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For Mother's Day, the Lovebox might be a better gift than flowers

This small wooden box is a precious way to let people know you love them.

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The Lovebox is a unique way to let a loved one know that you're thinking of them.

Angela Lang/CNET
This story is part of Mother's Day Gift Guide 2021. CNET editors round up the hottest gadgets for Mom this year.

For many of us who are physically separated from our moms during the coronavirus pandemic, Mother's Day will be a challenge to celebrate. But the offbeat digital-analog wooden box called the Lovebox is out to make that a bit easier. It's built for sharing love notes, drawings and positive thoughts with the people you love most.

The Lovebox aims to be an alternative to sending flowers or taking your loved one out to dinner. And while texts, photos and video messages can express your feelings, they tend to get lost in the flood of daily notifications we receive, which is why a French company launched the Lovebox. Its singular purpose is to let your special someone know you love them.

The Lovebox sits in your loved one's home and connects to the internet via Wi-Fi. You send your special someone a short message or drawing with the Lovebox app available on iOS and Android. When the box receives the message, an itsy-bitsy red heart spins like a pinwheel. The heart continues to spin until your loved one lifts the lid to read the message on the diminutive display.

There is something precious about a tiny little heart on a small wooden cube spinning in silence. It is such a simple hallmark to symbolize that you're loved. When you open the lid it feels like you've discovered a secret message.

Everything about this box is endearing and unassuming: the size, the curved corners, the silent way the heart spins and even the black-and-white display. It is refreshing to see how Lovebox integrates messaging into something so discreet. There are no loud notifications or lights to get your attention -- just a palm-sized spinning heart.

The Lovebox costs $100, 100 euros or AU$155 and can be ordered on the Lovebox website.