I think I’m in the minority when I say that I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day. Even as a single lady with no romantic candlelit dinners on the horizon, I ignored the eye-rolls of my friends while I decorated homemade cards and made chocolate cupcakes. I smiled at couples taking affectionate pictures, and helped grateful last-minute shoppers find the perfect rose bouquet.
Now, as a budding beekeeper, I have even more reason to enjoy this holiday of love.
Believe it or not, beekeeping has long been associated with love. Ancient Egyptian gods of love were thought to sweeten honey and protect beekeepers.
And St. Valentine represents more than just Hallmark cards and candy hearts: he’s also the patron saint of beekeeping.
This makes sense to me, because beekeeping is a hobby entrenched in respect, love, and adoration for other beings.
What better day to celebrate love, friendship, and beekeeping? Here are 9 ways to mark the day for bee-lovers and beekeepers alike.
1. Skip The Bouquet, and Go For The Seeds
While the dreary month of February is always a great time to brighten up a house with a bouquet of fresh flowers, most beekeepers would much rather have bee-friendly blooms to enjoy in the spring. Check out seed catalogs and pesticide-free nurseries instead of the conventional vase of red roses. Consider gifting nectar-rich flowers like geraniums, poppies, or sunflowers, or bee-friendly herbs like lavender or sage.
To learn about the best bee plants for your region, visit a regional botanic garden or nursery. Seeds may be an unconventional bouquet, but your beekeeper will no doubt appreciate your thoughtful gesture for their bees!
2. Make Your Own Bee Valentines
Valentine’s day is the perfect time to write notes of gratitude to your loved ones, and you don’t need to spend a week’s salary at the card store to do it. Check out free, printable bee Valentines from Polkadot Chair.
You could jazz these up with candy or pencils, or simply use them as a vehicle for your handwritten note. Best of all, you can print them at home and decorate them however you like (or not at all!)
3. Honey Bee Lush Bath Bomb
This is the perfect gift for a little self-care on Valentine’s Day. Lush’s Bath Bombs are one of those products that I feel just a little too guilty to indulge in on any normal day. They are luxurious and lovely. Drop it into your bath, grab a book or put on some music, and embrace an hour of relaxation.
This Honey Bee version is moisturizing and soothing on the skin, thanks to honey, one of the main ingredients. Breathe deep, and soak in the honey!
4. Care For Your Beekeeper’s Hands
Beekeeping hands definitely take a beating. Between stings, lifting heavy beehives, gardening, and handling hot hive tools, bee-loving hands are likely to have a sore or two.
Treat your beekeeper (or yourself!) with a Burt’s Bees Hand Repair gift set, complete with beeswax hand cream for total moisturizing power.
5. Start a New Hobby With Your Honey
No gift is better than time spent together, and one of the best ways to spend time with your loved one is over a shared hobby. Plus, two bodies are better than one when it comes to planting, moving hives, and extracting honey. Involve your sweetheart in your beekeeping hobby (or offer to help in one of their favorite hobbies).
If you need help getting started, I’d recommend the PerfectBee eBook series to get your shared hobby off to a wonderful start. Other ideas: consider a membership to a local art museum, botanical garden, or theater. Making memories (and honey) together is an investment in a shared future.
6. A Honeyed Breakfast in Bed
There is a plethora of delicious breakfasts to make with some special, local honey.
From honey-and-fruit topped yogurt, to banana-honey muffins, to honey-nut scones, it’s possible to use your bee by-products to make a breakfast of epic proportions.
If you haven’t started to reap the rewards of your bees yet, visit a local beekeeper or specialty foods store. With a little effort, you can make a breakfast to remember while your loved one enjoys a well-deserved relaxing morning in bed.
7. Bee-Friendly Candlelit Dinner
No Valentine’s Day list would be complete without the classic Valentine’s Day evening: a homemade dinner. The trick is to adapt the standard model with bee-related touches. You’ll get extra points for your thoughtfulness and going the extra mile, I promise.
Start the evening off with a honey tasting (check out this gorgeous one from Bee Raw), and don’t forget to pair the honey with cheeses and crusty breads. Light some beeswax candles to set the mood, and wow your sweetheart with a meal made with bee-produced products.
Considering that bees help produce about seventy out of the top 100 human-food crops, it won’t be too big of a challenge. Don’t forget dessert: try this honey-lemon custard with fruit.
8. Decorate with Bees
For Valentine’s Day, help your loved one make their space a reflection of their love for bees. Framed art, photographs, or hanging beekeeping mementos will brighten their days. Whether you are purchasing for their home, office, or gardening shed, Etsy has some great bee art options.
Check out this poster or just frame a few photographs of your loved one’s beekeeping operation. Especially in the slow winter months, they will appreciate the visual reminder of their busy, honey-producing beehives in the height of summer.
9. Volunteer to Show Love
Caring for bees reminds us of the connectivity of living things. While we may try to exist in our separate worlds, we need each other. For Valentine’s Day, show love and care for those who need it most. Many homeless shelters, food kitchens, and domestic violence shelters have Valentine’s Day fundraising or volunteering events.
You can also write notes to caregivers, make cards for nursing home residents, or bake cookies for your local volunteer fire department. Think about your children’s teachers, your friendly mail carrier, or that neighbor who helped you dig out your car from three feet of snow. It’s a great excuse to show your gratitude with a handwritten note or jar of local honey.
Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with yourself, your sweetheart, your family, or your bees: I wish you a day filled with gratitude, love, and honey.