Thankfully my wife and I have a shared dislike for the conventions of the holidays and gift giving. Well, really my wife is more against it, I would happily get her gifts if she wanted to return the favor. But, many of you are in relationships that call for the giving of gifts on birthdays, whichever winter holiday you might follow, and of course Valentine's Day. If you do follow the traditions, there are great ways to go above and beyond the normal gift and make it meaningful to someone else, and in turn likely to you and your significant other.
If you are thoughtful about where the gifts come from, what they stand for, and where the money goes to, you can not only fulfill the requirements of the gift-giving tradition, but you can help others at the same time. Find companies and organizations that use socially conscious practices to obtain, make, and sell their goods and ones that give some of their proceeds to people in need.
I have talked about Buy One Give One companies like TOMS shoes that give a pair of shoes to the needy for each one bought on a previous post. But there are other ways to help out as well. You can, and should, also be aware of products and where and how we get them. For example, the diamond trade - a Valentine's Day beneficiary - is filled with human and environmental exploitation so if you are buying one make sure they are conflict free such as from this place. Then there are companies that give back some or all of their income to charity. A great example of a giving organization is Laughing Man Coffee and Tea, a company started by Hugh Jackman (a very Well-Met man) after he met a local coffee farmer named Dukale during a visit to Ethiopia. Laughing Man Worldwide gives 100% of the profits it receives from its ventures to charity. The Laughing Man started with coffee but they now also sell chocolate. Since chocolate is a traditional gift for VDay, it would be a great option. When you tell your SO about the chocolate, it's extra meaning may be more meaningful to them and get you a better response than a standard gift.
[caption id="attachment_1604" align="alignnone" width="750" caption="Some of Laughing Man's goods"][/caption]
Here is an article with 30 meaningful gifts put together for the holidays but applicable for VDay as well. Most of them are gifts with no gift - to your recipient that is - rather they are donations or ways to give to others in need. But really, don't we all have enough stuff?
On the holiday of love, what better gift is there than love itself, love for your SO but also for all mankind and the world.
If you know of any similar products please post in comments so others can find them.