Tokens of Southern Love

Valentine’s Day gift ideas for the good people (and pets) in your world

This February marks the first time since the pandemic began that my toddler’s school will pass out real paper Valentines on the big day. Which made me start thinking about the simple, joyful, charming tradition of crafting hearts from humble paper and glue. As children, Valentine’s Day is a holiday about appreciation: for friends, for family, for teachers, even the family dog. And somehow in adulthood it morphs into something focused solely on the (often corporate) notion of romantic love. That’s why I’m going to take a cue from my four-year-old this go-around by presenting thoughtful ways you can show gratitude for all the good people in your world.

For Everyone

These Paper Source cards come a close second to the old-school, handmade variety. Buy two boxes and let the gratitude commence. $9 for set of ten;

For the Nostalgic One

How’s this for a one-of-a-kind gift: a charm cast in fourteen-karat gold from a singular fingerprint of someone special. The process is more straightforward than you might think. Charleston jewelry designer Christina Jervey mails out a specialized wax for clients to use to create a unique impression and then return to the Made in the South Awards runner-up. Then Jervey’s magical work begins. $750;

For the Athlete

Socks? For Valentine’s Day? Yes, really: Do not mock the idea of giving this gift of extreme comfort until you’ve actually worn the unisex compression socks by Comrad, which help boost circulation, aid fatigue, and more. $32;

For the Foodie

This Pappy & Company set might just be the ultimate box of chocolates, thanks to the addition of Old Rip Van Winkle’s ten-year bourbon. $12–$28;

For the Thinker

The handsome, bookcloth-bound notebooks and journals from Washington, D.C.’s Appointed (a 2021 Made in the South Awards winner) are the place to go to dream, doodle, plan, and get things done. $24;

For the Homebody

Let your loved one live in eternal spring with this floral top and pant pajama set by Bando. $50 each;

For the Minimalist

The designers at Leatherology in Texas dreamed up the perfect way to personalize the straightforward silhouette of their leather crossbody bag: a monogram made using the trapunto technique, which creates a raised, quilted effect. $205;

For the Family Dog

The harness kit by Wild One (which also includes a lead and waste bag carrier) stands up to the elements and looks smart, too. $114;

For the Bar-Cart Connoisseur

Water, wine, or whiskey all make for fitting fillings for these sleek, smoke-hued glasses from Hawkins New York. Bonus: They stack easily and are dishwasher safe. $32 for four;

For the Hardest Worker

The simple, clean formula of this red clay and geranium mask by Good Juju Herbal would be a wonderful tonic for anyone in need of serious downtime. $12;

For the Aesthete

The Kentucky native Morgan Hutchinson of Buru is known for taking vintage-inspired looks and reinventing them, and her swing coat in plaid brushed corduroy sets the standard. $288;

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