You know what time it is! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re anything like me, you might be struggling to figure out the perfect gift for your special someone.
My ‘special someone’ is my fiancé, and jeez, is he hard to buy for. If he really wants something, he buys it for himself, and he doesn’t really want all that much when it comes down to it. He’s a simple man – give him a video game and maybe a funny TV show, and he’s set.
If you’re struggling, too, let’s brainstorm together and figure out the best Valentine’s gifts to give.
Note: I wrote a gift-giving guide that is holiday-specific in November, but the core ideas remain solid. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend giving it a look!
Homemade is best!
We’re absolutely doing a homemade meal this year, just like last year, for a number of reasons – including, it’s very cold where we live, so outdoor dining is completely out.
I asked my guy what he wanted (Linguine Diablo with shrimp and scallops, with garlic toast. And a salad, we’re on a diet…), but feel free to surprise him if you know his favorite meal. I’ve had great results using Serious Eat’s Sous Vide Steak recipe, topped with this creamy peppercorn sauce.
A card with a handwritten note as to why you love your partner and how they’ve improved your life is always a win. Hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries are a lot cheaper than their store bought counterparts, and could even be a fun couples activity during the afternoon!
Homemade baked goods, like cookies, cupcakes, or even a pie, are also often winners. When you put your heart into it, it really does turn out better.
For the partner who loves to cook
Does your partner love to hang out in the kitchen and cook you delicious meals? It’s most women’s dream, so be sure to support their hobby that actually feeds you, and consider getting them some gear to upgrade the kitchen.
A good chef’s knife can run you anywhere from $30-300, so do your research, but if he’s still using knives from a big block set, almost anything you buy is going to be an upgrade. This 8–inch High Carbon Stainless Steel knife is just $40 on Amazon, and has over 6,700 reviews with a 4.5 star average.
An instant-read thermometer was a game changer in the kitchen, and I didn’t think I even needed one. This ThermoPro digital instant-read thermometer is a great deal at $29.99 with over 66k reviews, averaging 4.5 stars. I use mine for everything from chicken to steak, bread, and more.
I’ve waxed poetic about my love of an Instant Pot recently, but if your man does the bulk of the cooking and wants to speed it up, that’s absolutely the way to go. An Air Fryer is also pretty amazing, if you want to keep eating fried deliciousness but avoid the fat and calories.
Does your partner have a well-stocked kitchen? Master Class offers cooking videos from Gordon Ramsey, Thomas Keller, Aaron Franklin, Wolfgang Puck, and more. Or Sur la Table offers home-based online cooking classes starting at just $29.
If your partner has ‘everything’
If your partner, like mine, seems to have absolutely everything and swears they don’t ‘need’ anything, don’t worry; there are still options for you out there!
StarRegistration.net lets you buy your loved one a star. Like, in the sky. You can name the star and track it for just $40, and every time you or your partner looks to the stars, you’ll be reminded of your love.
A year and a half ago for an anniversary I got my partner a 3–year journal for 2 people. It lives in our office, and every night we fill out the day’s question. Some are fun and silly, some will make you think, and some will make you remember why you fell in love with your partner again. It repeats after a full year, and you answer the same questions, but now from a new year and a new perspective.
Delivery and boxed subscription services are sort of over-saturated right now, but it’s a fun way to sort of ‘gamble’ and get a surprise for your SO. A wine delivery service is perfect for those who can tell the difference between vintages and years, but want to try something new.
For the partner who loves grilling
Okay, it’s sort of a cliche to get your partner something grill-related for Valentine’s Day, but if their hobby really is cracking open a cold one and hanging out by the grill on a Sunday afternoon before the football game, well… you work with what you’ve got.
A wireless bluetooth thermometer will let your partner monitor the temperature of large meats or what they’re smoking without stepping outside. This infrared thermometer temperature gun will help your partner figure out just how hot their grill actually is, leading to better-seared meats.
A grilling basket is great for fish or veggies, as well as a grilling mat, both made to sustain higher heats and last longer. They’re also generally less cleanup than if you got the grates all dirty, which could mean more grilled deliciousness for you!
If your partner is a big BBQ sauce fan, this sauce pot with a silicone basting brush is perfect. The lid means it can stay at the grill while you’re cooking without unwanted pests coming in, and the silicone will withstand heat.
For the partner who loves coffee
Coffee is a hard hobby because people who are into coffee are really into coffee, and I speak from experience. My morning cup used to take close to 20 minutes, start to finish, all of it ‘active’ time.
If your partner is really into good coffee but doesn’t have a good coffee setup at home, investing in a good grinder for whole bean coffee is a great first step. You can easily spend $250 on a good coffee grinder, but this $130 Baratza Encore is what I used for years, and loved it. This Sboly Conical Burr grinder is just $70 (and it’s on sale at the time of writing!) and a great choice as well.
Good beans are subjective, but a good quality bean – even if it’s not the flavor profile your partner would normally go for – is a great gift. Happy Mug has some great roasted coffee choices, and are generally regarded as a good quality roaster to buy from online. Do some Googling in your local area, though – there’s a good chance you have a roaster within a few miles of your house that would love your business, and it’s going to taste a lot better than Starbucks!
If your partner wants to up their coffee game, consider a Chemex, AeroPress, or French Press and a gooseneck kettle. Or to really take it up a notch, get them the tools to roast their own coffee beans at home, giving your partner the ultimate control over their coffee experience.
For the partner that always works out
Check on your partners who spend a lot of time at the gym: last year was rough for them! If your bae spends a ton of time at the gym, don’t worry, there are plenty of Valentine’s Day gifts for them!
A new water bottle is something most of us could use, let’s be honest. This Naglene holds a ton of liquid and comes in a variety of colors. This YETI is great for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, so they can use it during the day at the office and at night in the gym.
A fitness watch is a pricey investment, but most people who are super active would love to have a quality one on their wrist. A Fitbit is a popular choice, but if you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash, Amazon has a cheaper option in their own brand for just $40.
If your bae is always sore, a foam roller is a great gift that really does keep on giving. A massage gun is really excellent for those painful, tight areas that are hard to rub on your own, and they’re not as expensive as they used to be.
A personal blender is also a great gift that honestly, you both can use. Blending up your pre or post workout supplements, or putting together a nice protein shake mid-day, is a lot easier with something like this!