Romance can be difficult after months of living during tense times, whether you’ve been sharing living space or forced to express your affection via Zoom. It’s a problem many of us are facing. But a simple Valentine’s Day gift, no matter how impractical or stereotypical, can make your partner feel special and loved.
We asked the staff of The Verge to come up with some ideas of what they would consider the ideal Valentine’s Day gift. Whether you’re into cooking together, watching movies together, or simply being together, you should find something here that can help you express the simple phrase “I love you.”
For the partner who wants to look and feel their best
At a time when tension is on the rise and many of us could use a relaxing massage, a lot of massage places have either closed down or simply don’t feel safe right now. Here’s an alternative: a portable muscle treatment massage gun that will let you give your partner a great massage — and your hands won’t get as tired.
If your partner is complaining that you snore at night, don’t deny it — just gift them something that’s going to help to keep the peace at night. This white noise machine from LectroFan is packed with many non-looping sounds, and switching it on at night should help sleep come faster.
Between the winter season, the handwashing, and the sanitizer, our hands are being badly dried out. This moisturizing hand cream is a wonderful fix for cracked, uncomfortable skin, so that that you and your partner can enjoy soft, cared-for hands.
No, you can’t get the same mittens that Bernie Sanders wore to the inauguration — they were made for him by a teacher who is not producing them commercially — but that doesn’t mean a similar pair of nice, warm, hand-knit mittens wouldn’t be a welcome gift for you or your partner. And these let you slip off the tops so that you can text your partner and let them know that you’re on your way.
Nice underwear is always a good gift for Valentine’s Day, and TomboyX has a full range of varied and great-looking gender-neutral underwear. There are also tees, PJs, and other apparel from this sustainable and inclusive brand. You can get gift certificates for $25, $50, or $100.
For the couple that likes to cook and eat together
Valentine’s Day pairs well with a custom whiskey cocktail kit. Together, couples can learn how to make Old Fashioneds, Mint Juleps, and Whiskey Sours. But the best part is enjoying the drinks after!
If you and your partner love sci-fi, pasta, or both, then you’re going to really savor the Pasta Monster. These serving spoons peer at you from your bowl of spaghetti, wondering if you’ll take them to your leader.
This babka is so, so good. Like, I-could-eat-the-whole-thing-in-one-sitting good. It’s a fun alternative to the regular box of chocolates, and Breads Bakery ships nationwide, so anyone can enjoy these tasty treats. Buy a three-pack for $50 or check out the recipe and bake your own.
A fancy dinner out might not be in the cards this year, but there’s nothing stopping you from learning how to cook a dinner together! Sur La Table offers a wide array of online interactive cooking classes led by real chefs.
Claire Saffitz’s dessert book is fun to read, beautiful to page through, and makes a wonderful gift for a partner who’s always wanted to learn to bake. And baking delicious cakes, cookies, and pies together is a cute activity.
Chocolate is always a good Valentine’s Day gift, and this chocolate is delicious! Theo has been a favorite of ours for some time. There are tons of flavors, and it’s not too expensive. Each bar can be broken into eight different squares, so you and your partner can each have four — a great way to share.
Prices start at $3 or $4 for a single bar, and you can get a 6-pack for $24.
For the partner who gets excited about books, movies, or games
If your partner loves movies — and posters — this is a great gift. The poster features 100 of “the best movies of all time,” and each time you watch a movie, you scratch it off the poster to an icon associated with that film. It’s a nice way to keep track of movie nights.
This fun subscription box is sent every month with case files, autopsy reports, and other clues to help you and your partner solve a murder mystery. It makes for a unique date night, especially for couples who are fans of true crime. Prices start at $30 a month, but you can save some money by getting a 6- or 12-month prepaid membership.
You know the scenes in all of those old movies where couples are seated at the breakfast table, drinking their coffee, and occasionally peering meaningfully at each other over their newspapers? Don’t you want that, too? An actual newspaper that arrives at your house daily? And you get to support local journalism.
A subscription to your local newspaper
To make movie night extra special for Valentine’s Day, build a blanket fort, hang up some romantic string lights or light some candles, and watch a blockbuster movie or series on HBO Max. Better yet, make this a regular date! It costs $15 a month, but through March 1st, 2021, you can save 20 percent on a prepaid six-month subscription.
HBO Max is home to Game of Thrones and its spinoff, House of the Dragon, along with shows and movies like The Batman, Succession, Harley Quinn, and more. The platform offers both an ad-supported and ad-free plan, which run $9.99 and $14.99, respectively. Unlike the ad-supported plans, however, the ad-free tier also lets you download content and stream in 4K UHD.
When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Peri is a romantic comedy that follows Katie and Cassidy’s connection as one questions her sexuality and other questions what she truly wants. It’s rife with love, sex, and queer subculture, making it a wonderful gift for a partner who loves to read.
Scrabble can be played either as a fast competitive game or as a slow, friendly contest. If you and your partner are both Scrabble fans, this on-the-wall message-board edition is a cute way to play together, either through the long weeks of lockdown or as a fun evening activity.
For the partner who loves retro creativity
Give your significant other a tool for creating art — a gift that keeps on giving. Unlike the camera in your phone, each photograph you take with this instant film camera takes consideration and thought, and the results can be wonderful. It’s exciting to see what is worth preserving on a physical copy.
Go old school and make some mixtapes for your sweetie — then play them together. For added effect: stand outside their window with the cassette player raised above your head. This is not only a cassette recorder / player, but it includes an AM / FM radio and a Bluetooth receiver so you can stream your digital music.
When you’re looking for cozy couple romance
Cozy up together with a luxurious cashmere blanket for your next binge session of your favorite show. This 40 x 60-inch 100 percent cashmere throw will make togetherness a real pleasure.
Immortalize your love for your partner with a photo and romantic song that can be displayed all year long! This custom plaque displays a photo of you and your partner above an image of your favorite Spotify tune, including a scan code that you can use to play “your” song anytime you want.
There’s never a bad time for fresh plants or flowers, and this monthly flower subscription will keep them coming all year long. What could be more romantic than that? Choose from Classical ($55 per delivery), Seasonal ($75 per delivery), or Luxe ($105 per delivery); this last option offers a “curated vase with each delivery.”
There may be nothing lovelier or more relaxing than spending a lazy afternoon outside in a hammock together with your partner, and this portable hammock can be used either in your backyard or in your neighborhood park.
Thanks to the contributors:
Mitchell Clark, Cameron Faulkner, Chaim Gartenberg, Kaitlin Hatton, Amelia Holowaty Krales, Barbara Krasnoff, Taylor Lyles, Andrew Marino, Jay Peters, Thomas Ricker, and Sarah Smithers