December 3, 2023


Specialists in fashion

Valentine’s Day gifts to celebrate your friendships

Romance shmomance. This Valentine’s Day, it’s out with traditional presents — the roses, the candy, the bling — and in with quirky, person-specific gifting to underscore friendships. It’s not that we’re averse to lovey-dovey relationships — far from it. But husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and significant others — you pretty much know what to do.

For the rest of us, let’s just forget about lonely hearts and instead use the holiday to celebrate our nearest and dearest friends.

“Palentines is the perfect way to redefine the day from being ‘in’ love, to celebrating love with people we feel connected to. I really like that,” says Teresa Grella-Hillebrand, director of Hofstra’s counseling and mental health professions clinic and a licensed family therapist. “There’s a heightened sense of loneliness that people express during Valentine’s Day, in part, because the focus is on the romantic rather than the human experience. We tend to forget about all the other loving relationships we have in our lives. When you talk about Palentine’s Day, it seems like a way of honoring the people who mean the most to you.”

To that end, while nixing the mushy, gushy stuff, we’ve gathered not particularly expensive tokens of affection for the folks we love (and like a lot) to show them we know, appreciate and adore them. Here’s how to say Happy Palentine’s Day to your special people:

Pin up

Candy heart-shaped bobby pins are a cute way to say happy Valentine’s Day for the gal whose bangs are always in her face; $9.99 by Aerie.

Solo waffles

For guys or gals who plan on eating waffles alone, this compact mini hear waffle maker is just right; $17.99 by Dash at Kohl’s.

For the stressed out dude

Calming and soothing notes of cedarwood, lavender, pine needle and rosemary will help your wired-from-work bud unwind after a long day; $39.95 at Nordstrom and

A heart of glass

Smooth, handmade glass hearts by Garden City-based artist Pamela Jean Hanna would be the nicest surprise left on a favorite co-workers desk or handed off to a good friend; $12 at Wit & Whim in Port Washington.

Sweet sachet

This lavender-filled sachet bag can hang from a door or be stowed in a drawer and remind her of your friendship; $10 at Girlfriends in East Norwich.

Trinket tray 

“A good friend knows all your stories. A best friend helped you write them” emblazoned on this pretty trinket tray will warm the heart; $18 at Girlfriends in East Norwich.

For your drinking buddy

This cute wine bag emphasizes the fact that it’s okay to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a favorite bottle — you just have to add it; $13.99 at Kohl’s.

For their “true” love

Even if they may only be celebrating Valentine’s Day with their pooch, dog lovers will delight in this smooch-inspired dog bandanna; $20 at

Make them smile

Guaranteed they’ll think of you every day with this happy face mug; $14 by at Bloomingdale’s.

Heart of cold

For your favorite ice queen/king, celebratory heart-shaped ice cubes; $4.99 by Luke at Bed Bath & Beyond.

For your binge buddy

Serious series watchers will appreciate this 14-piece “Binge-Watching Beauty Kit” which brings the spa to the couch with essentials like a face roller, lip balm, facial cleanser and an emery board along with staples such as socks, coasters and a snack clip. It makes staying home on Valentine’s Day all the better; $25 at

For the one always in search of her glasses 

Part sculptural necklace, part magnifying lens, this accessible reading monocle helps bring restaurant menus, food labels, expiration dates and more into focus. And, she’ll never steal your readers again; $80 by Focus Vision Wear exclusively at Optyx in Greenvale, Woodbury, Huntington Village, Wantagh and East Hampton.

Just add water

No more sleeping in her makeup (no more hot mess) after using these cloth makeup erasers that remove it all including waterproof mascara and eyeliner with just water; $25 by Wild Hearts at Nordstrom.

Nice dice

Red dice cuff links are cute Valentine’s Day pleasers for your best dandy friend; $25 at Wit & Whim in Port Washington.

For the schlepper/shopper

The perfect market tote with an always sweet greeting from Reese Wetherspoon brand, Draper James; $30 at

Squad salute

Shout out to your best girl with this necklace featuring six interchangeable tags emblazoned with words like, “babe, girl gang, squad” and, naturally, “love”; $38 by Steve Madden at Macy’s.

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