So, Valentine’s Day is 2 days away. Those who are part of a steady relationship have at least been dwelling on what to do for the holiday for a little while now, but what if you’re one of the people who thought you’d be spending the holiday alone and then, miraculously, you met someone, hit it off, and now you suddenly have a last-minute Valentine?
Shopping for V-day gifts can always be hard, but when it’s a brand new situation, it’s even harder. You need something fun, simple, and cute, but nothing too much – or too little. You need to show you care and are thinking of that special someone, but don’t want to make them think things are moving too fast.
To help you out, here are some suggestions of gifts to give, and – as a bonus – gifts to avoid.
Gifts to Give
Candy– This one’s an oldie, but a goodie. Who doesn’t love some kind of candy? Plus, it’s practical, because it’s edible. You could go the traditional route and just get a Whitman’s Sampler, but I’d recommend an assorted bag of loose candy (Dylan’s is a good place to look, and they even have some pre-packaged assortments, though sometimes local places are just as good and easier on the wallet). It’s a lot more personal than just picking a box up off the shelf, and way more fun to purchase anyway. Not to mention it’s (hopefully) all candy they like, which means less waste (how many times have you thrown away all those coconut candies?) and a cute way to show how thoughtful you are.
Cookies– Your significant other not a fan of candy? Or maybe you just wanted to do something a little different? Maybe cookies are a better route. If you like to bake, this could even be something for you guys to do together. Or, if you’re like me and don’t feel like poisoning them just yet, check the baked good sections at supermarkets – they’re made fresh daily, and most stores have desserts themed to the holidays.
Scarf– If you live up north, this is a great gift; it’s practical, simple, and good middle-ground. It’s not too much, but definitely nicer than a pair of socks. Bonus points if you can knit do this by hand.
Hobby Supplies– If you know your Valentine’s hobbies, this is a great way to show them you care. My ex and I started dating right before V-day and he gave me a journal that year since he knew that I loved to write. Pick a gift that specifically relates to his/her favorite thing to do – whether it be craft supplies (like yarn so s/he can knit you that scarf), sheet music, a journal, a movie poster or DVD. Just make it something that shows you put thought into finding a gift special for them.
Book– Okay, before you ignore this option, hear me out. Sometimes this is one of the best things you can get a person; it’s great because there are so many types of books so you can pick one specifically with your significant other in mind (see hobbies above). For example, if you’re dating someone who’s a bit of a geek, the XKCD book is a great gift, plus some of the proceeds go to Room to Read, which is currently raising funds to build a school in Laos.
Board Game– Not only is this fun, but it’s something you can play together, and it’s something s/he can use over and over, especially in a dorm. Or at Denny’s, if you’re my friends.
Gag Gift– Already have a few inside jokes? Gag gifts are always great, especially if you and your date aren’t fans of big romantic gestures or commercialism. Picking something relating to a joke you both share is a great way to celebrate the holiday without feeling too intense- and who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh?
Gifts NOT to Give
– Unless you two have been really good friends, and you know sizes, do not buy clothing, especially anything that borders on intimate, like PJ’s, boxers, etc.
– Extra emphasis on not buying lingerie, for either party. If it’s a new situation, that’s just a little intense/awkward.
– Jewelry is great, but it’s really, really hard to know what the other person likes until you get to know him/her well. Or if s/he even wears anything beyond the same daily piece(s). Save your money for a later date of greater significance.
– Sex toys, handcuffs, lube, etc.– Yes, I know I said gag gifts are good, but these are a little much. Like lingerie, even if you both appreciate this sort of thing, if you’ve just started dating and it’s your first V-day, this might send the wrong message, and any awkwardness depletes the fun of these.
Basically, if you and your date are just starting out, try for something simple, fun, and personal, but nothing too over-the-top. The day should be about having fun with each other and getting to know each other better, not trying to buy each others’ love.