I’ve always seen Valentine’s Day as a day to express appreciation for those you love – friends, family, anyone. Originally the day had no connection with romantic love and instead represented the start of Spring. I know people hate the “pressure” of having to do nice things for their loved ones. Personally I see it as a day to celebrate my favourite relationships. It’s only in the last 50 years that giving Valentine’s gifts became a thing. For many years, the tradition was sending a handwritten note, aka, a “valentine”.
In general, everything I buy is vegan, ethically-sourced, locally made and either secondhand, or from an independent trader. This goes double for gifts! I try and avoid buying frivolous crap in lieu of stuff people will love. I enjoy finding meaningful presents for people I love, and celebrating them on Valentine’s Day. What I do dislike about V-Day is the overly gendered, heteronormative version we’re presented with, where quantity of presents shows your love. Excessive plastic crap from Tiger, bears with hearts and tacky lingerie is not my idea of a dreamy gift. Here’s a rundown of alternative V-Day gifts instead – all vegan, ethically sourced, non-binary and largely independent traders. Dig in!
All of these listings are vegan, and mostly made in the UK. Traditional choices include these dark chocolate melting hearts, the foil-wrapped (recyclable packaging!) milk hearts and the slogan chocolate hearts. Truffles are always a winner, so I’ve picked hazelnut truffles and these hipo hyfryd truffles (including maple and rose flavour!).
For something more interesting then how about a box of doughnuts? Slabs of key lime chocolate? Or, a VEGAN CHOCOLATE UNICORN. IT’S A UNICORN MADE OF VEGAN CHOCOLATE.
Finding cards devoid of the words “love”, “husband/wife” and/or a specific year number is surprisingly hard. Where are the cards for people you simply fancy? Most mainstream card manufacturers are yet to catch on to the myriad versions of love that exist. I particularly like the “You’ll Do” card. For those of you less icy, nothing says love like an animal based pun! Shout out to the fox card for being totally biodegradable including post-packaging! Lastly, how great is that suffragette card? A chance to celebrate voting rights and support Amnesty International is a chance not to be missed.
Beer, vinyl and wooden objects for him. Shower bombs, plant pots and cuddly toys for her. I’m sure there’s not a soul alive who genuinely wants to read a gendered gift guide. Obviously, ANYONE can be interested in anything and gift guides seem to be the last, wheezing bastion of gendered publications.
I personally would be grateful to receive anything from the above pile, but I’d also be happy giving any of these presents to Ryan (with the exception of pants). The Stay Nasty heart and Tobias patch are made with vegan felt and the pants are eco-friendly! Ryan will probably end up with the “Feminist” brooch from this list as it suits his style perfectly. I also love the shark dish and Lava print. Homeware is perfect as everyone benefits from a nicer house, right?
My pick of events is naturally London-centric so I’ll keep it short for all your international readers. Top vegan dinners are the V-Day menus at Amico Bio (here), Manna (here) and Vanilla Black (here). I also strongly recommend the Prince Charles Cinema. This years films include Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Hot Fuzz and Before Sunrise. If you fancy the best dating event in the capital then head to Vix’s inaugral event in Balham. Or, for the best event ever created, head to Battersea for Feline Lonely. Like speed-dating, but with rescue cats. There’s cats, poetry and a quiz!!!
So there you go. What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?