Unconventional Valentine's Gifts

Candy hearts, Cupid, cheesy greeting cards—what is it about some Valentine’s Day traditions that are so, well, lame? Perhaps it’s because all the old standbys have become dull and predictable, taking the spark out of what should be a romantic and passionate day. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve come up with some novel gift ideas that, with a little creativity, can help you reclaim Valentine’s Day to its rightful place:

Original artwork—It says a lot more about your taste if you can find a work of art that speaks to her heart more than a big rock.

Hammock—Once the exclusive domain of lazy, middle aged, suburban men, hammocks have come a long way. Indeed, an ornate two-person model can be downright romantic.

Eye pillow package—If she spends a significant amount of time gazing at you, her eyes need a rest. The eye pillow package is a unique and surprising sensual indulgence.

Telescope—Whereas most of the "Name a Star for Someone you Love" services are money-sucking rackets of questionable legality, with a telescope you can explore the heavens together.

Write a poem/song—So long as you avoid using words like "Roses are red" or "Nantucket," a heartfelt expression of sentiment always goes over well. Throw in a few rudimentary chords on an acoustic guitar and you’ve become Dr. Romance.

Pet—Anytime you bring another life into a relationship, you incur the risks of stepped-up commitment. But if that’s the goal, you can do worse than a cute, cuddly, panting/purring mass of fur.

Beanbag chair—A heart-shaped model makes for a funky yet romantic V-Day gift.

Body painting kit—Remember how much fun finger-painting was back in elementary school? To think back then you were only using glossy paper. Think of the possibilities of painting on a human canvas!

Polaroid camera—Instant gratification and not having to deal with that pimply drug store photo clerk are just two of the advantages of the Polaroid. The more intangible advantages are left to you to imagine.

Book of erotica and feather tickler—There’s a fine line between sleaze and sensuality, but if you stay on the right side of it, you, my friend, can be a very lucky man.

Prateek Sarkar