What you’re going to give for Valentine’s Day

Don’t pretend like you don’t need gift ideas. You do. And here they are! A plethora of them!

THE STRESS OF GIFT BUYING. Do I even need to make that a complete sentence? It’s a thing we all deal with, and at no holiday is it worse than Valentine’s Day.

Flowers? They die quickly, the industry is a real energy-sucker, and what do they even mean besides “Look at me, I hear girls like these.”1

Lingerie? They die quickly. JK, they don’t die, and they may be just the thing your relationship needs or whatever.

BUT PEOPLE! There are some interesting things out there, and they just might scream “I love you!” to your significant other, friend, or child. You can probably get the same effect by actually screaming “I love you!” to them, or that might get you thrown out of the movies that you’ve taken them to. It’s up to you.

Shopping options

Locally crafted housewares etc. at Orange

Orange, my new favorite place, is full to bursting with awesome RVA goods, like picture frames made with wood from 200-year-old houses in Oregon Hill (got a good shot of yourselves you like?), “You Wash / I’ll Dry” tea towels, and all kinds of locally made jewelry. I’m not sure how to make this place not seem kitschy, because it’s not, but there are upwards of a gazillion Valentine’s Day-worthy items in there, including adorable handmade dinosaur stuffed animals for the kids. (Prices all over the map. Also, there are maps.)

Hats from MediaNoche

So you’re already in Orange. Great! Now head up the stairs to MediaNoche and ask Jill to help you pick out a hat for the one you love (or the one you like a whole, whole lot). Not into hats? Get out of town. But before you get out of town, grab some unique jewelry, t-shirts, and more from designers based in Brooklyn, L.A., Freedom, Ca., and our very own Charlottesville. I mean RICHMOND. Richmond. Why am I always getting that wrong? (Price range from “Oh yeah, I can do that” to “Oof, good thing I saved up.”)

Handmade Holidays Valentine’s Craft Show

One stop at this craft show and you are sure to find something (and something local and handmade) to ease your STRESS OF GIFT BUYING. Then you can move onto the JOY OF GIFT GIVING, which is way better. (Price range from “Maybe I can get away with just spending this tiny amount of money” to “That seems reasonable for a thing you spent time making, and my loved one deserves it.”)

Bonus: If you shop at any of these local places between February 8th and February 14th, and you do some other things to prove it, you’ll get entered to win a pretty sweet sweepstakes.

Grand gestures

RVA Love Week Pick-a-Pole

Gifts are fine and dandy, but could you think of a better way to prove your love than by having a pole wrapped in its very own sweater for the honor of your loved one? Do NOT make some sort of “That’s what she said” joke out of that. It won’t be a very great one. You gotta do this by February 7th, so get pole-picking. (Free!)

An Anonymous Donation to Change a Life

Has the person you love been affected by cancer? It’s easy to think “No, they are fine.” But slow down a minute, Usain Bolt. Think harder. What about their parents? Their grandparents? Their siblings? Their friends? It’s rare to meet someone who has not been saddened by the devastating effects of cancer. Amy Black of Amy Black Tattoo creates these incredibly realistic looking nipples (or more decorative stuff, should the tattooee so desire) for mastectomy survivors. Her Pink Ink Fund allows you to make a contribution that can go anonymously towards one of these breasts, which sounds to me like an extremely heartfelt way to show love. Just follow the instructions on the site and let Amy know in the notes that you’re doing it as a Valentine’s Day gift on a person’s behalf. (Whatever amount you like. One breast tattoo is valued at around $250, while the self-confidence the person receives cannot currently be valued on our monetary scale.)

Specific stuff

Trucker Jacket

Outerwear is an extremely intimate present, and you can tell a lot about a guy from his jacket (something I learned from the VMFA’s costume exhibit in 2013). Our office dudes pick this one just for him. It says, “I’m not afraid to leave this independent movie theater and go help someone push a pickup truck out of the mud out of the goodness of my heart. On my way back in, I’ll grab you your fave candy from concessions.” ($150 and a cool pricing model)

Smart Jewelry

Jewelry! Remember when it only served one purpose? Now it does so many things! For the person who always loses their dang phone or breaks it because she takes it out of her bag and leaves it on her lap and it slips off and shatters and she sighs “Not again,” and forks over a trillion dollars for the 50th time with her glass-shard-riddled fingers, Cuff solves all of my her problems. ($50 – $199)


These days, it’s craft beer, craft beer, craft beer everywhere you look. Some of us do not LIKE craft beer, it turns out. For those people, liquor is key. (I mean, wine may be key, too, in which case replace everything I’m about to say with “Get a decent bottle of wine.”) For the thrifty, try Evan Williams green ($12.20 a liter!). If you’d like to do something a little nicer, that tastes more like the bottom of yesterday’s campfire, pick up a bottle of Lagavulin 16 year ($102.90). Peaty scotch at its finest! Clear liquor lovers will probably go nuts over this gin from Brooklyn, which I hear is in New York somewhere.

Spacebomb Double Pack

Pick up the new Natalie Prass album that everyone’s always talking about, and pair it with an IOU for the forthcoming Matthew E. White record. Locally owned Spacebomb Records released/will release these recordings for Natalie, who is fast becoming a globally recognized musical genius, and the famous, famous Matthew, who first got the idea to become a musician when he was working for RVANews a million years ago and I said something like “Matt, you should really explore this musical side, I can tell you’re going to go places.” That story is entirely untrue! But I do like to brag about how he used to freelance for us!

Stuff we sell that’s on sale!

We’ve got a half dozen different items on sale and every order between now and February 14th gets an adorable little “I Heart RVA” sticker thrown in for free.

  1. I am happy to hear all of your complaints and protestations about this, but they must be accompanied by flowers. 
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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