Chocolates and diamonds are played out, people. It's 2015, which means that you're no longer allowed to fall back on your boring laurels. It's easy to go to whatever grocery store is closest to you and pick up an only semi-wilted bouquet of flowers, but your main squeeze would probably prefer a little bit more sentiment than a last-minute trip to Kroger can offer.
You don't have to be extravagant on Valentine's Day, but you should at least be thoughtful, especially if you're still in that weird phase of a new relationship where you're trying to convince them that you're not too damaged to date. Even if you've got your sweetheart completely locked down, Valentine's Day gifts from these off-beat boutiques and shops will make them forget about all of your annoying habits and personality quirks. You've still got two weeks, so there's no excuse for a candy-and-flowers rush job this year.
Good Records There is nothing more romantic than picking out a record that your significant other is really, really going to love. People keep vinyl in their collections for years, and having a cute story behind a worn-out copy of Sleater-Kinney's "No Cities To Love" is always endearing. Show your girlfriend that you really *get* her grown-up riot grrl sensibilities, even if you're still trying to make your way through that first Kathleen Hanna book.
Curiosities If you think the person that you love has everything that they want, it's only because they haven't seen the wall-mounted stuffed beavers and random typewriter keys that Curiosities has to offer. This lovably weird junk, I mean vintage, shop is the kind of place where you shop for your boyfriend that has an oddly macabre sense of humor. Nothing says "be my Valentine" like a preserved squirrel skull.
Urban Acres Everyone is a foodie these days, and even those that haven't glommed on to the movement would still appreciate something that's more delicious than the fast-food crap they're used to eating. If you're still in that stage of a relationship where buying an overly expensive gift makes you look like a Stage Five Clinger, put together a basket of organic snacks and locally-roasted coffee from Urban Acres. It's just thoughtful enough without making your would-be girlfriend think that you're planning to lock her in your basement for a few years.
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Ten Over Six On most occasions, we would not tell you to go to Ten Over Six unless you wanted to spend all your rent money. This quirky boutique in the Joule Hotel is filled with cute knick-knacks and other random crap at extremely steep prices, but it's Valentine's Day, and spending too much money on shit you don't need is what this holiday was created for. Ten Over Six sells what is basically tchotchkes for rich people, but all of them are individually the most interesting thing you've ever seen. Pick up an obscure art journal or literary criticism zine, then pick up a set of avant-garde salt and pepper shakers that will make everyone that comes to your wife's dinner parties think that an interior designer decorated your apartment.
Nasher Museum Store At Northpark When you're at NorthPark, skip Tiffany's and head to the Nasher Museum Store for a gift that is also a piece of art. This outpost of the museum's gift shop is full of interesting ceramics, sculptures for the home, and books that are perfect for your spouse that is still convinced that they're going to make it as a painter someday. The gift you pick up here will be undoubtedly unique, which would probably be a welcome change of pace.
Spec's Yeah, it may seem trashy to get a Valentine's Day gift at a liquor store, but be honest with yourself. There is no better gift on this planet than free booze, especially of the fancy variety. Even if your partner is still convinced that vodka-cranberry is the best drink on the planet, an expensive bottle of organic vodka and all the fixings for Cosmopolitans is both a date night idea and the best gift idea ever. If the drinker you love is more particular, Spec's will definitely have a weird small-batch whiskey or rare liqueur that will please their finicky palates.
New Fine Arts Okay, it's probably not a revolutionary idea to get your partner a sex toy for Valentine's Day, but it's still worth considering. You probably shouldn't show up with a Liberator or butt plug for a Tinder first date on Valentine's, but maybe your girlfriend of six years is ready to spice things up. There's a fine line to walk between being creepy and being sexy, and you should probably pick up a gift that is actually for your partner, not something that you've been fantasizing about since college. This could be a risk, but if it pays off, you'll never go back to boring boxes of chocolate.