himalayan bath salts scented with essential oils, body oil + incense from organic non-toxic skincare brand Province Apothecary, and tea made with ingredients sourced fairly from members of the Ethical Tea Partnership,
For an added touch, the message you put in the “notes” section during check-out will be delivered to your recipient with the box in the form of a handwritten note!
Handmade by skilled artisans in a family-owned manufacturing facility in Italy, this ruby red plunging bralette from Azura Bay is a gorgeous gift for your partner (or yourself!) that isn’t hiding any secrets. Pair with a matching Cutie Thong or Hottie Boyshorts to complete the set.
For fuller busts, check out the Curvy Plunging Bralette.
Made from certified organic natural ingredients — like moisturizing coconut oil and nourishing beeswax — Zambeezi’s Fair Trade lip balms are a soothing gift for dry winter lips. Zambeezi has plenty of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors that are each lovely but if you can’t decide, the Variety 6-Pack is the way to go!
It’s no secret that chocolate is a dirty industry, but there are also many delicious fair trade and organic chocolate brands doing things better — and Alter Eco is a favorite for good reason. The B-Corporation has USDA Organic certified chocolates with Fair Trade Certified ingredients… and tastes amazing too! Alter Eco’s truffles are available in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel, mint, and sea salt or if truffles aren’t their thing, the brand also has plenty of chocolate bars!
When searching for fairly sourced flowers, the marks to look for are Fair Trade Certified™ or the FAIRTRADE mark. There are a few options for fair trade flowers, but these stunning Fair Trade Certified™ roses from Sense Ecuador are true stand-outs. Plus, they’re also available in orange, pink, yellow, and other colors if red doesn’t feel like the right fit.
2. Quality Time
If your loved one appreciates quality time, an experience gift is the way to go! Something to keep in mind is that experience gifts don’t necessarily have to cost anything. You can simply go on a hike together, commit to a YouTube yoga session, enjoy some at-home spa day activities with products you already own, get creative in the kitchen with what you have and make a dinner to enjoy together, or have an at-home movie night watching your favorite rom-coms.
If you do have a budget, one of my favorite resources for experience gifts (to give and receive!) is Airbnb Experiences. The platform has a lovely variety of experiences, ranging from wine tastings and cooking classes to virtual city tours and magic shows. Many of the experience hosts have seen their incomes hit hard with Covid and the associated decline in travel, and are incredibly grateful for their virtual experience attendees.
3. Words of Affirmation
If your loved one prefers to receive love in the form of verbal communication but you aren’t so confident in giving these words of love, writing a letter or series of notes can make the process a bit easier. Plus, written notes make for an extra special touch because they can be kept forever! (Perhaps if you have a particular artistic talent, you could communicate the words via your preferred medium, such as a poem, song, or painting.)
You could use cards or paper that you already have, but if you do need a new card, check out Aya Paper, a Black woman-owned eco-friendly stationery company.
Feeling stuck? Some simple ideas to start with could be: You are so important to me because… I love when/how you… I am so lucky to have you because… What I appreciate about you most is… I am proud of you that you…
For more support in writing your words of affirmation, Mind Body Green has some ideas for prompts.
4. Acts of Service
This love language could be seen as almost the opposite of words of affirmation. Acts of service focus more on what you do versus what you say. This doesn’t mean that words completely don’t matter of course, but just that actions — particularly those done without asking — are going to be the way your partner or other loved one most prefers to receive love.
How can you gift acts of service? One idea is to create a handmade “coupon book” with a bunch of tasks that your recipient can redeem any time they’d like. These could be things like “prepare a dinner of your choosing”, “do the dishes all week”, “hang out with the kids for a day so you can relax”, or “give me 3 items on your to-do list”.
Another idea is to simply dedicate the actual Valentine’s Day (or weekend) to doing unexpected acts of service, like taking on the major chores around the house or serving them breakfast in bed that day.
5. Physical Touch
The love language of physical touch will (obviously) vary widely depending on the type of relationship! For couples, this will look like intimate touch but there are other forms of physical touch for non-romantic relationships as well. Hugs — outside of Covid times — are a pretty universal way to express love via physical touch.
Greatist has a guide to the physical touch love language that offers ideas for expressing love in this language beyond the apparent ones.
Some highlights are working out together (you can gift them a membership to virtual exercise classes and offer to join in), dancing together (maybe you can gift a few ballroom dancing classes), and giving massages (who wouldn’t want to receive the gift of a free massage?!).
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