Rather than cheap boxed chocolates and oversized stuffed animals (seriously, what are you actually supposed to do with those?), offer your Valentine one of these relaxing, beautiful, or just downright useful gifts.
The classic Valentine's Day gifts of red roses, chocolates, and stuffed animals are much appreciated and quite cute, but this year, we think you should go the extra mile for your honey bunny and gift them something a little more personal. We're featuring gifts for sweethearts who are avoiding chocolate and candy, relaxation gifts for people who just need a break, a few adorable light-hearted gifts for sugar muffins who love to laugh, and yes, some bars of chocolate for people who love a decadent treat. We've even got a few gifts for the handy man and movie-nerd in your life, ladies. If you've been short of ideas for pleasing your Valentine this year, this is our love letter to you--and your lovebug.
For Love Muffins Who Love to Relax
You know what we could all use a little less of? Stress. Give your sweetheart a chance to relax, unwind, and soak in some sweet scents while you fix them a romantic dinner for two.
- Panda Cooling Eye Gel Pads, $7 - Chill the pads, place over your tired eyes, and slip away into bliss.
- LUSH Bath Bombs, starting at $5 - Any gift from LUSH is a guaranteed winner, but we particularly love the bath bombs. These fizzy spheres release oils and scents to turn your soak into a sensational spa moment.
- Face masks, starting at $3 - Treat her to a spa-like experience with facial masks in the comfort of home. Each one is different, so find a scent or a treatment that best suits her style.
- Sweet-scented candles, $10 - There is no wrong time to gift a candle. Target's Sincerely Me candles offer fragrant dessert-inspired scents. You can also opt for more classic candle scents like Fresh Cut Lilacs and French Cade & Lavender.
- Body butters, starting at $10 - Body butters are to lotions what Mercedes is to Toyota. Lotions are great, reliable even. But body butters? Once you go body butter, you never go back.
- Lucia Guest Soap Pack, $16 - For the gift that gives again and again, wrap a pack of these small essential oil-infused, 100% certified organic soaps for your Valentine. Each one can be enjoyed in the shower for a few washes, or are a great way to take a little bit of home with you on the road.
For Main Squeezes Who Love Merlot and Macchiatos
In the a.m., she's got her cup of coffee in her right hand. In the p.m., her wine glass is always close by. And on the weekends, she's just as happy whipping up a batch of carrot cake pancakes (watch how to make these below) or sweating through an early class of hot yoga.
- Wine - It's just never a bad idea to wrap a beautiful bow on a bottle of Bordeaux.
- Kikkerland Wooden Unicorn Corkscreen, $7.50 - Your love is one-of-kind, just like a unicorn.
- Ello Infuser Water Bottles, $15 - Her trusty water bottle could use an update. This glass one has a removable bottom half that allows fresh fruit to infuse with each water refill. Ahh, that's refreshing!
- Ban.dō Thermal Mug, $14 - Her morning mug of coffee should be as fashionable as she is. This infused and insulated acrylic thermal mug holds 16 ounces of her favorite morning Joe. If florals aren't her thing, the mug comes in nine different patterns, including the very honest, "But First, Coffee."
- Tovolo You Melt My Heart Spatula, $12 - Because you can never have too many spatulas, and you can never have too many reminders that you are loved.
- Gama-Go I Heart Eggs Egg Mold, $10 - If she's known to put on egg on it, she can put a heart-shaped egg on it for Valentine's Day.
- Conversation Hearts Mug, $10 - The icky candies, we will avoid. But this adorable conversation hearts mug, we will gladly gift. While you're at Sur La Table picking up this earthenware mug, don't skip the heart-shaped marshmallows.
For Chicks (and Hunks) Who Love Chocolate
Listen, we would never advocate foregoing chocolate entirely (unless you just want to, of course, and then all power to you), but on Valentine's Day (or any holiday for that matter), heart-shaped boxes of cheap chocolate just won't cut it. Make sure any chocolate you gift is really worth every single bite. That might mean spending a bit extra on a better bar, but that investment will return in kind (in that your honey will be très très happy). You can find many of these at higher-end grocery stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market.
A few of our favorite chocolate bar brands:
For Gorgeous Gals Who Love the Gym
If she prefers diamond push-ups to diamond rings (OK, maybe not prefers), add a little pizzazz to her gym gear.
- French Bull Yoga Tote Bag, $35 - Gym bags should be replaced frequently because of germ concerns, so use the opportunity to gift a new one. This big bold floral ikat pattern definitely won't get lost in the locker room. The slide-through pocket is a perfect carry-all for a yoga mat, too.
- Gaiam Restore Compact Foam Roller, $20 - After an intense sweat session or just a long day at work, the compact foam roller is a great way to release built-up tension and ease stiffness. It's compact size makes it great for the office or a suitcase, too.
- Stainless Steel Water Bottle, starting at $25 - S'ip by S'well continues to release fun and playful patterns, so you'll certainly find a style (like these bicycles) that matches your love's interests. Fifty Fifty Bottles' clean style is ideal for all tastes, plus the vacuum-insulated bottle promises to keep liquids hot or cold all day.
- Earbuds, starting at $20 - If you've ever lost a pair of much-loved earbuds (or three), you know the gift of new earbuds is welcome to people who run, walk, or otherwise exercise for hours on end each week. You can spend over $100 on some brands, but if sugar muffin loses buds as much as she loses her keys (speaking from experience here), a good middle-of-the-road pair is a very thoughtful (and practical) gift.
For the Little Ladies and Lads You Love
While their classmates are stuffing precious tokens of friendship into their adorably decorated Valentine's Day boxes, create a fun bag of treats for your little Valentines to open after dinner. You don't have to go overboard, but a few fun items can certainly put a smile on their face.
- Target Dollar Spot Buys, starting at $1 - If you're a regular Target shopper, I don't have to tell you twice that the secret to happiness is buried somewhere in those bins. For Valentine's Day, we picked up the little maze games, adorable unicorn erasers and socks, and the four-piece heart-shaped puzzle. You can create a great bag for less than $10, and if you're still recovering from holiday shopping, that's welcome news.
- Pretty Animalz by Look Beauty Facial Sheets, starting at $4 - Pamper your littlest love with an at-home spa night. Luxuriate in pedicures and facials. These inexpensive facial sheets are very fun (and funny when on your face!) and soothing.
- Playful socks - Wanna spoon? Yeah, into an ice cream sundae! These fanciful socks are available at Target. Check other favorite stores for adorable Valentine's Day-themed footwear.
- Books - Cute holiday-specific reads like Dinosaur Kisses by David Era Stein, Love Monster by Rachel Bright, and Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle are great additions to your kids' library. Sweet stories remind someone special why they're so loved.
- Sweet Treats - Don't be stingy with showing your little sweeties some sugary love. Just pick and choose smarter choices. We like SmashMallow all-natural, gluten-free marshmallows. They come in flavorful combinations like Strawberries & Cream and Mint Chocolate Chip. Project 7's Gourmet Gummies are made with natural and non-GMO ingredients, no artificial dyes or colors, and are also a gluten-free treat.
- Rainbow Sticky Notes, $8 - Let your little loves know you're just over the rainbow about them with these rainbow-colored notepads.
- Valentine Cookie Cutter Set on Ring, $7 - For your next Sunday baking project, gift this cookie cutter set to your aspiring baker.
For Mr. Man Who's Too Cool for Hearts and Flowers
It does seem that too often the onus of Valentine's Day falls entirely on the man. This year, treat him with a few gifts that show how much you care.
- Star Wars Darth Vader Ice Mold, $16 - If he quotes Star Wars like you quote Friends episodes, these Darth Vader ice molds will make him want to strike down any evil empire for your heart. Gift the molds with a bottle of his favorite liquor.
- Hot Sauce for Your Hottie, starting at $13 - If his collection of hot sauces rivals your collection of lipsticks, he'll know you mean the world to him if you add another bottle. Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table offer unique and varied bottles.
- Punny Valentine's Day Card, starting at $2 - Sweet words of love for him (and food): I Only Have Eyes for You; Let's Taco 'Bout How Awesome You Are; You're Awesome Sauce, Valentine; Have a Lil Pizza My Heart; and You're My Butter Half.
- Punny Socks, $4 - Head to Target for these socks inspired by Elton John's famous song.
- Skincare Products, starting at $5 - Treat his sweet face to a mini facial the next time he shaves with this luxurious shaving creams. You can also pamper her feet with tingling foot cream.
- Wild and Wolf Gentlemen's Hardware Credit Card Tool, $15 - He's known as a handyman among his friends (and neighbors), so make sure he's always ready to lend a helping hand with this 10-in-1 trusty tool.