Valentine's Day is around the corner—are you cringing at the prospect of trying to navigate the admittedly over-commercialized holiday yet? Remember: it can also be a day to celebrate people aside from romantic partners that you love and care for... including yourself! We have a few suggestions to brighten February 14th in big and little ways.
THE OLD CLASSICS
ROSES: One of the legends of how flowers became so closely associated with Valentine's Day is that Charles II of Sweden popularized the Persian art of the "language of flowers", allowing for conversations to take place without letters. Roses mean many things, including "love," "passion" and "beauty", and have therefore become a standard for this Hallmark holiday. UrbanStems has a lovely variety of Valentine's Day bouquets, like a $35 Adele and this $80 Bey arrangement.
CHOCOLATE: The other Valentine's classic is chocolate, which apparently came to fame in part because chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac and because a certain Richard Cadbury designed a heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day in the 19th century. Go for gusto with this Kissing Game from Jacques Torres, which includes 25 milk and dark chocolate bonbons, like Rose Taittinger Champagne Kiss truffles, along with playful messages.
SUCCULENTS: If you rather go off-beaten path for a more prickly Valentine, why not give succulents? They'll last longer and this adorable "Message in a Bottle" option ($49) from Plantshed is even in a Mason jar!
CASHMERE: Valentine's Day screams decadence, and this short cashmere robe (on sale for $77.40!) fits the bill. Besides being perfect for lounging, it works well for leaving your apartment, too.
KOMBUCHA: For the maker friend who also has a taste for fermented tea: The Deluxe Kombucha Brewing Kit brings together the essentials to make a batch of the beverage, including the jar, starter tea, culture and six bottles, for $69.97 (there's also a less comprehensive kit for $49.97). This screams date night, amirite?
UNICORNS: Valentine's Day doesn't have to be just about romantic gestures—it can also be about making people you love happy. This handmade "Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn" mug from Uncommon Goods would bring a smile to anyone's face. There's even a matching cereal bowl. Perfect for a Unicorn latte.
GO FANCY, OR GO FUNCTIONAL
JEWELRY: If you know someone who likes more sparkling gifts, these open heart, rose gold earrings from Shashi ($34) might be right up their alley. Seasonally sweet, but versatile enough for year-round wear.
GLOVES: You know what they say—warm hands, warm heart! These men's gloves from Saturdays come in three colors (ash heather, olive and black), have smartphone finger tips and are currently on sale for $20.
SURVIVAL AID: It's a little prepper, but love can be practical! The Sol Outdoor Multitool has an Ultrabright LED light; a 100-decibel rescue whistle; a fire sparker and fire tinder; a rescue flash signal mirror; a braided nylon cord; and much more. There's also a booklet from wilderness expert Buck Tilton, who offers lifesaving techniques.
THE SWEET STUFF
GUMMIES: There was a huge waitlist for Sugarfina's rosé gummy bears last summer, and, naturally, there's a Valentine's option: Rosé roses. At $8.50 for a small cube or $20 for a large, the new rosette-shaped gummies are a sophisticated twist for anyone with a sweet tooth. And if your Valentine likes something with chocolate, Sugarfina's peanut butter toffee—"dipped in milk chocolate"—are outrageously addictive.
CHAMPAGNE: As Bette Davis said in a movie, "There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne." And John Maynard Keynes said, "My only regret is that I have not drunk more champagne in my life." Thus, a pair of stemless Riedel champagne flutes ($24.95), plus a bottle of Veuve-Clicquot ($55.99), would be an elegant way to toast the day.
CRAFTS: Some of us are zoning out on Bob Ross's Joy of Painting on Netflix during these uncertain times, so obviously a Bob Ross Oil Paint Basic Set ($43.21) is the way to go. Add the stretched canvas to fast track your Valentine to the land of happy trees.
DRAGONS: Since Game of Thrones isn't premiering season 7 until the summer, here's something to comfort your Valentine until then: The Drogon plush (on sale for $29.99). This version of Daenerys' beloved dragon is four-feet wide with posable wings, perfect to retaking Westeros.
CAFFEINE: A serious gift for a serious coffee fiend: Blue Bottle's Weekender travel kit features a custom Timbuk2 waxed canvas and leather-trimmed bag filled with these essentials—Blue Bottle Bonmac Travel Dripper; Blue Bottle Coffee: Three Africas; Two Falcon Enamelware Tumblers; Two Felt Zarfs; Porlex Mini Hand Grinder; Bonmac #1 Filters; and a Brew Guide. Of course, if the $179 price feels too dear, you can opt for this "Perfectly Ground" pour-over kit ($47.50).
ANALOG MEMORIES: One complaint many people have is that all their photos are on their phone (taking up space) or in the cloud—why not give a Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer ($102.14) so someone can hold one of their memories? The prints are small—2" by 3"—but they have peel-backs to make putting together that photo album a snap (photo paper is $13.49 for a 30 pack).
GALENTINE'S DAY BONUS
Sure, it's a recent, made-up holiday from an NBC sitcom, but it's definitely worth putting into the rotation: As Leslie Knope described it, "Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas."
Besides having The Golden Girls to stream, lady friends can make some pancakes together (maybe with these cute Kate Spade pancake molds and spatula for $25). Or if you want a frittata, this 8-inch Calphalon pan ($34.99) fits the bill. If your BFF can't make it, maybe send them this Galentine package, complete with dinosaur planters, "Besties" temporary tattoos and some candy.