Gift Guide

Give It Up: Valentine’s Day

Five new gift ideas—and then some—for going outside the flowers-and-chocolates realm.

By Heather Fink February 7, 2012


Do we say this every year? Maybe so. But it remains true: there’s nothing wrong with chocolates or flowers, but you may want to go in another direction just to prove you can. From the north end of town to the International district, here are five suggestions for thinking outside the box this Valentine’s Day.

Named for the Japanese word for peach, Momo – manages to offer a variety of men’s and women’s clothing, vintage and new housewares, jewelry, and gifts from Asia, Europe and Hawaii inside a small corner shop in the ID. We like the assortment of accessories made from kimono fabric; owner Lei Ann Shiramizu suggests the Trois Petits Points’ enamel lockets, available in a variety of colors.

Because lovers love to eat, and, especially in Seattle, lovers love to cook, point your nose in the direction of World Spice Merchants. Loose leaf teas, cook books, and gift sets (perhaps Provencal Taste or Chile Exotica?) are all well and good, but we love the pure spices best. Bright yellow curries and deep pink beet powders are pretty enough to jar and leave unwrapped; research a full-meal deal to create with your freshly ground potions and you’ve got a pretty sweet gift on your hand. You might even investigate which spices have aphrodisiac qualities.

Maybe the two of you aren’t quite at that stage yet. For V’Day hunters whose tastes are more sporty than spicy, check out the Hex line at Goods. The maker of bags and watches does nice iPhone cases; they’re elegant, hip, and simple—and just right for couples who wouldn’t be where they are today without those unlimited texting plans.

If flowers have always been your thing, try changing the plan just a little this year with a plant that’s reminiscent of sunlight and sand, or a tropical forest. Indoor Sun Shoppe tends to an indoor oasis of orchids, succulents, carnivorous plants, and other tropical botanicals. If you think your sig other might get serious about this exotic green thumb thing, the shop also vends greenhouse supplies, and lots of lighting options capable of subbing in for the sunshine. (See that Theo Chocolate shop across the street? No one’s going to call you on it if you spring for some of that, too.)

Another way to tweak the flower tradition is to try Dandelion Botanical Company where the flower essences are packaged in colorful bottles and intended to lift spirits, boost moods, and carry one off to sleep—and all kinds of other things too. The distilled formulas are said to have the energetic properties of the blooms they’re derived from, so even if you don’t think your giftee needs a remedy, you might consider giving them the vibrational equivalent of their favorite bouquet or beloved herb. You never know when hibiscus or larkspur might come in handy.

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