A Special Fräulein Valentine Gift Guide

vor 10 Monaten

A not-so-secret admission of my love for the Day of Romance

Coming from America, I am in total disdain of nearly all consumer-oriented holidays. It is one of the reasons I left! I refuse to wish anyone a Merry Christmas by force-feeding them needless gifts. I adamantly do not take part in anything to do with Black Friday. I will never buy a heart shaped box with candy panties inside, nor will I ever partake in hiding plastic eggs filled with candies. Sorry, I don’t think it’s cute and I don’t think it’s fun, and I definitely think there are more meaningful ways to celebrate and share joy.

Now allow me to bare my soul. One of my deep-rooted secrets of sorts:

I actually LOVE Valentine’s Day!

You still will not catch me dead in a restaurant amongst disgruntled couples on this day, though. Nor will I buy teddy bears or schmaltzy pre-prescribed greeting cards.

But I do gift flowers, because I love flowers. I do bring oils and perfumes and candles and other things that perpetuate romance and softness to my dearest loved ones (and to myself). And it’s an acknowledgment to our own human history! Before Christianity put into motion the concept of Saint Valentine (a martyr of God, but of course), there was a festival called Lupercalia. It honored the birth of Romulus and Remus, the two twin brothers who founded the city of Rome. It morphed into a celebration of fertility, of the nearing of spring, and this was also a time of matchmaking.Legend has it, young women in town would place their names in an urn and suitable bachelors would draw names from it, and spend the days of the festival together, to see if they shared any romantic kindling. Years later, the Christians replaced this festival of love and fertility and the changing of season to come, to a holiday of piousness and saints. Naturally.

The times shift. So it goes. I choose my battles, and I choose my romantic inclinations. I think we all can agree that we enjoy delighting our friends and loved ones from time to time, so I thought I would share what I will be sharing with mine (and most importantly, myself) this year.

 

1. This bottle of perfume by Ex Nihilo (one of my favorite niche parfumeries, based in Paris) is wonderfully crafted to smell of a pâtissier. The smell of walking into Ladurée, for instance. Sweet and powdery, but still crisp and fresh. One of my girlfriends, she and I have never been to Paris together , but when we have gone separately, we recommend where the other should go. She and I have shared a number of macaroons together, cafe au laits, walks through museums, and it may be better we go separately, because we get double the sweetness when we bring each other back boxes of macarons.This year, this is what I may or may not be gifting her (if she is reading this, act surprised upon unwrapping!)

2. Perhaps you are not yet close to someone, but you wish to be… Now is not the time to shy away! Now is the time to show your potential future lover just how good you intend to treat them. If you are based in Berlin, I implore you to ditch the Rewe roses and go for something with a bit more panache. Anatomie Fleur is our favorite local floral designers, and they recently began selling unique vases found over the course of their travels. So even if your lover-to-be has other suiters sending them those Rewe flowers, it will be the vase you gifted them that will be housing those cheapos. A special vase is a very special gift indeed.

3. If my mom is happy, everyone is happy. During this lockdown, she has been STRESSED. Which means, well, you know. I have learned that by gifting my mom various little things over these few months to help her relax (a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate here, a hand written letter and a candle there), everyone is a lot more at peace. Next week, I am sending her a mini Sprekenhus spa night for herself, to make her feel luxurious and grounded and get her out of my dad’s hair for a little bit. Who can be angsty when reclining in a bath of amber-scented bubbles ? (Even if you can, at least you’ll smell good. And their oil diffusers …? Maybe I keep this one for myself.)

4. I have been spending lots of time in bed. These gray Berlin days…. This lockdown… I never thought I would treat myself to a really cushy duvet, simply out of fear I would never leave bed on time, or, well, ever. But enough is enough. I want a cushy duvet, damn it! And go figure, one of my favorite textile companies, the Danish brand TEKLA (whose sheets I treated myself to over the holidays), just released a new down duvet collection , with choices dependent upon the seasons. If anyone at the office asks, yes, I am still in bed.

5. Le Petit Trou is one of the most hyper-femme lingerie lines imaginable, with frills and hearts and ribbons abounding. And of course this time of the year, they are most inspired. Check out the Gianna heart-patterned thong with a matching bustier. So cute! This week, Le Petit Trou also released a collaboration with & Other Stories (read our interview with designer Zuzanna here !) But you need to move quick, because they are nearly sold out (and I may or may not have had something to do with that.)

6. I see so many masks, my head spins (NOT a symptom of Corona.) The most delightful ones I have seen come from The Vampire’s Wife, which happens to be one of my favorite Victorian-inclined romantic dress lines of the past few years. The dresses themselves are quite costly (a dress starts around 1500EUR) but if you really love the fabric and the style of their dresses, you are bound to love their face masks (40EUR), which also include a matching silken drawstring bag (I keep my tarot cards tucked inside.) I have the more elegant evening lace model, but the floral prints are bound to brighten your mood (and those around you.)

7. NARS has a new collection that really got my attention: it is inspired by the founder François‘ mother, Claudette . All the shades are incredibly chic (in classic reds, both for lips and eyes) and some of the packaging features tiny red hearts . A great spin on the packaging, without changing any of the formulation that makes their audacious lip line so unbeatable. I love getting lipstick as a present. It’s a great excuse to apply and try it on the gifter’s cheek.

8. Over the holidays, Fräulein had the opportunity to hear what the iconic Polaroid photographer, Maripol, had to say about cameras and gifting and making unique tokens for friends and strangers ( read about it here. ) I have often thought back to some of the poignant things she said, actually. I dearly love my Polaroid camera and I use it often, gifting my friends the snaps I take of them, or stashing them away into books I’m reading at the time. It’s really a gift that keeps on giving. Earlier in the week, my flatmate gifted me a disposable camera for us to use together. It’s always really delightful, no? Gift your lover a camera . Even better if it’s instant.See what you come up with;)

9. I am an avid follower of the witchy romance and careful craftsmanship that is found in the jewelery line Cult Sisters. I will be gifting this rose cuff to my moon sister who howls at the moon with me, who sages my flat when I am feeling down, who gifts me crystals and rolls me tobacco‘-free clove-and-rose petal cigarettes. She brings so much beauty to my life, simply by making me more aware of the goodness that is already around me. My Cult Sister deserves some adornment.

10. Let us envision for a moment the following scenario: it’s you and a lover (or your flatmate or your girlfriend or your cat), and you two are in your robes, with cookies in the oven. It’s freezing cold and you’re happy to be inside. You have a treasure box of CBD infused products awaiting you in the living room. Your role up a spliff to chill out, you take the cookies out of the oven, you put a movie on your laptop, you give each other hand (or foot) massages with Ylang Ylang CBD oil, and you count all the ways you love each other. Yeah s ign me up. Tom Hemp’s put together a Cannbe Your Valentine gift box so you don’t have to think too much if you can’t.Did I mention they also deliver by bike around Berlin? 

To wrap this up, allow me to say that the point of Valentine’s Day is not material gifts, but showing your admiration and adoration for those you love, as you already know. Leave lip prints on their mirror. Write a note to hide away in their coat pocket. Remind them today and next week and the month after that all the reasons why they are special to you. That is by far the most special of gifts. And it always returns xo

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