Paper cupids, doily hearts, and glittery XOXOs are everywhere, which means it’s that special time of year when couples agonize over the perfect gift. Whether you enjoy the good-natured cheesiness of Valentine’s Day or scorn the holiday’s commercialization of love, if you’re in a relationship of any duration on Feb. 14, chances are you’re not getting out of the gift-giving tradition. So why not make it fun?
Instead of scouring department stores and jewelry stores for the perfect present, choose something unique and quirky that speaks to your sweetheart’s individual tastes. There’s no better place for unique and quirky than thrift and vintage stores like Thrift Trader. So check out these distinctive gift ideas for your Valentine, including bonus ideas if you’ve got a crafty side.
Forget those faux-distressed department store tees. Go vintage instead, and give your special someone a cool tee with genuinely distressed, conversation-starting graphics. Plus, vintage t-shirts have a lived-in softness that brand-new shirts can’t touch.
Crafty bonus: Vintage t-shirt pillow
Vintage tees might be super soft and effortlessly chic, but not everyone wears t-shirts. So if you’re flipping through the thrift store racks and you find a shirt that’s too cool to pass up, consider cutting it into two squares and sewing it into a funky throw pillow. Even though there are a few people out there who aren’t into t-shirts, pillows are pretty much universally beloved.
Rare and peculiar books
If your significant other is a major bookworm, secondhand stores can be a treasure trove of out-of-print favorites, rare first editions, and so-bad-they’re-good paperbacks in every genre imaginable. If you’re not sure what to look for, take a long glance (or photo on the sly) of your sweetie’s bookshelf so you can pick out the perfect new addition—or box of new additions, which is easy to swing at secondhand book prices.
Crafty bonus: Hollow book box
You’ve probably seen plenty of those fake books with hollow insides to hide valuables and other secret stuff, but you probably don’t know how easy they are to make with an actual book. All you need to do is pick out a thick hardback at an awesome thrift store price, and follow this tutorial to transform it into secret safe that no one will suspect on the shelf.
MP3s might be a handy way to store all your music on the go, but digital music files can’t beat the warm, textured sound of vinyl records—that’s why so many current artists are releasing albums on the throwback format in addition to digital. Thrift Trader has a huge selection of records, especially albums released on vinyl originally, so you’ll likely find at least a few of your Valentine’s retro faves.
Crafty bonus: Framed records
Listening to vinyl is a one-of-a-kind music experience but it’s not the only way to enjoy records. You can also frame the flat, wall-ready objects for eye-catching décor. While there’s no tutorial needed to frame a record, you might need to look into custom framing or specialized square frames, considering most off-the-rack frames come in rectangular shapes.
Valentine’s Day means incredible deals on mainstream jewelry, but if your special someone is anything but mainstream, check out the accessory section at thrift and vintage stores. A stunning statement necklace, fierce bangle bracelet, or glittering cocktail ring will get more genuine compliments than generic jewelry ever could.
Crafty bonus: Jewelry art
Not only is vintage and secondhand costume jewelry generally more interesting and distinctive than similar items sold brand-new in trendy stores, but it’s affordable enough to buy for parts. For a Valentine’s Day gift oozing with creativity and heart, select a few necklaces, bracelets or earrings with lots of beads and semi-precious stones. Then arrange them in a wild pattern with glue on a solid plastic or metal backing for a piece of art your lover won’t find anywhere else. You can also use beads and stones to decorate vases, photo frames or candle holders—and if you want to get extra crafty, pull apart several pieces and refashion into a new jewelry item that’s sure to impress.
Shop for your sweetheart at Thrift Trader
If your Valentine is too unique for the standard gifts of flowers and candy, Thrift Trader has a huge selection of vintage clothes, treasured books, retro records, and intriguing costume jewelry to meet anyone’s individual tastes. And if you have items of your own that could be potentially perfect V-Day gifts for someone else, bring them down to Thrift Trader during our buying hours: 10am-6pm at the North Park and Pacific Beach locations.