I’m as cynical as they come, and single more often than not, so given the vapid commercialism and cliche expectations Valentine’s Day seems to represent, one might think I despise the holiday.
Yet, somehow, I loooove it.
You can probably thank my dad, a romantic at heart who’s still deeply in love with his high school sweetheart, my mom Judy. Dad sends me flowers every year, and even though I know it’s pretty much a sympathy gift (I’m the last of their children to remain single), it warms my heart without fail.
The roots of Valentine’s Day are mysterious and even controversial, but no matter who you ask, it has love at the core. For that reason, I like to refer to it as National Love Day, and that’s a day I will always choose to celebrate—with or without a romantic partner.
So whether it’s for that special one in your life, or a friend who could use a little reminder that they are loved, we wanted to provide some inspiration for gifts that will spread love as far and wide as possible.
Uye Surana Demi Lace Bralette
These romantic and risque pieces are handmade in New York City and are available in bespoke sizes. What’s even better: For certain purchases made before Valentine’s Day, they will donate $6.50 to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
I fell so in love with this line that it ended up becoming my Valentine while I was scouring their site. Naja is built on “a love for beautifully designed things, a bit of rebelliousness and a deep desire to make the world a better place.”
The Naja ethos resonates with Hollywood Hippy on a very real level, and they put their money where their heart is by donating 2% of revenues to educate and empower women in Colombia through their Underwear for Hope program.
Nothing is quite as romantic these days as a hand-written love note on a thoughtfully selected, hand-made card. These L.A.-based designers are still taking orders for Vday: Chrissy Nicole Designs, RamandOxx and Crooked Calligraphy.
Swan Vitality Vibe
The rechargeable Leaf Vibrator by Swan is a bit of a racier option, but could be perfect— depending on what kind of message you want to send. You can tell her it was Hollywood Hippy’s idea. This baby is phlalate-free, rechargeable and washable, so it’s about as eco-friendly as they come and I’m fairly certain there won’t be any complaints.
Today, over 150 people in Uganda and Peru are working, receiving education, and being mentored toward a brighter future in creating gifts that give back. Every product is hand-signed by the person who made it.
Paisley scarf, $78.
Phoenix poncho, $88.
World’s Greatest Beanie, $70.
The Pike weekender bag, $125.
Hands down the most gorgeous, comfortable, portable flat anywhere. Every wedding coordinator I know has a few pairs of these! Their primary line comes in a soft, fine Italian leather and they also have a gorgeous handcrafted line made with vegan materials. Tieks contributes to efforts that empower women entrepreneurs around the world through Kiva small business loans.
Ballet Flat, Metallic Gold, $195.
Ballet Flat, Greystone, $175.
Au Rate Jewelry
This quality bling line, including real gold, represents truly fine design meeting a new, purpose-driven approach to creating and selling jewelry. The brand has developed a program to donate books to needy youth and support literacy in America.
Asymmetric Pearl Ear Jacket, $900.
This loungewear for men, women and kids is handcrafted by women in India. This is how you rock a distinctive and rich South Asian flair. The Punjammies ($46 and up) are apparently the crowd favorite.
Looking for unique floral design? Farmgirl Flowers, as you can guess by the name, sources flowers from farms that meet certain ethical and eco-friendly standards. Bouquet arrangements, with signature wrapping in burlap, start at $45.
Hollywood Hippy Tote Bag
I mean, check out the “Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is” design on this bag made from upcycled rice bags.