The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gifts for Every Stage of a Relationship
Is your heart racing just thinking about what to buy for Valentine’s Day? Whether you’ve just started dating or have been together for years, you’ll be smitten with this gift guide.
For a budding love interest
An over-the-top gift can either work for you or against you when you’ve just started dating. “Select something meaningful that indicates you are looking towards a bright future, but you are not needy or desperate,” says Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas. To be safe, steer clear from anything too personal unless you are absolutely certain the feelings are mutual. It’s better to be thoughtful, but cautious—like dinner for two at your apartment or a playlist made specifically for your crush. Or if you want to buy something small, consider Lovepop, 3D pop-up greeting cards that come in a variety of designs so you can choose the perfect sentiment (like rosebuds, for a budding love interest … get it?). And unlike real flowers, the Lovepop rose bouquet will last forever —hopefully just like your new romance. Find out facts you never knew about Valentine’s Day.
Dating one to three months
Courtesy My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream
For a couple who’s just getting started, gifts should be casual and simple—and it’s the perfect time to show you’ve been paying attention to the things they like. For example: “You guys have just started dating, so don’t go overboard. Chocolates and perfume are perfect for up to three months,” says Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. Consider a scented candle of their favorite flavor, a coffee mug with a cute saying, or a bottle of wine he or she enjoyed on one of your previous dates. If your new love interest has a sweet tooth, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream in S’mores—pillowy mochi dough wrapped around graham cracker ice cream with a marshmallow center—could really hit the spot. It might also be a good time to take a pulse check of the relationship, so check out these 15 signs that your relationship is solid as a rock.
Dating three to six months: Modest jewelry
Jewelry is always good, but don’t splurge too much. “A heart necklace might seem a bit cliché, but it’s also a great gift because the price point can be on the lower end when you have only been dating for a few months,” says Trombetti. To make sure there’s no confusion about what this bauble means (Hint: diamonds may send the wrong message), consider something like this dainty 14k-gold mini heart pendant from Nashelle—you can add her initial for an extra touch of personalization.
Dating three to six months: DIY cocktails
Whether your Valentine is a budding mixologist or you’d like to show off your own shaker skills by mixing him or her the perfect cocktail, a bar pack like this one from Bitter Truth is a great gift. With unique flavors such as tonic, peach, olive, cucumber, and chocolate bitters, and a card filled with recipes inside, it’s a gift anyone can raise a glass to.
Dating three to six months: Cashmere socks
You know the saying, “Cold hands, warm heart?” Well, hopefully, that applies to feet as well. If she’s always shivering or putting her cold feet next to yours to warm them up, a pair of cashmere socks—like these heart-patterned options—is not only budget friendly, but guaranteed to knock her socks off (er, on?). Besides, you can never have too many socks. Don’t miss these Valentine’s Day gifts women actually want for more ideas.
Six months to a year of dating: Gemstone jewelry
You know each other really well by now. “The same rules above apply, but now you are even more certain of their interests, so something personal should be in the mix. A modest piece of jewelry says “I love you” without saying “I am committing myself forever.” A necklace, bracelet, or great pair of earrings would be great for her,” says Gottsman. This cushion-cut sapphire, blue topaz, or amethyst pendant necklace and matching stud earrings set from Victoria Townsend is a great choice because it’s meaningful yet still affordable. Another idea: Gift your Valentine a picture of the two of you on a vacation, in a pretty frame for his or her desk or fireplace.
Six months to a year of dating: A plant
Forget flower deliveries; everyone does that. A fun idea for someone with a green thumb is to treat them to fully grown plants. This heart-shaped bamboo arrangement will send a romantic message (two bamboo stalks also symbolize love). Other romantic ideas include greenery that helps recreate a magical moment shared on vacation (such as a sago palm bonsai tree) or an orchid, which also represents love. Don’t miss the most romantic Valentine’s Day restaurant in each state.
Six months to a year of dating: Music
Is your partner an audiophile? Does he or she always have the perfect playlist for every task from working out to cleaning the house? Share their love of music with Urbanears Plattan 2 on-ear headphones—the ZoundPlug makes music sharing easy, you simply plug in another pair of headphones and you can enjoy the sweet sounds together on an airplane, on the couch or in bed. Bonus points if you combine this with a customized Valentine’s Day-inspired playlist of love songs.
Dating one year: A gourmet steak dinner at home
You can do a little more at this stage, but aim for something more thoughtful than ever before. “Gifts for all senses such as a romantic dinner, music, flowers, and a massage are sure to delight,” says Trombetti. “You can create a whole day out of it and have a date day/night!” Is he a carnivore? Get him a delivery of premium steaks. It’ll be like going to a fancy restaurant, but you won’t have to get dressed or tip anyone. Better yet, treat him (and yourself) to Omaha Steaks, which is offering a Surf & Turf package of filet mignon, lobster tails, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and sticky toffee pudding cakes. It’s a complete meal for two and you can enjoy it over candlelight on February 14. Here are more creative date night ideas to inspire you.
Dating a few years/living together: Espresso machine
If your S.O. is on the moody side before his or her morning coffee, then this elegant Espressotoria Caprista capsule machine is the answer to household bliss, because it’s secretly a gift for both! And since your morning espresso is so inexpensive now that you won’t be running to coffee shops on the daily, your budget will allow for more date nights throughout the year. Win-win!
“There might be high expectations for the first Valentine’s after your wedding, so be sure to make it memorable,” says David Mitroff, PhD, a marketing expert. If you are trying to go frugal (i.e. you still have a pile of wedding bills to pay off or are looking to upgrade to a bigger home), find a gift that they cherish while still staying true to your budget. A hand-carved Cinta Embrace Sculpture could be just the right touch. Find out more budget-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
You’re probably at the stage in your relationship where you are spending more time in bed than you ever will again, which means the finest bed linen is a great gift idea. Coyuchi’s 100 percent organic cotton brushed flannel sheet set is luxurious, warm and cozy—perfect for this time of year.
Newlywed: Keepsake jewelry
If you recently got married and aren’t on a tight budget, splurge on a piece your significant other will hold onto for years—such as a pair of classic diamond earrings, like these 1-carat cluster earrings from Wrapped in Love. Her ears will sparkle and her heart will be filled with joy. To help your relationship grow through the decades, follow this marriage advice of couples who have been together for 50+ years.
Married for less than a decade
Courtesy Dooney & Bourke
“Sometimes a relationship in this category might get back-burnered because of the demands of starting and raising a family, so this holiday is great for spicing things up or reminding each other of core values of the relationship,” says Dr. Mitroff. This Valentine’s Day, treat your wife to one of her favorite things: a classic handbag. This pebble leather hobo from Dooney & Bourke comes in a variety of colors to suit her style (though red seems to fit the holiday best), will hold everything she needs, and will serve as a daily reminder of how much you love her. Check out these Valentine’s Day ideas from long-time couples.
Married for a decade-plus
“It’s back to the basics for established couples. Try revisiting past date locations and relive previous amazing experiences!” suggests Dr. Mitroff. Reenact a first or favorite date, surprise her with breakfast, or write a love letter from the heart. And jewelry never hurts. If all else fails and you can’t think of a fresh way to display your love after all these years, then check out these gifts that women really want for Valentine’s Day.
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