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Published on February 12th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Last Minute Valentine’s Day GOOD Gift Guide

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Thank goodness there are lots of great Valentine’s Day gifts that are more meaningful than just another dozen roses — and are just a click away.

It happened again this year.  I forgot to plan ahead and get that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for my (food) loving partner.  Apparently, I’m not alone. According to a 2012 study by Chicago-based NPD Group, 78% of people who celebrate Valentine’s Day admit to purchasing gifts for loved ones a week or less before February 14. And, 47% of men and 32% of women claim to make their purchases on February 13 or 14. Here are some of my favorite last-minute click-worthy gifts:.

For the business-minded:Dedicate a micro-loan

Photo: Kiva.org

This Valentine’s Day you can share the experience of making a difference. Kiva, whose mission it is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, have a nifty way to show someone special you care. Give a micro-loan through Kiva and you can choose to dedicate the loan during checkout.  Your recipient will get a dedication email, personalized page and you can even attach a special message. Micro-loans can be made to everything from a woman-run caterer in Texas who wants to purchase new equipment, china, dishware and utensils (San Antonio Rentals & Party Planning) to a butcher shop in Mongolia who wants to buy an eco-friendly delivery van (Ganchimeg).

For the beneficent: Give a charitable gift

Like Kiva, International Rescue Committee allows you to make a charitable contribution and you can choose to dedicate the gift during checkout. At checkout, you can choose a printed card or an eCard version for each gift you buy. Gifts can be made by category, health, education, emergency relief, rebuilding and women and girls and include lifesaving medical assistance to a sick and malnourished child staying in the hospital of a refugee camp and a year of school for a young girl in Afganistan.

For the fashionsita: TheHungerSite.com gift certificate

Here’s a free way for your sweetie to shop where every purchase gives back. Gift certificates for TheHungerSite.com, which donates a portion of the proceeds from products sold on its site to funds hunger relief charities, can be used to purchase everything sold on the site. The gift certificates never expire making them a perfect (and waste-free!) last-minute gift. Certificates can be purchased in four amounts,  $10, $25, $50, or $100 and there are no shipping charges or tax. The Hunger Site e-mails a gift certificate code directly to you so you can forward it to your gift recipient. The certificate-user simply fills his or her cart with goodies, then enters the gift certificate code when checking out. The certificates never expire and should the certificate code be lost they will even re-forward the certificate. The Hunger Site has all sorts of jewelry, apparel, house stuff and even traditional Valentine’s Day goods such as Divine Chocolate, made with  fairly traded cocoa beans from a cooperative of smallholder farmers in Ghana and even a dozen classic red long-stemmed roses delivered fresh from the grower.

For the traditional: Dine out for a cause

Restaurants and food purveyors across the country look forward to Valentine’s Day crowds and some of them return the thanks:

  • In San Francisco, when you get the $100 Valentine’s Day tasting menu at Commonwealth $10 will be donated to a local charity (Commonwealth does this all year long).
  • In Florida, CharityDine.com has teamed up with local restaurants who donate 20% of the purchase price of a gift certificate to be donated to a charity of your choice. These certificates can be used on Valentine’s Day and beyond.
  • As part of the One Billion Rising effort to fight violence against women Jimmy’s Restaurant and Bar in Aspen, CO is hosting a Dance Party and making a $50 donation to the local RESPONSE organization for every $100 three-course dinner.
  • Looking for something a bit more casual? Valentine’s Day is Dutch Luv Day, when 195 Dutch Bros. Coffee locations in 94 cities will be offering drink specials in exchange for minimum canned food contributions to help their local food banks fight hunger.

Valentine’s Day Photo: OpenTable.com

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About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .



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