We’re well into February, and you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is merely a weekend away! Eep! If you’re struggling for the perfect gift idea (or if you don’t know what to ask for!), here are 25 suggestions including budget buys, extravagant experiences, and thoughtful treats.
Let’s get the obvious suggestion out of the way, shall we? Chocolate is always a fine choice, but don’t just reach for a box of Milk Tray! There’s a huge selection of both luxury and novelty chocolate out there – I love Lindt chocolate, and Hotel Chocolat sell everything from solid slabs to liquor truffles. If that’s not quite exciting enough for you, how about presenting your loved one with bacon chocolate, chocolate roses, or even a chocolate pizza?!
Although you may think that candles are another cliché gift, luxury candles are something else entirely, I tell you! The wax in this Afterglow candle by Jimmyjane melts into a sensual massage balm, and one corner of the jar has a lip for pouring the natural oils directly onto your partner. Oh la la! Lelo produce a similar product, and both brands offer an enticing array of sensual scents. Perfect your massage technique and get ready for the perfect evening in!
Mixtapes are so much fun to make, and always a welcome gift. These days it’s much more likely to take the form of a digital playlist or CD-R rather than a cassette, but it’s the thought that counts! Choose songs that signify important milestones in your relationship, sexy songs, typically romantic songs, or songs with hidden meanings. Once you’ve compiled your list, why not cuddle up and enjoy the music together through a headphone splitter? (Heart-shaped, of course!)
For a Valentine’s gift that you can both enjoy, why not kit out your love nest with some fresh new bedlinen? It’s the perfect present to share if neither of you are particularly into chocolates and roses, or if you’ve recently moved in together and want to make your house a home. I love these his and hers pillow sets from Urban Outfitters, but the more adventurous of you might like to try a Twister duvet, or even something a little more unique…
If your lover is obsessed with oolong, mad for mint or crazy for chai, then why not take them out for afternoon tea? The Ritz is the best venue for a quintessentially British afternoon tea, but if you’re on a budget, you could visit a local independent cafe – or just create the afternoon tea experience in your own home. Dig out your tea set, iron a tablecloth, and pick up some scones and pastries from the local bakery. Easy – and thoughtful, too!
Offer to take your other half to the biggest and best fragrance counter in your city, and let them pick the perfume of their choice. If you’d like your gift to be a surprise, buy them a box of their signature scent, or go for the new designer fragrance that they’ve been dropping hints about. You could always make the gift of perfume a little more thoughtful by presenting your beau with a set that lets them design their own fragrance!
Handmade gifts are always a fantastic idea, but if your crafting skills leave a little to be desired, buying a personalised gift is just as good! There are plenty of personalised items available to buy online – Getting Personal have a huge selection! If you choose a bag or purse like the ones above (from Alphabet Bags), why not fill it with some pick and mix sweets, an accessory from their favourite shop, and some other small treats?
Does your lover enjoy a tipple? Forgo the usual bottle of rosé and give them something a little special – how about this 22 Carat Vodka? (Yes, it really is pink!) Or there’s personalised champagne and whiskey, and of course, everyone loves a cocktail – take your other half out for a big night on the town. Alternatively, if you’ve got skills to rival even the most experienced bartender, sit your partner down in the kitchen and whip up a cocktail of their choosing.
Take them to the swanky restaurant on the corner that you’ve always said you’ll visit but never got round to, or if you’re confident about your culinary abilities, simply cook at home! Treating your loved one to a romantic, homemade meal for two is really thoughtful – and can also be done fairly last minute, if you’ve left your gift-buying too late! Pop the oven on and take your pick of some delicious Valentine’s Day recipes, then finish up with a bowl of strawberries and cream…
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to a woman’s heart must surely be through stationery! No? Well, perhaps it’s just me! Still, if you have a lady (or gentleman!) who’s into organising, journaling, planning and list making, you could do worse than kit them out with an elegant notebook and pen. Smythson are the Rolls Royce of stationery, and of course there’s my beloved Moleskine! Pure luxury.
Why not present your loved one with a whole batch of books by their favourite author, or a subject that they’re keen to read up on? Or, instead of heading for Waterstone’s bestsellers list, why not buy a personalised novel? You could cuddle up together and read a personalised classic, or a saucy tale from U Star! If your lover is a little more technological, you can always buy them an eBook for their Kindle – or if you’re feeling flush, a Kindle itself!
Share An Experience
Although it’s wonderful to give someone a gift they really like, the point of Valentine’s Day is to spend time with the person you love. Rather than exchanging presents, why not take them out for a unique experience? Grab a red letter day gift pack, or arrange something yourself – a wine tasting weekend, a chocolate making workshop, or a ride in a sports car. Even preparing a cosy movie night at home is bound to be appreciated!
If you can never get in the bathroom because your lover is always lounging in the tub, how about presenting them with a homemade hamper stocked to the brim with bathtime goodies? Lush do a wonderful seasonal collection (as always!), and you can find similar treats on Etsy. If you want to give a gift that will last, how about I Rub My Duckie for some naughty bathtime fun? If your bath is big enough, you can both hop in…
Whether your beau is into sport, wildlife or gaming, why not give them a gift that relates to their passion? Are you the paramour of a painter? Present them with a year’s supply of paint and offer to be their live model! Dating a photographer? Dig around on eBay for a vintage Polaroid camera and a box or two of film. Giving someone a gift that you know they’ll actually use is always a great idea – and it will earn you some serious brownie points, too!
Have a night in and get ready for a marathon games tournament! Spice things up with an “adult” board game (try Nookii), or keep it simple with a pack of standard playing cards – designed by Lanvin, naturally! Dig out some traditional, timeless board games such as chess (makes me think of this! Sexy, eh?) or Scrabble – perhaps with the rule to only play Valentine’s-related words?
Pack a hamper with sandwiches and cream cakes, then take your darling out for the perfect picnic. If it’s not at all sunny or warm where you live, no matter – have a picnic on the floor, in bed, or in the bath! Alternatively, if you and your loved one are likely to be spending most of the day apart, pack a surprise Valentine’s lunch for them to take to work. Throw in crustless sandwiches, delicate cupcakes and a miniature bottle of bubbly – they’ll love you forever!
Buying underwear can be a minefield if you’re shopping for a lady partner – few women fully understand bra sizing, let alone men! It’s not impossible, though. First, sneak a peek at one of your girlfriend’s favourite bras to determine her size, then choose a set which fits in with her style - perhaps her signature shade of pink, her trademark polka dot pattern, or a particular fabric, such as silk or satin. I am completely enamoured with everything at Lou Lou Loves You!
Your partner is a lucky one if you’ve got more than a quiet evening at home planned! Tuck a plane ticket into your Valentine’s Day card, or hide it in their passport or under their pillow. Although the holiday itself will be their present, why not also give them a gift-wrapped box on the day, so that they have something to open? Handing them a passport cover, pair of sunglasses or new swimwear might help the penny drop!
If you live together and have been thinking about it already, now might be the time to get a pet! Please think very carefully before you commit to a pet of any size or description, though! (Bunnies are for life, not just for Valentine’s!) Consult your loved one about your gift choice before you surprise them with an animal that they may not be able to care for. And remember that you could always get them an electronic pet instead of the real thing!
Find a pretty box and fill it with memories, objects, in-jokes, and all manner of things that you and your dearest have enjoyed together over the years. You could include photographs, letters, ticket stubs, cards, novelties, ornaments, song lyrics, cuddly toys, cookie fortunes, postcards and trinkets. Alternatively, assemble a collection of photographs from the start of your relationship to the present day, and pop them all into an elegant hardback book, sealed with a ribbon. Lovely!
Whatever your beau is interested in, there’s bound to be a magazine for it! (Practical Fishkeeping, anyone?!) A gift subscription will see that your special someone’s favourite magazine is delivered straight to their door every month – with no chance of them missing an issue! Subscriptions often come with a free gift, or other perks, such as ELLE’s collectible covers. Have a look at Great Magazines for all the deets.
When I saw that a section of the John Lewis website was titled “Valentine’s Day Gifts & Novelties”, I knew that I was in for a treat! If you really want to get into the swing of things, kit out your love nest with some heart-shaped bunting, pop your cup of tea on a heart-shaped coaster, whip up a batch of heart-shaped cookies and break open a set of Valentine’s crackers for two! Silly, but fun!
If your loved one has been working hard and juggling commitments, get them to rearrange all of their meetings and spoil them rotten with a spa day or a beauty treatment. The Sanctuary is a famous spa located in Covent Garden, and Lush have recently opened up their own spa providing an other-worldly massage experience! On the other hand, if your fitness-mad partner can’t bear to sit still for more than two minutes, why not give them a health club membership?
If Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a special occasion or you’ve recently received some good news, it would be a lovely idea to give your other half something related to the happy event. Give the new mother in your life a bouquet of baby clothes, and for the blushing newlywed (or newly engaged!), how about this Lanvin key fob?
Do A Good Deed
Cheesy but true, one of the best gifts you can give your loved one is to do something nice for them. This is especially true if your boy/girlfriend tends to roll their eyes at Valentine’s Day, and insists that the two of you don’t exchange gifts. Offer to be their butler for the day – run errands on their behalf, cook them delicious meals and offer round-the-clock foot massages – essentially wait on them hand and foot and make sure that they don’t lift a finger on Monday 14th!
What gift are you giving this Valentine’s Day?