Celebrate Love, Not Money, With These Recycled Valentine's Day Gifts


Are you tired of feeling more anxious than excited as each major holiday rolls around? Do you think it's absurd that Valentine's Day merchandise starts hitting the shelves the day after Christmas? Me too. This Valentine's Day, let's stage a coup and not spend a single dime on trinkets and gimmicks and glittery gewgaws. Let's escape the clichés and consumerism and return to true romance with these second-hand Valentine's Day gift ideas.

1. A Book of Classical Poetry

Want to wax romantic but can't find the words? Buy a used book of classical poetry for $1.50 and bookmark your favorite selections with a little paper heart.

2. Vintage Stemware

Pair a bottle of good wine with a set of antique wine glasses and turn a cliché gift into the ultimate romantic gesture. For maximum impact, choose ornate etched or cut stemware pieces (around $1.00 each at most thrift shops). Don't be afraid to mix patterns and don't worry about finding complete sets — after all, just two glasses will do!

3. Two Identical Books

Isn't the real value of any holiday time spent together? This Valentine's Day, visit your local Goodwill store and pick up two copies of the same book — one for you and one for your better half. Start your own little romantic reading group for less than $5.00. Read in bed together, discuss the plot twists over breakfast, and start a whole new conversation between the two of you.

4. A Project Piece for Two

Ready to take togetherness to the next level? Browse your local thrift store for a small project you can work on with your loved one. Choose something that presents a fun challenge but won't overwhelm you or your partner (remember, frustration and exhaustion aren't sexy). Restore a weathered birdhouse, beat-up bench, or salvaged mirror. Then, bask in the glow of your combined creative genius. (See also: 18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think)

5. An Antique Vase

Amp up your flower power and turn a conventional gift into a something entirely unique. Pick up an antique porcelain or stoneware vase for a few bucks and, instead of roses, add a less expensive wildflower bouquet. Can't find a vase that suits you? Try a large vintage canning jar.

6. A Vintage Frame

Buy a vintage picture frame for just a couple of dollars and add a photo from your honeymoon, anniversary, or other special occasion. Are you half of a brand-new couple? Take a series of retro photobooth-style pics (yes, there's an app for that) while holding printed messages like "Be Mine," "Our First Valentine's Day," or "Love Me Tender."

7. An Antique Porcelain Plate

Buy a hand-painted antique plate or small silver-plated tray. Fill with individually-wrapped fine chocolates and add a handmade card. It's the perfect gift and it costs less than $20.00. (See also: 15 Delicious Homemade Treats Your Valentine Will Love)

8. A Date Night Basket

Thrift stores are filled with baskets; pick up a large one for two or three bucks and fill it with everything you'll need for a stay-at-home date night. Add a favorite DVD, microwave popcorn, pretzels, craft beer, and a homemade "Do Not Disturb" sign for the front door.

What's your all-time favorite Valentine's Day gift? How do you and your special someone celebrate without all the commercialism?

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