If you’re on the hunt for a Valentine’s gift, our most important piece of advice is: put some thought into it!
You know and love your partner, so you can definitely think of something they’d love to do together or a special item they’d cherish. Choose or create a personal gift that reflects their interests, sense of humor, or your unique relationship. A personal gift makes for a much more meaningful gesture than a generic last-minute buy.
Be sure to avoid these Valen-fails and gift your honey something sweet this year.
1. Don’t: Generic supermarket bouquet
Yawn. This one definitely screams “last-minute.”
Do: Instead, ask yourself if they have a favorite flower and seek that out at a florist. Do they love houseplants? Pick one out to add to their collection. Do they love nature? Two tickets to the botanic gardens is a romantic date idea.
2. Don’t: Generic box of chocolates
Come on, does anyone even like all those weird fillings?
Do: What’s their favorite dessert? Can you make a home-baked version or plan a date to their favorite ice cream place instead?
3. Don’t: Exercise equipment
Nothing says “you need to lose a few pounds” like a Valentine’s gift of a gym membership, weight-lifting set, or other exercise equipment.
Do: If you want to get active together or encourage your love to try something new, then get a gift card to do something fun and sporty together. What about a rock-climbing class for two? Or a monthly pass to the new yoga studio in town (for both of you?) When these gifts lead to fun activities for you to do as a couple, they lose the cringey, criticizing undertone. If they’re already obsessed with their favorite sport, then an accessory they’ve been eyeing—like that new yoga mat or snowboarding goggles— could be the perfect personal gift.
4. Don’t: Household appliances
Step away from the vacuums, ironing boards and mops. Valentine’s Day is definitely not the occasion to gift a new item related to housework or cleaning—no matter how much your partner has been hinting about that new Dyson.
Do: If your partner has been complaining about housework or seems overwhelmed, hire a cleaner to do the housework for a month… and use the free time to go out on dates! A break from chores and quality time together sends a much nicer message than “Oh, but I thought you loved ironing?”
5. Don’t: Grooming gifts
No hair trimmers, waxing kits, fancy toothbrushes, or anything else that suggests your partner’s personal grooming is sub-par.
Do: Send them to the spa for a massage, facial, or pedicure instead. A day of pampering is a treat for anyone.
6. Don’t: Weird food
This should really go without saying— but we’ve heard some crazy stories of people gifting their partners heart-shaped steaks, boxes of cereal, or frozen pizza.
Do: Take them out to their favorite restaurant or cook them a romantic candlelit surprise dinner at home instead.
7. Don’t: Teddy bears and other stuffed animals
If you’re reading this, your partner is an adult, not a 5-year-old. They don’t need a teddy bear.
Do: If they’re obsessed with a certain animal, then a cool accessory featuring their favorite critter makes a fun and more grown-up gift. General animal lover? Why not a plan a date to go to the zoo together?
8. Don’t: Nothing
Don’t cop out with excuses like “well, I’d rather give you nothing than give you something that isn’t good enough” or “I can’t afford a fancy present.” The old saying is true: it really is the thought that counts. Even on the lowest budget, you can think of something to express your love and make your partner feel special this Valentine’s Day.
Do: Here are some shoestring budget ideas to help you out: give them a massage, cook them their favorite dinner, surprise them with a mystery date, write them a thoughtful card, bring them breakfast in bed… the possibilities are endless!
We hope this guide will help you steer clear of generic or cringeworthy Valentine’s gifts. Strap on your Cupid wings, take aim, and hit the Valentine’s bullseye with a gift that says “I know you.”