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RNS Valentine’s Day gift guide 2021: Sweet and silly ideas for February’s semireligious gift-giving occasions

Here are some silly, sweet and sincere gift ideas to show your affection for the people of faith — or no faith — in your life.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash/Creative Commons

(RNS) — It may be named for a Roman priest who was martyred after performing secret wedding ceremonies for Christian couples or for an Umbrian bishop with a suspiciously similar story.

It may be inspired by the Roman festival of Lupercalia.

It may be the invention of medieval English poets or modern-day greeting card companies.


RELATED: RNS holiday gift guide 2020: Puzzles, prayer cards and more gifts for staying in


Whatever its origin, Valentine’s Day has become a day to celebrate love in all its forms — a value shared by many religious traditions.

Besides, everybody could use a reminder they are loved after nearly a year into a pandemic and quarantine.

So, in keeping with our holiday gift guide, here are some silly, sweet and sincere religiously themed gift ideas to show your affection for the people of faith — or no faith — in your life.

Date Night in Box 

Date Night in Box is a great gift idea for any valentine. The subscription service delivers a complete date night to your door each month in themed boxes like “Dinner and Dancing Awaits,” which includes a dance tutorial, playlist, games and homemade pizza ingredients. The faith option also includes a discussion guide to help Christian couples “deepen your relationship with God and with each other.”

#MuslimVDay cards

“Muslims love. Muslims laugh. Muslim have snark,” writes Taz Ahmed. Her annual #MuslimVDay cards reflect that. This year’s series of six satirical cards includes messages like “Let’s Qur’an-tine Together” and “Guess I Gotta Break my Fast … Cuz You Lookin’ Like a Snack.” 


RELATED: This Muslim artist is giving Valentine’s Day a subversive twist


‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’ puzzle

Like President Joe Biden, Galentine’s Day — a celebration of waffles and female friendship on Feb. 13 — has made the leap from “Parks and Rec” to real life. You may not be able to get together for brunch this year because of the pandemic, but you and your lady friends can celebrate from the comfort of your own homes as you put together Cobble Hill’s 1,000-piece “Nevertheless, She Persisted” puzzle, featuring illustrations of a number of women whose faith fueled their work, including Mother Teresa, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai.

Kosher chocolates

If your sweetie keeps kosher, make sure his or her sweets are kosher, too. These chocolate truffles from Brooklyn-based Neto Chocolatier are kosher, vegan and gluten-free and come in flavors like blood orange, double espresso and vanilla bourbon.

Heart-shaped box of crystals

Out: A heart-shaped box of chocolates. In: A heart-shaped box of crystals. Etsy shop Of Coffee and Crystals sells an assortment of crystals in different-sized boxes. The largest includes a heart-shaped piece of quartz, considered the “master healer” among crystals.

“The Five Love Languages”

In the nearly 30 years since it was released, pastor and author Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” has sold more than 12 million copies. It’s been translated into 38 languages. It’s consistently landed on the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists. Pick up a copy of the ornate hardcover special edition for your valentine and see if you’re speaking the same language.


RELATED: The Love Language legacy: A Valentine’s Day interview with Gary Chapman (COMMENTARY)


Yiddish Valentine’s cards

What’s your favorite thing about your valentine? Send him or her a cheeky Yiddish-inspired card complimenting his or her “chutzpah” or, er… “tuches.”

‘I have found the one whom my soul loves’ sign

Song of Solomon, found in the Hebrew Bible, is the original example of art that makes you ask, “Is this a love song or is it about God?” This rustic farmhouse sign features a verse from the book that’s appropriate to hang on your wall (no euphemisms about fawns here).

Love Spell bath bomb

Treat yourself to this rose-scented bath bomb by Etsy shop Black Cat Familiar combining craft rituals with self-care. Made with organic herbs, flowers and oils with healing properties, it’s meant to help you attract love and self-love.

‘The Love Poems of Rumi’

No romantic’s bookshelf is complete without a collection of poetry by Rumi, who’s been called the “Sufi poet of love.” Pick up a beautifully illustrated gift book like “The Love Poems of Rumi” or “Radical Love,” a new translation by scholar Omid Safi, who argues you can’t divorce the  13th-century Sufi master’s mystical poetry from Islam.


RELATED: Omid Safi’s ‘Radical Love’ recenters Sufi poetry within Islam


‘Love’ necklaces

Love is love in every language. Surprise your sweetheart with a necklace featuring the word beautifully rendered in Hebrew (“ahava”) or in Arabic (“hubun”).

Flying Spaghetti Monster necklace

Pastafarians like jewelry, too. A necklace with a Flying Spaghetti Monster pendant, celebrating the deity of the Pastafarian movement, is the perfect gift for your secular atheist or anti-theist valentine.

‘Alhamdulilah’ ring dish

Feeling grateful for your spouse? Give them this pretty ring dish, decorated with the word “Alhamdulilah” (“praise be to God” or “thank God”) in script and personalized with your anniversary date.

‘God Is Love’ board book

Teach your littlest valentine that “God is love … and all that love is” with the board book “God Is Love” written by Amy Parker and illustrated with sweet animals by Ramona Kaulitzki.


RELATED: The ‘real’ St. Valentine was no patron of love (COMMENTARY)


ConseCrate subscription box

Don’t forget to pamper your pastor! ConseCrate is a monthly subscription box designed to encourage, celebrate, delight, inspire and amuse women in ministry, making it a great gift for either Valentine’s or Galentine’s days. It includes items appropriate to the liturgical season, including books, sustainable items, health and wellness items and fun religion-related items like Jesus-shaped macaroni.

Cheekbone Beauty

Cheekbone Beauty cosmetics are the gift that keeps on giving. The Indigenous-owned and -founded company makes cruelty-free lipsticks named after inspirational Indigenous women, aims to create space in the beauty industry where Indigenous youth feel represented and donates some proceeds to causes like the Navajo Water Project and Shannen’s Dream. Its bestselling Warrior Women Lipstick Trio makes a great gift for your valentine, galentine or yourself, and every order comes with a pink feather to pass on to a person who has earned your love and gratitude.

‘God / Santa / Unicorns / True Love’ T shirt

Don’t believe in true love — or God, for that matter? We found the perfect T-shirt for you.

Lupercalia candle gift box

“Do as the Romans do. Take part and indulge in all of your wildest fantasies and guiltiest pleasures,” according to this set of candles from the Etsy shop Satan’s Craft Room. The Satanic Temple observes Lupercalia on Feb. 15 as a celebration of bodily autonomy, sexual liberation and reproduction. These candles include three scents developed for the occasion: sacrifice, commitment and opulence.

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