With all of the marketing surrounding Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of gift guides online that would lead you to believe you should get the most expensive item or biggest bouquet you can afford. While it’s easy to think that the price tag proves what something’s worth, it’s really the thought that counts.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (1995) introduced the concept of love languages. It explained that there are many ways to express and receive love. The key is to give love in a way that's most appreciated by your companion and not just yourself. You can take the test to discover your love language.
I know it may seem cliché, but for a classic gift, you can’t go wrong with jewelry. You can find highly personal pieces on www.etsy.com. Etsy has everything ranging from handmade rings to necklaces from up and coming artists and passionate sellers. This means you’ll be giving her one-of-a-kind jewelry, which has that intimate touch. You can also mix and match different styles that you’ll think she’ll love. And as an added bonus, these pieces won’t break the bank.
For the lady who loves to make a statement, consider a higher price point. A fine pair of earrings or a bold timepiece both embody classic style and sophistication. These are pieces that she can wear every day and every time she does, she’ll think of you. www.catbirdnyc.com has a vast selection of designer jewelry with a wide price range. Find her a watch that’ll last from Fossil or Michael Kors.
To: You, From: Me
If you truly struggle with picking out presents, a gift certificate is a surprisingly great option. To prevent being perceived as lazy or last minute, make your own gift certificate. If she wants a new handbag, but you don’t know the difference between a tote and a clutch (because we don’t)? Give her a handmade gift certificate that entitles her to a day of shopping for the bag of her choice. This personal touch shows that you know what she loves and want to give it to her in a creative way..
What's In The Box?!
Roses are red, violets are blue, but both are tired. Instead, try filling a vase with flower petals, pictures, quotes, candy, and other personal effects. Another way to put a spin on a classic is putting together a box full of her favorite things. This will be highly individualized, so do some spying and see what lip glosses, nail polish, candy, beverages, and other items she loves and uses most. You can also recruit her friends to help you here.
Words of Affirmation
Cards & Notes
For some partners, it’s not just about showing love with grand gestures, but saying it. They want to hear or see your words, so draft up a love letter. Hallmark has options that are far better than the usual drug store by allowing you to add pictures, edit messages, and make it your own. A handwritten note can be beautiful, but if your handwriting resembles a 3rd grader, take advantage of handwritten fonts.
Songs & Poems
We’re not all gifted musicians or poets, but that’s part of the fun. You’ll both be mutually embarrassed, but the entertainment and sentimental value of even a silly song is worth it. The RhymeBrain will make it fun and easy to get started.
Date Night... Or Day
Dinner dates are the most common , so why not surprise her by planning a special day or night revolving around just the two of you? Start the day with brunch and head to a museum. History not your thing? See a movie together and then treat yourself to fancy cocktails at a fun bar. If you’re lucky enough to have warm weather in February, take advantage of an outdoor activities. Regardless of the activity, she’ll love anything that YOU plan with her in mind.
The alternative to a vacation for those who don’t have the time or the money to afford a romantic getaway, a “stay-cation” is what every couple needs. Pick a night or two where you and your significant other head to a local hotel or bed and breakfast. Get a room, settle in, treat yourself to a bottle of wine and some fluffy robes. Groupon and Gilt have some awesome deals on hotels. If you’re looking for a last-minute hotel try lastminute.com or the app “Hotel Tonight.”
Treat your valentine to a couples massage. Cheap? No. Worth it? YES. Most women love to be pampered, so why not share the experience together? If your partner works long hours, has a stressful job, or just needs to unwind this is a gift they’ll seriously appreciate. Do your research and you may be able to find a promotional deal online.
Learning a new skill together can be an awesome way to bond. You’re guaranteed to laugh at each other’s mistakes and be proud of your achievements. There are tons of cooking classes that vary from pizza making to gourmet food prep. “Paint and Sip” is another popular activity for couples, allowing you to mix alcohol with painting, like a real artist. Even if you are an awful painter, the wine is sure to provide comic relief. This is a great gift for couples old and new. The experience gives you an opportunity to learn things about each other that you may have never known. CourseHorse has hundreds of awesome classes that cover a wide array of topics and interests.
Acts of Service
As a youngster, the ultimate gift to give to your parents was a coupon book, probably because it was all you could afford. Even though you can afford more now, this one maintains it’s appeal. “This coupon guarantees that I will do the dishes for a week.” Who in their right mind wouldn’t want this coupon?! Gifting homemade coupons like these could be the best thing they’ve ever received. Whether helpful or romantic, gestures like these are invaluable. There are also pre-made coupon books for those who lack in creativity or need a little guidance; Amazon has a great selection.
Nails Done, Hair Did
Spending money on personal upkeep can be daunting. Alleviate some of that financial stress this Valentine’s Day by treating your significant other to those things. Offering to pay to get her hair and nails done would be a dream come true. Many girls sacrifice these things because they don’t have the cash flow to spend on temporary luxuries. Despite what the Instagram and Snapchat captions tell you, not everyone wakes up like Beyonce.
Find out where she normally goes for these services (again, her friends are your allies here), or treat her by going to somewhere new. A blow-out is a fun idea before a big night out or even if she just deserves a little pampering. Take a look at www.drybar.com.
A Touch of Class
Purchase her a membership or class to something she’s been wanting to try or loves to do already, like yoga, a language class, wine club membership, coffee club membership, etc.
Gifts like these are where love languages really come into play. They wouldn’t be right for someone who values quality time most, but may be perfect for someone that values acts of service. They’ll see that you’re willing to give up time together for them to explore and improve.
Perhaps the simplest category, we trust you have this one figured out, but there are some less direct options to consider. This Jasmine Vanilla massage oil from Bath & Body Works is a gift that keeps on giving, infusing fragrance with touch as a winning combination. Candlelight, bubbles, tunes, rose petals, and steam and a nice bath make for a relaxing evening. Luxurious PJs, slippers, and other sleepwear can make cozy nights in even more comfortable. Lotion or perfume is a nice way to leave a lasting touch. Smell is the sense that is most strongly tied to memory; every time she puts it on, she’s reminded of you.
Unless you learn your partner’s preferences, you may find yourself feeling misunderstood or underappreciated. While one person may desire a fancy pair of new shoes, another may prefer a simple hand-written letter. This gift guide is meant to inspire men to think outside of the box, while keeping their significant other’s true interests in mind and at heart.