We know we're not alone in the general uneasiness inspired by the pressures of Valentine's day. In addition to provoking relationship anxiety (among singles and couples alike) and the extra strain on wallets, there's something particularly stressful about picking out yet another gift when confronted by the sappy, frilly options out there. In an effort to help restore a little sincerity to the holiday, this first of two guides sorts the sweet from the saccharine, the cute from the cheesy and the lovely from the precious.
For those looking to avoid shopping all together, check out our DIY guide.
Anatomical Heart Paperweight
Gilded but unsentimental, this paperweight is a nerdy twist on the symbolism of the day and perfect for all those flashy scientists on your list. The pewter objet is coated in 14k gold and will set you back $180 from Bestow. To make sure of on-time arrival, Bestow offers 2nd-day air for $16 and next day for $27.
Martin Margiela Nail Keyring
Masculine enough for a dude's dude but with plenty of fashion cred to make it suitable for anyone, Margiela's keyring transforms common hardware into a covetable golden accessory. It's £99 from oki-ni. If you're outside of the U.K., we recommend tracking down the accessory elsewhere as it won't make it on time.
Melissa's Passion Fruit
This unconventional gift sends a sweet message (never mind that they're named for the Passion of the Christ) to a paramour. Sweet and tart, the fruit's purple wrinkly exterior and soft edible seeds lend an exotic beauty and sensuality to the holiday. A box of eight is $30 from Melissa's and requires three-day shipping which varies in price depending on location.
Carve Your Own Postcard
With winter still here for many of us, finding a tree malleable enough to carve out you and your honey's initials may be hard to do. SUCK UK allows you to keep the same sentiment with their wooden postcard, a lightweight version of the real thing. All you need now is a sharp set of keys. Available at A+R for $12.
From custom jewelry designer Janet Fraile, these 14K gold earrings are a cute interpretation of Robert Indiana's famous sculpture. The dainty LOVE earrings are sure to please any girl, whether she's into jewelry or just you. Available from Auto for $900.
Petit Bateau Floral Print Underwear
Increase your odds by giving your girl a sweet set of underwear she's bound to feel sexy in and will also want to wear year round. This charming floral set from Petit Bateau will show her that you don't just want to see her in skivvies but that you want to see her in tasteful skivvies. Available from Petit Bateau for $56 for the set.
Puzzle her with this one-dimensional felt cut-out that turns into a three-dimensional ring. It's aptly named for the plus sign appearance the "diamond" ring gives off from an aerial view. Available from Molla Space for $20.
We Are So Good Together Poster
If you're not ready to say those three magic words but you want to let your special someone know you're digging them in a major way, this simple graphic is for you. The fact that it's letter-pressed on recycled paper with soy-based inks just makes you even more big-hearted. Available exclusively at ReForm School for $36.
American Apparel Adjustable Apron
Heat things up with this customizable apron from American Apparel. It's a great gift for the chef in your life or a fun accessory to sport while you cook your honey a romantic dinner. Have yours professionally emblazoned at your local silk screen printer or DIY with these easy iron-ons from Dutch Trade Shop. Available from American Apparel for $24.
Unfortunately Jasmine Raznahan's umbrella built for two (pictured) isn't in production, but we liked the concept so much we managed to track down a similar style for all you lovebirds out there who want to keep close and stay dry. Available from Kikkerland for $25.
Martin Margiela Silver Hospital Bracelet
We like the edginess of giving Margiela's hospital bracelet re-envisioned as a silver-plated brass bangle. The adjustable band makes it unisex and the label's engraved logo stands-in for a patient's name. Pick it up for £139 from oki-ni. (Only U.K. buyers will get it in time if they order within the next few days.)
Formosa Cell Phone Charm
From the Latin word for beauty, the Formosa phone charm also doubles as a mirror. The stainless steel charm was created by Swedish product designer Eva Schildt who likes to ad humorous twists to objects from our daily lives. Available at The Shop At Cooper-Hewitt for $25.
with contributions by Karen Day