Unique Gift Ideas

Written by: Jaclyn Popola

Flowers, chocolates and jewelry are timeless gifts that will never go out of style. Diamond rings propose marriage or commitment, chocolates are signature Valentine's Day indulgences, and roses will always be your "get out of jail free" card. And although they serve their purpose well and have stood the test of time, there is nothing unique about them--they are safe bets. But what if you're tired of playing it safe, or your significant other doesn't settle for the usual? How do you go about expressing your love and appreciation in a less traditional, more original manner?

DeviantART.com is an online community where artists of all different mediums can come together to display their works, glean inspiration from the creativity of others, network and offer constructive criticism. Through the DeviantART shop, artists are now able to offer prints of their drawings, paintings and photographs for sale for a very reasonable fee. Type the word "love", "hearts" or "relationships" into the search box on the homepage and you will be able to browse through hundreds of romantic reproductions.

Painter and sketch artist Kurt Halsey is renowned for his simple, sweet creations depicting star-crossed lovers with large heads and sad eyes. Using an ink pen and a variety of soft, subtle colors, Kurt's artistic vignettes illustrate the heartbreak of regret, the loneliness of sleeping by yourself, and the innocence of youthful love. The website offers prints, T-shirts and buttons that appeal to the emo in all of us.

Made by CookiesByDesign.com
Made by CookiesByDesign.com
Creative cookies are a great alternative to real flowers that wilt and die after just a few days. Although the cookies only last a bit longer than flowers would, they taste much better than rose petals and are much easier to swallow. CookiesByDesign offer sugar or brown sugar cinnamon cookies that can be customized with a photo or personalized saying and a variety of gift baskets, including a "Just Because" package. After receiving a birthday bouquet last month, I can say with certainty that CookieBouquets has the softest, tastiest chocolate chip cookie bouquets around.

For the literateur in your life, head on over to CompendiumInc to check out their wide selection of inspirational and unforgettable books, journals and greeting cards. Their collection of blank books boast quotes such as, "She listened to her heart above all the other voices" and "All good things are wild and free." Their series of brightly colored journals each contain a different theme like "Achieve", "Care", "Enjoy", "Passion" and "Her Life". The best part about these journals is that every single page has a small quote inscribed at the bottom.

Children's books are another great gift idea. Although written for children, many picture books contain universal messages that can be most appreciated by adults. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss reminds us not to take our environment for granted and Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree promotes love, loyalty and endurance. The Velveteen Rabbit explains the sometimes harsh reality of love, and the Serendipity series from the 1970's contain an important lesson in each book. For a collection that is slightly more adult-oriented but still retains that childlike zest for life, check out Carol Lynn Pearson's What Love Is and The Lesson from her famous 'Fables' series.

If your lover operates in the here and now and likes his or her gifts modern, SharperImage and SkyMall have tons of innovative new items--sleek, slim stereos, a quilt literally stitched together with words of wisdom, back and foot massagers, a waterproof iPod system, leather organizers and more.

With the Internet at your fingertips, the possibilities truly are endless. So next time you're shopping for a birthday or anniversary gift, forget the flowers and focus instead on a gift that will keep on giving long after the day is through.

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