Valentine’s Day is a pretty warped holiday when you think about it. For people who aren’t in a relationship, it’s often cringe-inducing to see other people get cards/flowers/candy/stuffed animals, even if you’re not usually into that kind of thing. But it can be much more uncomfortable for the participating parties — suddenly there are baffling expectations that center on overpriced lingerie, armloads of roses, and tables-for-two. To take some of the stress out of the situation, check out our shopping guide for February 14. We’ll go ahead and warn you that there is an overwhelming amount of both hearts and the color red involved, but everything that we’ve picked out is a present that we’d actually be psyched to give or receive — or simply buy for ourselves. Let us know in the comments which gifts you love!
You Are Here Letter Press Poster, $25
The anatomically-correct (not to mention, aesthetically pleasing) way to show that special someone exactly where they fit in your life.
Olivetti Valentine Sottsass Typewriter, $795
There’s a reason that this fire engine red beauty is part of the MoMA’s permanent collection: It’s like the Sophia Loren of typewriters.
A Wearable Planter, $55
Giving your significant other flowers is so predictable — not to mention the inflated cost. A wearable planter is more creative and it’s portable.
Records Valentine, $18
It’s not exactly what we’d call romantic, but this card is a good option if your current fling needs a bit of a reality check.
De Dolle Oerbier, $8 per bottle
How cute is this packaging? And we’ll let you in on a little secret: the Belgian beer that’s inside of the pretty bottle is incredibly delicious too.
Mr. and Mrs. Mug Set, $34
So what if you’re both total monsters before you’ve had your morning cup of coffee? These mugs are a reminder to laugh about it.
Illustrations/Love Laptop and iPad Skin by Famous When Dead, $30
Want to make it clear to the other computer nerds in coffee shop that your beloved is taken? This delightful decal should do the trick.
Naked Girls Teapot, $56
For a Valentine who enjoys a hot pot of tea. Heh.
Magic Frog to Prince, $8
This could be a nice visual aid if you’re declaring your love to someone who needs convincing.
Love Life, Day by Day Calendar, $17
It’s like a gold star chart, but for tracking your relationship.
Heart To Heart Print by Eric Telchin, $75
Take a close look: this colorful print is a collage made up of hundreds of randomly occurring heart shapes that Eric Telchin snapped on his iPhone.
Heart-Shaped Gelatin Mold, $9
Need some liquid courage before you can warm up to your Valentine? Going halfsies on a giant heart-shaped Jell-O shot should make things much friendlier.
Damn Felt Pennant, $14
This retro pennant would make a nice prop for your head cheerleader/football captain role playing.
Lily Vanilli Valentine’s Bleeding Hearts, £7
Ideal for fans of My Bloody Valentine, the work of Sam Raimi, and/or Grey’s Anatomy
Mr. Jones Love Knows Not (What Time Is) Watch, $180
How’s this for romantic: once an hour the jumbled letters on this watch face align to spell out “love knows not what time is.” Somewhere, Flavor Flav has chills.
Breakfast in Bed Food Basket from Fauchon, $89
Because nothing says “je t’aime” quite like a basket of warm croissants and a jar of rosebuds.
Custom Floral Portrait Print by Rifle Paper Co., $225
There’s probably no better way to show that you’re committed to a relationship than a custom portrait, right?
McClure’s Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, $12
Perfect for the couple who’s looking to add a little more spice to their relationship — or at least their Sunday mornings.
William Carlos Williams “Winter Trees” Poem Arm Chair, $700
Writing a poem for your Valentine is sweet. Buying him or her an arm chair emblazoned with the words of William Carlos Williams is a grand gesture.
I Love Me Heart Mirrors, $96
If you’re dating a narcissist, this is probably your best option.
Heart Attack Tie, $48
Giving him a hand-silkscreened tie is a sneaky way to make sure that he gets dressed up for your Valentine’s Day dinner.
Tunes for 2 Headphone Splitter, $16
We think this is an adorable idea, but be prepared for the eye rolls if you whip it out in public.
Vosges Mini Exotic Candy Bar Library, $25
See how neatly these gourmet chocolates are organized! If your significant other tends to be a little OCD around the house (not that we’d know what that’s like), then he or she will appreciate the gesture.
This Is For You by Rob Ryan, $17
Sometimes the best way to describe how you feel about someone — or love in general, for that matter — is with a book of intricate paper cuts.
Heart Signet Ring by Digby & Iona, $170
Have one of those hard-to-impress Valentines? The edge of this ring reads “E Cosi Desio Me Mena,” which translates to “And So Desire Carries Me Along,” a quote from Petrarch’s 1342 work Canzoniere.