Green Cleaning For Valentine's Day

Seventh Generation Gift ShopLately, my hostess gift of choice has been a big, recycled tote filled with natural cleaning products. It definitely stands out on front hallway tables, a giant proclaiming its presence among all the festively-wrapped bottles of wine and boxes of candy. After a bit of a rocky start -- the first time I tried it I definitely got a raised eyebrow as my hostess tried to figure out whether this was commentary on the cleanliness of her home -- my gift of green cleaning has become a coveted bring-along. Often, it leads to a few minutes in the kitchen (I don't know about you, but I find everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen, at least during cocktail hour) spent talking about the cleaning products we use. I know I've gotten a few of my friends to switch from their conventional cleaners to green cleaners. But a few people I know won't even consider changing. Even though they acknowledge that the chemicals in their cleaners might include toxins, they just can't give up the products their moms used when they were growing up. When I run into someone like this, my plan is to wear them down with information about why green products are so much better for the environment. (Think natural vs. chemical, and do you really want your children to be around chemicals?). Valentine's Day is coming up, and I was spurred to write this piece after I read a blog post about getting Seventh Generation for Christmas by Nation member abbybrooks. I want the conversation about green cleaning to continue, so all of the Valentine's Day gifts I plan to give -- to my mother and mother-in-law, to my son's piano teacher , to a good friend who is pregnant with her first child -- will include green cleaning products. And probably a little chocolate, too. What do you plan to give for Valentine's Day? And what would you like to receive?