In the last year, we’ve all learned a lot about our partners: how they sound on work calls, what they look like without cutting their hair for months, just how many days in a row they’ll wear the same pair of pajama pants. Maybe you’ve been quarantined together this entire time, or maybe your romance started more recently, from six feet apart. Regardless, you’ve come through a lot together, and that’s worth celebrating.
If you’re still looking for something to do with your special someone this Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered. With these eco-friendly date ideas, you can show your partner and the earth some love (and bonus, all these ideas are COVID-friendly).
#1. Use your time together to give back
Spread some good energy and devote your date to giving back to your community. Studies have found that volunteering increases oxytocin, or “the love hormone.” Volunteer together at an animal shelter or park clean-up. You can even make your own volunteer opportunity — spend time picking up litter at a local beach or waterway. When you give love to the community, you’ll get love back. And maybe even feel a little closer to your partner.
#2. Get outside (and away from your phones)
Spending time outside has all sorts of health benefits. Make that dedicated time to get outside with your significant other, and leave the distractions at home. This is time for the two of you. So plan a hike — you’ll get an endorphin rush from the exercise and a thrill from exploring somewhere new together. Go on that bike ride. Looking for an option with less physical activity and more romance? Wrap up in your warmest blankets and stargaze (it’s beautiful and it’s an excuse to cuddle).
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#3. Cook a plant-based dinner together at home
Even in a non-pandemic year, you can spice up the traditional dinner date by cooking at home instead. Try out some vegetarian dishes to create a meal with a lower carbon footprint. See if you can incorporate any local ingredients — Seasonal Food Guide can help you figure out what’s in season near you right now. You can swing by the farmers market or grocery store together, then turn on your favorite music while you cook your feast. Bonus: you can dance in your own kitchen while you cook. Not so much in a restaurant.
#4. Hold an at-home tasting of sustainable wines
The number of eco-minded wineries has grown exponentially in recent years. These wineries grow their grapes organically and many try to reduce their environmental impacts in other ways, too, such as using renewable energy and reducing waste in their wine-making processes. Buying locally made wines also helps reduce the greenhouse gases from transportation. If you want to get really fancy, pair your wine tasting with a homemade charcuterie board.
#5. Rethink traditional Valentine’s Day gifts
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about red roses or heart-shaped chocolates. Instead of giving your partner cut flowers, give them a potted plant instead. You could even make a whole date night of painting flower pots for each other. Or, donate to a charity in your special someone’s name. Pick a cause that’s important to them, or ask where they’d like you to donate. Chances are, that will be more meaningful than a box of chocolates, anyway.