Sierra’s Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
25 tokens that scream “I love you as much as you love the planet!”
It’s that special time of year when you get to express to loved ones just how much they mean to you. From traditional gifts like flowers and jewelry to surprising presents (think singing telegrams and hemp skivvies), and from sweet little tokens to big splurgy gestures, we scouted out 25 items that say "I see you and your green streak, and I love it all!"
Want to get your sweetie into the backcountry but keep them comfy and warm? Sierra Design’s Frontcountry Bed Duo ($187) offers a tandem oversize, zipperless, integrated comforter with insulated hand/arm pockets to seal out drafts and a ripstop outer shell. The roomy, rectangular cut allows the two of you to sleep comfortably and cozily. Plus, a sleeve on the bottom accommodates two sleeping pads, and a special liner features the elevation chart of the PCT. There's more—a foot vent allows sleepers to kick out toes when things get too toasty. For those game to double the fun outside the tent too, Sierra Designs' Double Folding Chair (above, $50) allows two to cozy up in comfort. And it comes with a phone pocket, insulated cup holders, and a carry bag for easy transport.
Cut fresh flowers may be the quintessential romantic gesture, but no one likes to trash them a few days after V-Day. Preserved flowers, on the other hand, can have a life spanning months or even years (how better to symbolize your undying love?). It was after several years spent working in the wedding and floral industries that Caryn Lim, bummed out from having to throw out flowers after mere hours, developed a process that utilizes nontoxic chemicals such as ethanol and glycerin to treat and preserve flowers, resulting in bouquets that don’t require sunlight or watering, yet keep flowers’ beauty intact. Check out the Valentine's Day collection (bouquets start at $69) from her company Timeless Flower Design.
Could your dear use a dash of greenery to liven up their abode? How about a framed Living Wall Garden? The pieces from Urbanstrong’s low-maintenance, self-watering Fresh Frame Series (from $239) mount to the wall just like a picture frame or shelf and can be shipped in fully planted, ready-to-hang form. Or, if your Valentine prefers to choose and plant their own greenery, choose "unplanted," which comes with a plant guide that they can take to the local plant shop or nursery. No plumbing or electricity is necessary to tend to this aesthetically pleasing (and versatile!) display garden, which is made from 100 percent recycled and sustainable materials and comes equipped with internal cloths that passively wick water to plants' roots.
Scented candles from DEHV Co. ($38) come in a range of nostalgia-inspiring, transporting scents like Riviera, Humidor, Northeast, and Woodland. The candlemakers behind this woman-owned brand hand-pour non-GMO soy wax into concrete vessels and use lead-free cotton wicks that keep your love’s home free from chemicals. These candles also come in plastic-free and biodegradable packaging. The very best part? DEHV's candle dust covers are made from seed paper, and can thus, once the candle’s life has come to an end, be planted in their vessels and reborn as plants.
Does your better half enjoy casual entertaining (circa Before Times!), unique ways to display jewelry, and/or a hot cuppa? The upcyclers at The Brooklyn Teacup repurpose vintage fine china into pretty tiered serving trays ($100 to $200), stands (starting at $75), ring dishes (starting around $50), and teacup and saucer sets (starting around $60). In addition to sourcing pre-loved heirlooms, the company sends gifts out in repurposed, recyclable, or otherwise reusable packaging.
Not only have the performance-sock makers behind Swiftwick been donating socks to medical professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines, but they also just unveiled a limited-edition National Parks collection ($16 per pair). Now you can showcase 360-degree renderings of Yellowstone, Zion, Great Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, and/or Grand Canyon on your lover’s tootsies. Did we mention these socks also offer moderate-compression, temperature regulation, and are made to keep feet dry and blister-free?
At this point, you’ve probably heard rumblings about the almost bizarrely soothing powers of weighted blankets. Whether they really do transport our psyches back to states of womb-like safety or simply make it too much work to be twitchy and restless, these things really do seem to produce nice calm sleep. Bearaby Nappers ($249) are hand-knit from plant-based fabrics, so go ahead and cocoon your partner. They deserve it.
Don’t forget the kids this V-Day! Did you know that these adorable weighted Peaceful Pals stuffed animals from SensaCalm can be used as an alternative to a weighted blanket? These toys are crazy cozy, providing soothing comfort to children (and adults, TBH) of all ages. They start at $55.
We know "V-Day gifts” and “baby clothes” don’t typically belong in the same sentence. But just in case you have little humans on your gifting list, we must tell you about Beya Made—a collection of expandable clothing for babies and toddlers made from organic fibers and recycled textile plastics. Why expandable? Because according to the apparel-makers behind Beya Made, wearing a garment for just nine months longer reduces a clothing item’s carbon and water footprint by up to 30 percent. We love the look of the vibrant unisex rompers ($76) featured in Beya’s Valentine’s Collection.
Keep your honey fashionably hydrated with this hand-crafted reusable copper water bottle ($35). According to the vessel crafters behind Copper H20, water stored in naturally antibacterial copper becomes naturally alkaline, which is believed to help balance the body’s pH levels.
Who knew sea turtle hospitals could produce stunning jewelry? These hoop earrings ($160) from Juno Beach, Florida’s Loggerhead Marine Center feature bejeweled turtles in rose gold, embellished with sparkling Swarovski crystals on sterling silver hoops. They're perfect for the better half who digs a touch of glam with their protection of endangered marine life (proceeds fund the conservation and care of the nearly 100 turtles and 1,000 hatchlings being cared for at Loggerhead’s oceanside facility).
For jewelry at a lower price point, check out Fair Anita. The social enterprise partners with 8,000+ survivors of sexual and domestic violence worldwide who are also artisans crafting beautiful accessories. We’re partial to these elegant Leaf Dangle Earrings ($16), made from recycled bullet casings scavenged by women in Ethiopia.
If your love’s more into necklaces and bracelets, check out the Pebbles Collection from Isabelle Grace Jewelry. Pieces (starting at $46) pay homage to the imperfection of pearls—and many showcase renderings of natural features like sunrise, pine trees, and blooming dandelions. They're individually hand-crafted from recycled silver, and each, not unlike your Valentine, is one-of-a-kind.
Speaking of bracelets, Wild in Africa ($40) has beautiful, unisex wildlife-themed ones. If your sig-o has a special penchant for an endangered species like pangolins, rhinos, or ground hornbills, why not gift them a unique beaded piece with a charm featuring their spirit animal. The best part is, 50 percent of the purchase price goes toward the conservation of said critter.
Fact: Nobody doesn’t love getting the gift of velvety skin care. Silk Therapeutics crafts organic, cruelty-free moisturizers (starting at $42) and serums (starting at $120) out of silk harvested from natural silkworm cocoons (rather than petrochemicals). Each product has less than 12 ingredients (none of which are allergens, phthalates, nor parabens), is biodegradable, and once applied, feels like, well, silk.
You also can’t go wrong with an ultra-moisturizing, lightweight body oil. And Jurlique offers an eminently luxurious, romantic option—its delicately scented, antioxidant-rich Rose Body Oil ($48) is made from organic botanicals harvested from a biodynamic, solar-powered farm.
Has yoga been your better half’s best friend during pandemic life? Check out these breathable, quick-drying, high-waisted leggings ($88) from ORO. They come in 15 colors (all boast a signature band of deep gold around the left ankle) and envelop lower halves in flattering, luxe nylon/spandex softness. (They’re also great options for surfers and SUPpers.) Not only does the company demonstrate a commitment to fair wages and healthy work environments for its Mexico-based labor force, but also $10 from every pair sold goes to organizations in Mexico that support women and children.
Some good news on the upcyled apparel front: The B Corp brand known for wizardry when it comes to turning remnant material gear into colorful activewear (that would be Cotopaxi) just launched its most versatile and sustainable apparel piece yet, the Teca Cálido Jacket ($150), with varieties for men and women.
Skivvies may be a go-to V-Day gift, but they can be tricky to buy for runners, hikers, and backpackers. Enter the performance underwear (from $28) and bras (from $38) from Branwyn, which were designed for active women, by active women. Each item is made from fine strands of Merino wool, which is naturally breathable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and temperature-regulating. Which means you’re giving your love the gift of comfort (and no chafing!) during hikes, backcountry expeditions, and trail runs.
We haven't forgotten the gents! In addition to being naturally low-impact and antibacterial, hemp fabric is super soft and breathable—which makes it a prime candidate for comfy undies. To set an earthy mood, check out WAMA Underwear’s boxer briefs ($24), spun from hemp and organic cotton.
If your lady likes to run, make it easier for her to get out during chilly months with the gift of these lightweight women’s stretch running gloves ($25) from Nathan Sports. With a brushed fleece lining, they keep digits toasty on 30° to 50°F days. They’re comfy, dexterous, and boast a touch-screen “texting finger” (meaning she won’t have to shed them to take a call or snap a photo). They also come with fetching reflective patterns (safety first!) and a built-in chamois (so she can wipe her nose in the cold).
Is the way to your love’s heart through their dog? We also totally get it if you’d prefer to fete Valentine’s Day with your furry best friend. And Kurgo's Liberty Floral Loft Coat ($40) will warm your Valentine's dark wintertide with a flourish of pastoral whimsy.
How about some tasty brew for your dog-loving dear? Especially if they're a rescue dog advocate, they’ll love everything about Rescue Roast ($15), a full-bodied medium blend with notes of caramel, dark chocolate, raisin, and toasted pecan, from Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. Through February 28, a full 100 percent of Rescue Roast profits will benefit the Beagle Freedom Project, supporting a program to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome canine survivors of laboratory experiments (as well as survivors of the dog meat trade, puppy mills, and exploitative entertainment like racing).
Here’s a gift with a minimal footprint for the sweetie who’s leery of accumulating more stuff. Remember Cameo? Singstagram is kinda like that, but way sweeter and more personalized. After having all his 2020 live performances canceled, NYC-based singer Adam James (pictured above in his studio) decided to not only write personalized songs for fans but also produce music videos for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and yes, Valentine’s Day. Which means you can arrange for James to write and perform a custom song all about your loved one and deliver it in the form of a fun video (starting at $100).
While we’re on the topic of super personalized mementos, you might want to look into Fondfolio. Their memory-keepers will help you collect thoughtful words and stories about your special someone to create a one-of-a-kind, bound scrapbook to honor them. Each book ($240+) is handmade to order and designed to last. To sweeten the deal, the good folks at Fondfolio cut gift tags from leftover scraps of wood and wrap each biodegradable book in a reusable vintage scarf.