Valentine’s Day. You want to get your sweetheart a gift that says, “You’re Special,” but ideally, not those actual words spelled out in heart-shaped letters on a Mylar balloon held by a teddy bear. These gifts are some of our favorites, from candy that’s outside the box to lingerie that puts Victoria’s Secret to shame.
1. A locket with a photo slot lets her hold you close to her heart. This one, from the House of Harlow line, designed by Nicole Richie, is 14-kt gold plate, dangles from a long chain and has a decidedly modern vibe.
2. These four volumes—anthologies of classic love poems, love songs and letters, and poems on friendship—include works by writers that range from John Donne to John Updike. Did we mention each is handsomely bound with its own red ribbon bookmark and small enough to fit in a pocket (or under a pillow)? $39.
3. The French make the best lingerie (heck, they invented the word) and Aubade makes the best of the best. This bra and pair of panties will make her feel as chic and sexy as Catherine Deneuve. $208 for both.
4. You love it when he wears a suit. He prefers to throw on something that proudly shows off who he roots for at the ballpark. This gift will make you both happy. $150.
5. Prove he’s aged as well as a fine vintage wine. If he’s forty or younger, go to erobertparker.com, look for a vintage listed under his birth year as “outstanding” or “extraordinary,” then plug in the one you’ve found at wine-searcher.com, which consolidates catalogs from wine shops around the country, to see what’s available (and how much it will set you back). Prices vary.
6. We bet even if she says she doesn’t like perfume, she’ll warm to this incredibly sophisticated, fresh-as-a-flower-shop scent, described by its maker as “white lilac on a linen sheet with a touch of orange leaves.” $130.
7. A Whitman sampler sends the message: “I grabbed this at the drugstore on the way home from the office.” A box of Fran’s salted caramels announces: “You are sophisticated and well worth savoring: sweet, salty, substantial and addictive.” $27.
8. Here’s a neat variation on a framed photo: Take a favorite snapshot of the two of you and have it printed on stretched canvas to hang on the wall instead. Simply choose your size and upload your photo at shutterfly.com. $80 and up.
9. For the geek who has everything: a 5,922-piece Lego set of the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest symbol of romantic love. From $570 through various .
10. Dinner at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day means cranky waiters and overpriced foot—and that’s if you can get a reservation. But stay home and make this recipe from Jamie Oliver—a wintertime variation of his Easiest, Sexiest Salad in the World. Throw in some Prosecco, and you may not even have to cook the second course. Under $10 for ingredients; Prosecco $10.