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A Fairly Thoughtful And Just-In-Time Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

We give traditional presents on Valentine’s Day not because we lack imagination, but because our forebears were rolling in smarts. February and love call in fact for the shiny, the cuddly, the floral, and the significant. Needless to say, tradition can be upheld in intelligent, modern, and ethical ways.

For The Women In Our Lives, Who Might Just Be Us

Jewelry For, Or From, Your Darling

I can’t think of any reason not to give pre-owned, or vintage jewelry. Price, environmental impact, and sheer desire for beauty, all conspire. If budget is in fact no object, this Chanel bracelet is still available at the vintage and consignment jewelry store, Beladora. I swear Chanel’s spoofing the iconic Cartier “LOVE” bracelet. Cheeky indulgence, even better. $6750.


But, more realistically perhaps, we might like a charm with meaning. For the gardener in your life, to wear around her neck. $95. In my experience Beladora ships very, very quickly.


Sleep And Bedwear For Everyone’s Hearts’ Desires

Instead of itchy lingerie, give comfy flannel pajama bottoms. They really do make the best house pants. I wouldn’t mind a pair printed with swans, who mate for life. $14.99. Wanting to make sure bird romance wasn’t an urban myth, I looked it up.


Then, because Valentine’s Day is about passion as well as comfort, add a bra like this, from net-a-porter. $320. Decadence Zizanie indeed, but worth it perhaps if your mate loves purple. (This stretch silk number offers underwire support, and is available in sizes up to 34F.)

Or, instead, a matching tank, because, you know, it’s a little cold out there. Sturdy Gals are fine with transparent but they’d rather not freeze. $106.50.


TRENT1821_GEMST_FT_FR_LCosabella has so many options. I’d pay for express shipping, just to be sure.

Valentine’s Day For The Men In Our Lives

Stems And Blossoms

Let’s say you are buying for a man. I say, send flowers. Look for an artisanal local florist, which here in San Francisco might bring you to Studio Choo’s special Valentine’s Day shop. They offer 3 different color palettes, this one is “Monterey Bay.” The large arrangement is $200, but smaller ones are available. You could present this bouquet, by hand. (Edit: Breaking news. Today Gardenista posted a guide here for online/local florists across the country.)


If you can’t source locally, find a shipper that makes the effort to keep environmental impact low and laborer working conditions high. I used Organic Bouquet last year with good results. This year they’re offering a special. Buy one dozen roses and you get one dozen free. Two dozen roses is always better, three, in my opinion, is best. What? Valentine’s Day comes only once a year. $50, plus shipping. $10 extra for delivery on Saturday. And yes, this year February 14th falls on a Saturday.


Keeping Time

Of course, given ubiquitous phone clocks, watches take on new meaning. Linkshare introduced me to Uniform Wares. Designing in London, manufacturing watches in Switzerland, and straps in France, Italy and Germany. They allow you to mix and match the match and several bands. This one’s steel and stingray. How’s that for 35 mm of minimalist luxury? $1,100, free shipping worldwide.


If you’re thinking mid-range, I like Bulova. $260.87.

Bulova Accutron II For Valentine's Day


Is it time for the brand to have a retro-chic moment? I say yes. Especially in forest green, and discounted on Amazon.

And let us never forget the Sturdy standby, Timex. They offer a discount right now on their site: 15% Off Almost Everything with code TRULUV. 2 day shipping available for $12.95.

TRULUV, AKA the first vanity license plate I’ve ever wanted.

For Your Little Pats Of Butter

Do you give your kids presents for Valentine’s Day? Sometimes I do. And my favorite gift for my peewees, big as they are? Fancy no-phtalate, no-paraben, hair and body products from Sephora to replace their budget big-box standards. Here’s what I’m thinking for this year.

For the boy child living in cold, cold Brooklyn: Anthony Glycolic Face Wash, Anthony Oil-Free Facial Lotion

For the redheaded ringleted girl child: Ouidad Curl Recovery Sulfate-Free Shampoo, Oiudad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner (anything to help save time in medical school)

Finally, because we should always consider Not Buying Anything, send your beloved a link to this movie trailer. From South Korea, My Love, Don’t Cross That River is the story of two very old people married for 75 years, and the love they show each other in all their actions. Many thanks to Ronni Bennet, at the excellent Time Goes By, for the link. And love, in all guises, to all.


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30 Responses

  1. I love your gift idea for your children. I still give mine (grown and not) a big ol’ heart shaped box of candy. I can’t help but go the sappy route.

  2. I’ve enjoyed Last Tango in Halifa on Netflix… it’s the story of love rediscovered later in life.
    I like to think of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to rekindle romance.
    A delicious dinner, a glass of bubbly, flowers and chocolates are how we celebrate…no gifts.

  3. If you are buying locally, Timothy Adams chocolates in downtown Palo Alto are delicious! Perhaps a gift for significan husband or self…

    I particularly like the marzipan date, lemon, and the vanilla caramel. Plus they have lots of single origin truffles too.

    1. @Hadilly, Downtown PA? I haven’t seen them. I’ll take a look, thanks for the recommendation. Stores on University Street seemed to have a big change-out just recently.

    2. @Hadilly, right, the chocolate shop is on Bryant, south of University.

      There has been tremendous turnover on University. It is amazing.

      I’ll look forward to hearing if you like it!

    1. @Susan, Your husband makes your Valentine’s Day card? That is very, very sweet. Your kids must love it – almost as much as you do:). Such a lovely husband and wife tradition.

  4. That bra is gorgeous, but I don’t think it’s meant for an “I nursed three kids for a total of 7 years” set of mammary glands. But a girl can dream…

  5. Love those watches. Talk about high low. Thanks for the flower shops. Something to be used through the year. Is there a trailer that I can’t see for the life of me? Valentines day with my husband of 54 years? All he wants is a hug and a kiss! He gets them every day.

  6. I want that bra. And I have to be careful what i say here. Last time I wanted that anorak from Nordstroms’ and the next thing I knew it was on my doorstep.

    As a florist I give blood for Valentines but I appreciate all those who spend the bucks to send the love.

    xo J

  7. Was given a small silver shovel for my charm bracelet years ago, then a rake, and a watering can.

    Valentines is a nice dinner, but the money goes toward travel.

    Uh oh, love the Cartier bracelet !

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  8. Jewelry, hands-down, is one of the most meaningful and lasting gifts anyone could ever receive, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion. What’s more, there’s lots of ways to customize them to fit a person’s personality and interests. It’s something that will never, ever, get old.

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