8 best sentimental gifts for Valentine's Day

Lindsay Tigar , CNN Underscored
Fri February 8, 2019

Story highlights

  • Expressing how important the people in your life are is a healthy practice
  • This is your essential guide to a personalized, affectionate way to express your love

Even if you're on team "Tell someone you love them every day, and not just on Valentine's Day" — there's something special about a date that's all about love. And of course, the many ways this four-letter word takes meaning.

From the affection you share for that one-of-a-kind soulmate you finally found, to the unconditional dedication you have for your child, expressing how important these people are in your life is a healthy practice. Instead of roses, chocolates and paper hearts, there are meaningful, sentimental — and downright sappy — ways to wish your loved ones a happy Valentine's Day.

Whether you want to gift a little something to your bestie who has been there through all of life's trials, or remind your partner that they're the bees knees — consider this your essential guide to a personalized, affectionate ways to express your love.

No Cupid's arrow required for them to gush over you this year:

Envelope Fortune Locket Necklace ($295; ahalife.com)

None of your friends know why you call your lucky lady, "Bunny," but she does. It's your special name, based on a series of long-winded conversations that had you falling for one another. The secret sentiments within a relationship aren't only the sweet nothings you have in bed, but the nicknames and inside jokes that bond you. This Valentine's Day, you can write your own saying, word or phrase, and tuck it away in this 24K locket she can keep close to her heart. No one has to know there's anything in there — but that's the point — it's just for the two of you.

Custom Couple Silhouette Illustration (starting at $126; etsy.com)

In a time where it's normal to take a dozen photos before getting it right, it's a rarity when you and your partner love an image. It's probably the one you share on Facebook for anniversaries or serves as the background on your phone. You know how much it means to you — and to them — so why not give it a permanent spot in your home? This custom print turns it into a classic, chic silhouette, complete with another layer: words! Whether it's the lyrics to your special song, the menu of the place where you had your first date, or even your vows, your fave image and the most meaningful words of your relationship come together in this gift. Bouquet Bar 'You Are Amazing!' Box ($159.99; amazon.com)

Bouquet Bar 'You Are Amazing!' Box ($159; amazon.com)

Your bestie is the strangest person you've ever met — and you love that about her. She knows what you're thinking, calls you out when you're being ridiculous — and is your biggest fan, ever. If she's flying solo this year (or frankly, even if she's not), remind her of how much you heart her with this custom box. This company features many arrangements that go beyond flowers, and include yummy treats like gummy bears and chocolates, or wellness essentials, such as candles. She'll be surprised — and let's be real — make you eat half of the goodies so it doesn't go straight to her hips.

Plum Print Custom Book of Love Letters (starting at $171.99; amazon.com)

OK, OK. Most of your love notes are somewhere in your endless string of iMessages. However, those birthday, anniversary and "just because" notes hold a special place in your heart. But what about in your home? You've probably stowed them away in a drawer, tossed them in with paperwork and rarely glance at them. This year, surprise your partner by turning all of those handwritten notes into a keepsake book. Or better yet, if you're parents, include notes from the kiddos, too. Talk about a way to earn some major brownie points for being over-the-top thoughtful.

Wexel Art Floating Frame (starting at $44.99; amazon.com)

Your relationship took a huge step this year: You had a baby. No matter if you've been together for a decade or a hot second, going from a couple to a party of three is a tremendous, life-changing experience. That's why that first photo together is so precious: It illustrates the moment you became a family. Really wow your partner by placing it in this gorgeous, single panel, acrylic floating frame, available in silver or gold. Since your routine will continue to be chaotic (hello, diapers!), the best part of this gift is how transformative it can be. Using only magnets, you can swap out the image any time you want with little-to-no stress.

River and Birch Jewelry Personalized Handwriting Necklace ($108; amazon.com)

The year you lose a parent is among the hardest times of your life, when you realize how much family truly matters. If you're close to your sister, or your partner is in mourning, this special necklace is a way to pay tribute to an irreplaceable someone. By sending a handwriting sample to this company, they'll turn it into a silver necklace pendant. It's a way to keep your loved one close, no matter how hard it is to let them go.

USA Toyz DIY Happy Hands Hand Casting Kit ($24.99; amazon.com)

You and your spouse aren't huge Valentine's Day fans. But you are obsessed with those pint-sized rugrats that fill your life with love. And lots of mess. You know they won't stay this size forever, but with this at-home casting kit that comes with plaster, a bucket and finishing tools, you will always be able to remember how teeny-tiny they once were. It's a fun activity for the whole family that pairs well with a bottle of red wine. And chocolate chip cookies. For the kids, of course.

Lulu DK's 'You Are My Sunshine' Necklace (starting at $68; amazon.com)

When you look at your daughter, you see so much of yourself. She has your eyes — and your stubborn spirit. She's courageous in ways you always wanted to be, and yet, you wish she'd stop growing up, so fast. Give her a token of your affection and remind her you'll always be there to light her way with this "you are my sunshine" necklace. With gorgeous packaging and including a sweet note, it'll brighten her day, just as she has since the moment she was born.