Instead of waiting until the last-minute and ordering from flowers.com for Valentine’s Day, here’s a better idea: Go to one of these Boston stores and pick out something special for your someone special, be it your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, best friend, or crush who doesn’t even know you exist (what better time to introduce yourself?). It’s a win-win, because you not only show how much you care about your person, you also show how much you care about supporting small businesses in Boston. It’s way more fun to buy things from humans than from robots, anyway.
Find the perfect gift at Olives & Grace:
Sofi Madison’s South End shop on Tremont Street offers an eclectic mix of specialty foods and beautiful housewares—from mittens, to mugs, to matching aprons for you and yours. (Full disclosure: Madison is a personal friend of the author.) Madison is in the shop most days, and if you tell her a little bit about your significant other, she’ll probably be able to tell you exactly what to get them. She also has a great selection of cards—some featuring illustrated top 40 lyrics—that are perfect vehicles for your love notes.
Order specially designed bouquets from Boston Pollen:
Speaking of Olives and Grace, Krissy Price, the mastermind behind Boston Pollen floral designs, is offering elegant bouquets that you can order ahead of time and pick up at the shop. The flowers are $100, and for $25 more, she’s offering a delivery option during business hours on Friday.
Send someone a pop-up card delivered by Keytar Bear:
Lovepop, a startup that recently landed $30,000 thanks to a turn on the TV show Shark Tank, makes pop-up greeting cards. This year, the company is having Boston’s very own Keytar Bear deliver these cards to 20 lucky winners of their Valentine’s Day contest. Because nothing says I love you like a 3D card delivered by a guy in a bear suit playing some synth-pop.
Give your sweetheart some quality sweets from L.A. Burdick:
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolates, and L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square offers handmade truffles in adorable wooden boxes. The chocolatier is also offering linzer tortes (a really good, jammy Austrian cake) and passion fruit chocolate cakes as special Valentine’s Day items, and you can get yourself a decadent hot chocolate when you go to pick up your gifts. Although the best choice here is probably to get your significant other a box of chocolate penguins. Because who doesn’t want chocolate penguins?
Pick up some love poems at Brookline Booksmith:
For the bookworm in your life, forget Amazon: Head over to Coolidge Corner and browse the many shelves at Brookline Booksmith. There’s even an entire basement filled with second-hand books in case you’re looking for a deep cut. The store also offers knick knacks, like tote bags and magnets, printed with witty sayings so you can present the books to your boo in style. General Manager Dana Brigham says that if you tell someone behind the counter that Boston.com sent you, they’ll help you pick out a particuarly romantic book of poems or the latest hot novel (remember: smart is sexy). Also, there’s lots of Taza chocolate by the register—we dare you to buy a book without picking up a bar or two.
Prepare a decadent evening at home with Island Creek Oysters:
You don’t have to leave the house for this one: For $165 (not including shipping), the team at Island Creek Oysters is offering an Oysters and Caviar package, which includes two dozen Island Creek oysters, a 1-ounce tin of California Caviar white sturgeon caviar, and comes with beverage pairing recommendations from the bar staff at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square. You can place your order by February 9 for a February 12 delivery.
Shoot for the moon with Loyal Supply Co., Ladies of Foret, and Myrth Ceramics:
Loyal Supply Co. in Somerville has teamed up with local florists Ladies of Foret and pottery company Myrth Ceramics to offer a Valentine’s Day special: If you order by 8 a.m. on February 12, you can collect your “moon vase” filled with greens and flowers on Saturday, February 13. Send an email to email@example.com with “moon love” in the subject line. Loyal Supply Co. itself is filled with great gifts, too, so even if you’re not in the market for flowers, you can definitely find something else there.
If your loved one loves to cook, Farm & Fable in the South End offers a selection of vintage cookbooks and cooking wares. Abby Flanagan stocks her shop with more romantic versions of your everyday kitchen needs—rather than get someone a blender, head over to see what cool platter or vintage oyster plate you could surprise them with instead. However, if your loved one is in the market for a blender, check out Kitchen Witch in Jamaica Plain. There’s something for everyone who knows their way around a stove, oven, or heck, even a just a microwave.
Update 2/9/2016 6:51 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect the author’s previously undisclosed friendship with Sofi Madison.