When it comes to gifting on Valentine’s Day, even the smallest gesture can make a big impact. That said, it’s been a rough year for everyone, and we are still in the throes of a pandemic, so this is the year to get creative. 

If a night out on the town for a romantic dinner isn’t in the plans, and you’re scrambling to find a gift that’s a little more unexpected than a box of chocolates or grocery store flowers, we’ve got you covered. The fun thing about Valentine’s Day gifts is that you already have a theme to work from. Roses, hearts and just about anything red. We all need more love this year. Here are some thoughtful ways to show it.

Love, lust, infatuation and cake

Chicago’s West Town Bakery Chef Chris Teixeira is spreading the love with his “Love”, “Lust” and “Infatuation” Cakeballs. Flavors like strawberry cake with freeze-dried strawberries and Champagne in a milk chocolate shell rolled in pink peppercorns are certain to make the night a hit. $2.95 each, $12 for a box of 4, and $26 for a box of 9, westtownbakery.com

Staying home never looked better

Laines London makes chic, fluffy slippers that dress up a day at home or even a quick trip to the grocery store. The rubber-soled slippers are embellished with chic, crystal beaded brooches that can be detached and worn on clothing. $62-$87, wolfandbadger.com

Spice things up

Give him a fragrance as unique as he is. Comme des Garçons PLAY Black Eau de Parfum is infused with the scents of black and red pepper, black tea, tar and incense. And yes, it smells great. $110, nordstrom.com

Tell it like it is

Get your message across with these buttery conversation heart shortbread cookies. A tin of eight extra-thick cookies is $52. neimanmarcus.com

Have a fling with spring

Shake up her winter wardrobe with J.Crew’s navy Chino Shorts embroidered with white hearts. The perfect way to welcome spring. $79.50, jcrew.com

Find peace, love and understanding

Give the key to your heart (and apartment) on Graf Lantz colorful felt heart and peace sign key fobs. $12, graf-lantz.com

The object of desire

Taschen’s new book, “Andy Warhol: Love, Sex and Desire,” takes a deep look at the pop art icon’s early, sometimes risqué, drawings that highlight his fascination with the male form, droll humor and ironic detachment. First printing numbered copies are $100. taschen.com

Start seeing red

Red represents passion, and who wouldn’t be passionate about Vespa’s shiny, hot red Primavera 50 CC scooter. The scooter is a collaboration between Piaggio Group and RED, the global organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver benefiting programs to end AIDS. $4,099, vespa.com

Have a romantic soak

Lush Cosmetics Sex Bomb is one of its top sellers. It’s more than the name; the bath bomb is infused with jasmine, clary sage and ylang ylang for a relaxing, romantic bath. $7.95, lushusa.com

Two hearts beat as one

Soigne’s Just Love Me Babe heart stud earrings make a sweet gift for your sweetheart. $25 soigneaccessories.com

Give him roses with a twist

Byredo’s Burning Rose Candle blends rose with woody birch and ebony notes that will make his place smell great. $85, byredo.com

Get a little closer

Bolin Webb’s sleek, red R1-S razor is fitted with a fine blade Gilette Mach3 cartridge for a super close shave. Finish with Aesop’s Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion to hydrate and calm his skin. $130, mrporter.com and $50, nordstrom.com

Snuggle in style

Have a lazy, romantic Sunday morning with the one you love in J.Crew’s striped rose pink Dreamy cotton pajama set. $88, jcrew.com

Soak in a bath strewn with rose petals

Lola’s Apothecary’s Queen of Roses Bath Milk is all about indulgence. The rose-scented blend includes moisturizing buttermilk, raw cocoa butter and shea butter for a soothing soak. $100, wolfandbadger.com


©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.