Friday, February 4, 2011
Ten Thousand Ways to Say I Love You
Ten Thousand Villages
1941 S. 1100 E.
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
There are 10 days left until Valentine’s Day, February 14th, and for many, this is the trickiest gift-giving day of the year. Whether the message you’re trying to send is ‘I love you truly, madly, deeply’ or ‘I noticed you across the quad,’ the underlying sentiment is the same: you matter to me.
When I was a student at Brigham Young University, the BYU bookstore used to go nuts on Valentine’s Day. I expect it still does. One service they used to offer was encasing your gift inside of a helium balloon. I still have visions of helpless teddy bears trapped in airless prisons. Talk about a metaphor for a suffocating relationship!
But I’m not the hardened Valentine’s cynic that my previous observation might imply. My best Valentine’s Day memories consist of simple gestures: an unexpected rose delivered to my work place or a homemade breakfast.
So fear not Valentine’s Day shoppers. I’m here to tell you the best places in Utah and Salt Lake Valley to shop for unique, inventive and non-schmaltzy Valentine’s Day gifts. (Tip: my readers of the fairer sex may wish to subtly refer their masculine counterparts to this blog entry.)
I can’t think of a better place to start your Valentine’s Day shopping than in a city called Sugarhouse. Ten Thousand Villages is a fair-trade foreign import store located on 11th East 1941 South in Sugarhouse. You’ll find home décor, jewelry and accessories, textiles, chocolates, cards and books from India, Korea, the Philippines, Africa--38 countries in all. Everything is handcrafted and fair trade, which means the artisans in each country receive a fair price for their wares.
Jewelry, scarves and handbags are all unique and beautiful. The jewelry ranges from sweet simple pieces as low as $12 to intricately-crafted works of art created with semi-precious stones. Picture frames made from diverse materials like bone, fabric, wood and newspaper also make great Valentine’s Day gifts.
Some of the most delightful items in the store are in the children’s section. There are hand-sewn dolls and animals in brilliant fabrics, beautiful painted blocks, and books that tell about lives of children around the world. I was particularly taken with a CD of international Sesame Street songs.
Candles, tablecloths, pieces of art and sculpture, exotic chocolate, cards…you can’t by a cliché gift at Ten Thousand Villages. Every piece is a unique way to say “you matter to me.”
Not that I’m knocking the traditional approach. Flowers are never wrong.
But do you really want to venture anywhere near a flower shop on Valentine’s Day?
What is the best/worst Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever given or received? Share your V-day tragedies and triumphs in the comments section. The person with the most striking story will get a gift purchased at Ten Thousand Villages.