For me, Valentine's Day means putting in that extra bit of thought and effort, whatever that looks like or means to you. It's a great time to think of meaningful ways to show those we love just how special they are.
I encourage you to think of someone in your life whom you want to make feel special. It could be someone you live with or not, it could be a romantic partner or not, and it could even be yourself. Picture that person and dedicate yourself to enhancing their life a notch, in any way you can think of.
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Tips for Figuring Out What Gift Your Person Might Like
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean buying expensive gifts, but if you do want to get something and need inspiration, here are a few of my tips.
- See what products and brands your person likes, saves, or shares on social media.
- Does your person always watch knitting videos or vintage fashion videos on TikTok? Help them kickstart this new passion!
- Have a look around your home at the things your person loves; is anything getting really good use, or does anything need replacing or upgrading?
- Consider their love language, and try to get or do something in alignment with what’s important to them.
For anyone in your life that you want to make feel special; partner, friend, roommate, family, you can show them that you’re in it together and that you’re on the same team.
With thoughtfulness in mind, I’ve put together this idea and gift guide. Please share with me the thoughtful things you do for loved ones at this time of year or year round!
Thoughtful and Free
This category is dedicated to gifts that are thoughtful and kind but don’t have to cost any money. Get creative and harness the power of saying thank you, and showing up for someone in whichever way they need the most.
Quality Time Calendar or Emotional Labor Calendar
I am not a huge fan of those coupon books that people ‘redeem’ for things like ‘a long hug’ or ‘no chores for a day’. The idea is kind in theory, but in reality, the person with a coupon book has to go and ask for something, which puts the onus on them. I reinterpret this gift with quality time or an emotional labor calendar.
Take a calendar you have at home, and for next month, mark off some things you’re going to do for your loved one. Maybe every Monday, you’ll make dinner and clean up. Maybe every Saturday you’ll take them to their favorite park or do their favorite activity. You ask nothing of them, and they’ll feel so appreciated.
Write a Gratitude Card
Words of affirmation make everyone feel amazing. Grab some paper, write down the things that make you thankful for your loved one, and let them know. For some more gratitude card advice, see my how-to here.
Create a Personal Playlist
This takes time and effort, and is such a lovely personal gift to give. Do some song listening and put together a playlist that will inspire your person every time they listen to it! You can gift it to them digitally or put it on a CD if you want a physical gift to give.
Organize a Space
Everyone has a little bit of chaos somewhere. It might be a room, a closet, drawer, desktop… Take some initiative and time and organize a loved one’s bit of chaos... with their permission, of course. They’ll be thrilled!
One philosophy of happiness is that experiences make us happier than material possessions. I stand by this and think that gifts that ignite a memory or feeling are so meaningful to receive.
Get designing and make a photo book of moments with your loved one. You could make it all about one amazing vacation that you had, or a picture from every year you’ve known each other. Services like Shutterfly or Snapfish make it really easy to do this online.
Art of a Significant Place
Places are special to us. If there's a place that is meaningful to you and your person, remind them with a unique map like this one or by printing and framing a photo from a visit you took together.
Plan Your Next Trip Together
Just because we aren't able to travel as much as we would like, doesn't mean you can't dream of your next trip together! Put together a travel itinerary to show this person something you're excited to do in the future together. The planning and looking forward can be as much fun as the trip itself.
You can create a romantic or special moment with mood, words, and with decorations. When I think of special quality time, I think of the feeling of being cherished and appreciated. You know how to reproduce that for your person, so get thinking!
Get dressed up, set the table, light some candles, and have a nice meal. You don’t have to cook a whole meal from scratch. You can do this with take-out too, just make sure to plate the dishes nicely as they would be in a restaurant. And don’t forget to light some candles.
Something for the Senses
Shifting the energy in a room with scents or essential oils has been shown to reduce stress and enhance a relaxed mood. Do some research and get something to relax your loved one. Candles, oils, diffusers, lotion… the right scent can work wonders.
If you’re not sure what they’ll like, classics like lavender, vanilla, or jasmine are a great place to start. Here are some of my favorites:
Customized and Sentimental
I used to have a go-to mug for workdays that was handmade for me by a friend at my pottery studio. It was something I used every single day. When it smashed one day, I was so upset! It had a lot of sentimental value for me, and we all have small things in our lives like that.
I love giving and receiving gifts like this, so here are some ideas. Etsy is a great place to find something unique and custom.
- Handmade mug from a local ceramic artist
- Monogrammed item e.g. notebook, robe, pen
- Engraved jewelry
- Personalized specialty item like a guitar pick, cocktail shaker, or robe
Here are some ceramicists I love:
No matter who your loved one is, there’s something that they use every day that could use an upgrade. Pay close attention and see if there's a product in their life that needs some TLC. Here is some inspiration!
- Finally getting some art for that blank wall
- A high-quality knife for someone who loves to cook
- A beautiful pen and notebook for someone who’s always jotting down ideas
- Replace a loved makeup item for your person that's expired or almost used up.
Comfort and Kindness
Show love by making your person's life a little bit more comfy and cozy. Inject some warmth, add a little bit of luxury to their lives...because who doesn’t love being snuggled up for a night in?
Pair this with a cozy night by the fire or with some candles lit, spending some quality time together, or watching a movie.
You’ve Got This!
Don’t be scared to mess up, or do the wrong thing. As long as it’s thoughtful, it’s going to be awesome. And don’t forget to give yourself some love! Buy yourself some cake, get yourself that trinket. You can be your own special someone too!
This post was originally published in February of 2021 but was republished with updated links in February of 2022. It was updated again in February 2023 with new gift idea links and a new dinner menu.