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7 Unconventional Valentine's Day gifts

Updated August 10, 2017

Valentine's Day is on its way, and as it gets closer, millions of people will be hitting the high streets or the internet looking for memorable Valentine's gifts for their sweethearts. While you can't go wrong with the customary box of chocolates, heart-shaped locket, bunch of roses or adorable bear, something a little out of the ordinary can help turn another Valentine's Day into a more memorable experience.

Chocolate human heart

The red heart is the most common symbol of Valentine's Day, but it looks nothing at all like a human heart. For the zombie-lover (or zombie lover) on your list, why not go for a little more realism? Anatomically-accurate chocolate hearts give the holiday that extra visceral thrill. High-end models even represent different parts of the cardiovascular structure in different colours of chocolate.

Related: History's unlikeliest love stories

USB Heart Jewellery

The two-part heart locket is one of the classic pieces of romantic jewellery. USB heart lockets bring this timeless gift into the 21st century, combining a tasteful romantic gift with a high-capacity flash drive. "I love you," the USB heart locket says, "and I respect your need for easily-portable data storage."

Related: Nerd tech toys that are out of this world

Sponsoring an animal

The cuddly bear, cat or ape is a common go-to gift for Valentine's day. But wouldn't the animal lover in your life prefer something that helps real animals? A donation to an animal charity such as the WWF will help protect endangered species, and if you choose the right gift package you might come away with a cuddly ape after all.

Related: The disturbingly funny craze of pet shaming

Socks

On the face of it, there's nothing less romantic than socks. Practical, everyday and usually not very visible, they're the epitome of boring gifts. But socks don't have to be boring. February is still a cold month, and a lovely pair of warm socks, possibly with some kind of pink heart theme -- and preferably hand-knitted -- tells your loved one that they're the one you want to cuddle up with under a nice warm duvet.

Related: Winter fashion wear for every irritating hipster

Live flowers

Flowers are the ultimate symbol of romance, part of a long tradition that stretches back centuries. However, buying cut flowers as a Valentine's Day gift is a little wasteful. Why not buy a live plant rather than a bouquet of cut flowers? Tending it can be something you and your valentine do together.

Related: 10 Brilliant green inventions

The food of love

Everyone knows that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, which may explain its popularity as a Valentine's Day gift. Oysters are equally popular. But don't neglect lesser-known aphrodisiacs like chillies, avocados and pomegranates. All of these foods have long cultural associations with desire. A gift of aphrodisiac foods sends a message to your partner, as well as being delicious.

Related: Aphrodisiac foods: fact or fiction?

DNA art

Some couples get their portraits painted together. For those who want to go a step beyond that, you can get a state-of-the-art painting based on your combined genetic codes to display in your home. All it takes is a cheek swab and the choice of a colour scheme. Just be sure you don't try this gift on a partner who's nervous about commitment.

Related: The ancient origins of Valentine's Day

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About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.