By: Emma Grady
Valentine’s Day is a nice reminder to appreciate the special people in our lives. It’s also an opportune time to surprise loved ones with a gift they least expect. Chocolate and flowers are always nice but our gift guide goes beyond the typical presents of the holiday and features 5 thoughtful, creative (and all secondhand) Valentine’s Day gift ideas and buying tips.
1. Red Purse & Shoes
A Red Chanel bag or vintage Christian Louboutins (recognizable by their infamous red soles) or red Salvatore Ferragamo loafers can be a great gift for the fashion forward friend. The standout hue—true to the holiday’s color theme—is ideal for fine handbags and fancy footwear. Next to classic wardrobe colors like black and white, red is a striking compliment.
Tip: Inspect wear and tear and bring handbags or shoes to a cobbler who can make any repairs and touch ups.
Note: European shoe sizes differ from American sizes, check an online guide to find proper sizes. Also, analyze shipping options and order expedited delivery to ensure packages arrive on time.
2. Candle Holders
For that significant other who loves interior design, candleholders are the perfect accent piece for their latest decorating project.
A candle holder is beautiful home decor essential. Whether you find a unique trio, a striking pair, or ornate one-offs, candle holders are romantic gifts that can be appreciated year round throughout the home. Find them in brick and mortar vintage boutiques or online, from Etsy and eBay to 1stDibs.
Gifting Tip: Compliment a gold or silver candelabra with a personal engraving and gift the piece with a candle in your Valentines’ favorite color or scent. When in doubt, opt for one of the holiday’s popular floral fragrances: peony or rose.
3. Silk Scarf or Handkerchief
A bright silk scarf or handkerchief is a classic gift suitable for anyone with an appreciation for subtle and functional luxury items. These trusted wardrobe essentials have timeless appeal and can be worn year round. Em’s Heart, Etsy, Ruby Lane, and eBay all have fine secondhand selections online.
Tip: Look for eye-catching colors, vibrant patterns, and search for high quality (100% silk material) and fine detailing (hand-stitched edges).
4. Champagne Flutes
A pair of crystal champagne flutes or wine glasses for your wine connoisseur or amateur Sommelier is functional a gift that will be put to good use on Valentine’s Day. Personalize the gift by engraving the glasses with a sentimental script or gift the glasses with a bottle of your loved one’s preferred vintage wine, Prosecco, or champagne.
5. Sentimental Treasure
As the age-old saying goes, it’s the thought behind the gift that counts. It must be mentioned, here, because it’s the sentiment behind Valentine’s Day that matters most. A vintage locket or pocket watch (fitted with a picture of his or her grandparents, parents, children, or significant other) or a charm bracelet complete with sentimental tokens are meaningful items that can all be engraved with sentimental dates. Trust your instinct on what they like (and remember, you know them better than the author of any gift guide). Practice your treasure hunting skills (also known as the art of thrifting) and visit a few thrift stores to see what catches your eye.
Tip: Practice pre-shop research, i.e., if your loved one likes vintage maps, call around or go online to see which vintage shop stocks the best selection.