Valentine’s Day is notoriously tricky for the newly coupled, the currently coupling, and the not-quite-coupled-yet. Chief among the ways: Navigating the gift-giving. You need something that says “Hey, I thought of you,” without quite saying, “Hey, I’m ready to think of you forever.” If red roses, jewelry, and heart-holding bears don’t feel like your vibe (hint: the bears are not anyone’s vibe), here are eight great gifts—all local and under $100.
Golden garden tools for the plant parent you’re into.
Mollie Lee, shop director at Little Leaf, recommended this little gold watering can back when we were putting together our holiday gift guide, and we’re still thinking about it. It’s stylish, goes with pretty much any decor, and it says, “Hey you, not only have I been noticing you, I’ve noticed how much you love your plants.” If it’s still sold out when you’re looking to buy, try the equally cute vintage-inspired brass plant mister.
A leather card wallet for the pocket-minimalist mate.
Shinola is offering all kinds of personalized gifts for Valentine’s Day. Listen—those luggage tags look cool, and they are a good gift, but if you’re still in a grey area, pick something else. Giving that guy or gal a travel accessory raises questions about potentially implied travel together, and you are not ready for that conversation, my friend. This card wallet, on the other hand: cool, classic, and doesn’t raise any additional questions.
A small bouquet of hand-picked (err, by someone else) flowers
The adorable duo of DC flower shops, She Loves Me, is offering a Valentine’s Day collection, and we don’t mean to overthink it (also obviously yes, yes we do), but with names like the “Eternal Love Bouquet,” “Watch Our Love Grow Gift Set,” and “To Have and To Hold Centerpiece,” we’re just saying, ya know, maybe go a different direction on the floral route. She Loves Me has a much more caj collection in its everyday offerings. The small “She Likes Me” bouquet is a “a florist’s choice of just-plucked seasonal blooms” and it’s adorable and not too serious. The dried wreaths start at $38 and are also very cute.
A dreamer top for your dreamy date.
District of Clothing might be best known for their “51–Statehood for DC” gear, but we love this cozy little Dreamer/Doer tee for the “activist, creative, entrepreneurial, and community doer spirit” in your life.
Sewing stuff for your crafty crush.
Listen, a lot of people took up sewing during the pandemic—and two years in, we bet some are really good. The team at Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria offered a few ideas for sewing enthusiasts: These very fancy scissors, also fancy glass pins, a magnetic pin holder to go with them, and this rotary cutter. Honestly this should go without saying, but since this is a guide and we’re here to help, we’re going to say it: these scissors would make for a real weird gift if the recipient isn’t into sewing, so we hope you’ve been paying attention.
Chocolates for literally … anyone.
Okay, a box of chocolates can be cliche. But we’re thinking of a local gem like Petite Soeur, Georgetown’s new specialty chocolate and confection company. Boxes include such offerings as a bonbon sampler, chocolate fudge, buttery “sablé” cookies–there’s even a coffee-themed box, and they’re all made here in the District. Looking for other great local chocolate shops? Check out our handy guide.
An astrology candle that does doubt duty.
Made by three young brothers and based in DC, the Frères Branchiaux brand includes a collection of astrology-inspired candles that celebrate the sign seasons: the Capricorn season candle, for example, includes notes of lime, mint, jasmine, pineapple, and rum while the Leo season candle wafts with leather, smoke, Amyris, light musk, and moss. Double thoughtfulness points when you remember them on Valentine’s day in a way that says, “Hey, I also know your birthday.”
$38 at Frèresbranchiaux.com
A new spirit for your spice-loving suitor.
Spice up your Valentine’s Day with a bottle of jalapeno-infused aguardiente from DC’s new aguardiente distillery, Chacho. Gift a bottle along with a couple of glasses and some mixers–the distillery’s website offers a variety of cocktail recipes–and cheers to new beginnings and to avoiding a Valentine’s Day fail.
$25 at Chacho