Gift ideas for Valentine’s Day with a twist


Chocolates and sweets

A Whitman’s Sampler may be what its maker Russell Stover calls “a timeless tradition,” but chocolate lovers will literally be in for a treat with new versions of the V-Day staple.​​

Find a local chocolatier or shop online to have distinctive delights delivered to you from anywhere. In Boston, for example, Beacon Hill Chocolates works with master chocolatiers from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and the United States to offer hand-painted chocolates in small batches.​​

Truffle collections include lavender, bacon, chai and other surprising flavors. Valentine’s Keepsake Boxes come with vintage cover images that have been die-cut, hand-painted, and sparkle. And for those who want their dessert tinged with the taste of alcohol, founder and shop owner Paula Barth, 59, has developed a 12-piece collection of liqueur-flavored truffles.

Presentation is important, so pay attention to the aesthetics of the box itself, says Barth: “The ‘wow factor’ is just as important as what you taste.”

Meanwhile, at Kate Weiser Chocolate in Dallas, you can create your own box of hand-painted candies – each of which takes six days to make – that have cute names like “Cookie Monster” (vanilla bean ganache with cookie butter crisp) and “Ninja Turtle” (smooth butterscotch with ground toasted pecans).

For candy lovers, consider making a set of favorite candies and take it up a notch by adding a few trivia. A note accompanying a package of M&Ms, for example, might explain how the candies were stamped with a black “m” in 1950 – to help consumers tell the real thing from imitators – before switching to a white “m” in 1954.​​


Personalized jewelry can add meaning to another popular Valentine’s Day gift. A bracelet engraved with the name of a pet. A pendant that holds the ashes of a special person. A watch with a message on the dial.​​

It’s “a one-of-a-kind piece that’s completely different, that you won’t find anywhere else,” says Leanne Kolodziej, director of Jewelry by Johan in Oakdale, Minnesota (and daughter of owner Johan Rust).

The shop specializes in pieces made with atypical materials. Among them are a meteorite (perfect for “I love you to the moon” fans), woods, and 110 different types of wood, including exotic varieties such as ironwood and koa.​​

Customization takes personalization one step further. Kolodziej says customers brought in pieces of a baseball bat and a shop bench to incorporate into rings.​​

Personalized online options from retailers like Eve’s Addiction and Oak & Luna include monogrammed necklaces and name rings.​​

Flowers and Plants

Bouquets usually only last seven to 12 days – and that’s with proper care. A flower or plant subscription, on the other hand, can provide up to 12 months of greenery, with some companies offering different levels of service.​​

Online company UrbanStems, which works with Rainforest Alliance-certified farms, offers weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly flower bouquet deliveries, with three plans to suit different floral tastes.​​

Subscriptions also exist in the factory area. Lively Root, based in San Diego, Calif., offers a variety for gift recipients with and without a green thumb. Plans revolve around easy-care, pet-friendly, or rare and special plants.​​

Those who give one-and-done gifts might be looking at a single plant, which can be enjoyed for years. One Lively Root option is the Flamingo tropical flower, a colorful year-round bloomer that yields a heart-shaped red leaf.


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