Classic Valentine’s Day: red roses, dark chocolate, fine dining, champagne, engagement ring. Easy!
Or maybe not.
Part of the challenge of gift giving is finding something that’s unexpected but will seem obvious and natural in retrospect.
That annoying contradiction is why lovers of classic gifts can be so hard to buy for. You don’t want to buy them the literal same thing over and over… but they’re often not big fans of change. What works for them–works.
Look, I know I (just) said don’t buy literally the same thing over and over, and red roses are cliche, but if that’s what your partner loves–buy them: over and over.
If there might be a little more flexibility to the concept of roses, look for a bouquet that features them, but includes other eye-catching elements: if your partner (girls aren’t the only ones who like flowers, thank you very much) has a playful side, this bouquet could suit them very well.
If you’re unsure about what flowers they like, start with colors. Do they wear a lot of vibrant colors or are their tones more pastel? Do they like to mix bold patterns or stick to a neutral palette? If you live together or spend time in each other’s homes, sneak into their closet and hold up bouquet options on your phone to match if you’re not sure.
We tend to dress our homes like we dress ourselves, and this way, your gift will fit right in!
If someone is into chocolate–nothing else will do. Lake Champlain is one of my favorite chocolatiers in the US. Their Valentine’s truffles include nutty, fruity, and caramelized offerings and are packaged beautifully in a white heart shaped box with pink hearts and a big red bow.
And don’t despair! If a heart shaped box is a little too mushy for your partner, they offer smashing traditional boxes as well. If your concern is ingredient based, know that they also have options for those who are nut free or vegan. Having said that, if your partner (or your) has severe allergies, all of Lake Champlain’s chocolates are made in the same facility, and they do have a “trace amount” cross contamination notice on their boxes. Nothing is less romantic than an allergic reaction on Valentine’s Day.
If you want to follow the traditional form of the chocolate box but get more playful with the content, consider the Exotic Truffle Collection from Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Flavor combos include ginger/wasabi/matcha, olive oil/white chocolate/green olive, and horseradish/lemon zest/hazelnuts. It’s not for everyone, but it’s perfect for your flavor-adventurous partner.
Sometimes we’re ready for an adventure that’s a little… closer to home. You could also try the Prima Materia or the Enchanted Truffles, each packaged in a stunning watercolor box. While still playful, flavors are more accessible like Cornish Apple, Egyptian Sesame, Dalmore Scotch.
Not everyone who loves candy loves chocolate, however. If your partner’s sweet tooth takes a more colorful approach, Sugarwish has your back, with gorgeous retro candy boxes of 2-12 varieties. Traditionally, the Sugarwish model involves you sending your giftee an e-card with an invitation to pick out their candies for themselves (great for people who like to stay in control or whose tastes you haven’t quite learned). However, you can also send that e-card to yourself, make the selection, and then gift it to your unsuspecting partner.
For those who enjoy wine, Valentine’s Day is a great day to break out a special bottle (same as birthdays, New Year’s Eve, and… Tuesday).
If you know your partner’s taste, but aren’t into wine personally, your local wine shop (look for a small business, if you can) will be able to help you find delicious, accessible bottles at every price point.
We all know already to be careful of the box shape when it comes to jewelry, right? If you haven’t proposed and are more than a few years into a relationship, avoiding jewelry boxes that look like rings is just smort.
That makes earrings a bit tricky, so it’s not a bad idea to snag a slightly larger gift box for an anxiety free presentation.
Jewelry is also incredibly personal, so what works for one person won’t work the next. But hey, give these a look.
If your partner is more feminine, these Peruvian Pink Opal Drop Sterling Silver Earrings are lovely. As an added bonus, Peruvian Pink Opal is said to “unearth tenderness and compassion in romantic relationships.”
Now, let’s all remember the kind retail associates who have to work the day after Valentine’s Day and pick a lingerie gift that will not be used once and then returned.
(That should be a joke, but it’s not…)
Please don’t get lingerie for your partner if you don’t specifically know they want it. Too often this gift falls into the gift giving trap of picking out something for your partner that you want them to have.
Not quite the romantic gesture you think it is.
Still, some people love feeling sexy in a new piece of lingerie, so if you know this is what will bring your partner joy, bridge the classy lingerie divide with either a Lace-Trimmed Chemise or Velvet-Trimmed Stretch-Silk Satin Boxer Shorts.
If you’re looking for a gift that will make bed (with or without sex) feel great every night,
consider an elevated pajama option. Lunya makes luxurious women’s’ PJ sets for everyday use. As a bonus, silk is a natural temperature regulator, so if your partner runs hot or cold, this is a great option for them.
Need something a little more… masculine? Cleverly Laundry makes a lovely cotton set or, if you live in a warmer climate, Piglet in Bed (great name, I agree) has a classy linen option. Linen, if you don’t know, is great for warm weather. Like this guy. Or this guy.
If you want to take your gift in a warmer direction, you can’t go more classic than cashmere. And with the Cashmere Revolution (that’s not a real thing, but it feels like it should be), finding a high quality piece of clothing at an affordable price has never been easier.
Everlane is a popular cashmere destination for more reasons than the products themselves. (Read more here–really, it’s super cool!) I’m partial to a V-neck sweater (for both men and women’s styles), but if you like crewnecks, they’ve got those, too.
Whether by itself (for that special minimalist in your life) or as a part of any of the above gifts, a special handwritten note always has meaning.
Even if your handwriting is as bad as mine.
What you say is up to you, but the tools you use can reflect the importance of the occasion.
When I’m writing something important, I like a fountain pen with a weighty feel, but I know that’s a little old school for most folks. So you might also consider a Parker® Jotter or for a colorful option, a Paper Mate® InkJoy® Gel Pen.
As for what you write on, there’s a lot of good options out there:
Look for something that makes you smile and write from your heart. The rest is just window dressing.
The classic Valentine’s Gift is the one that comes from the heart. Start there, and let the rest flow out.
[This post includes products from… Bouqs, Brilliant Earth, Domestique Wine, Etsy, Everlane, Godiva, Johnstons of Elgin, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Lunya, Mejuri, Mr. Porter, Net-a-Porter, Office Depot, Paper Luxe, Pen Boutique, Piglet in Bed, Rifle Paper Co., Smythson, Sugarwish, Urbanstems, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Wine.com.]