Valentine’s Day is here, which means it’s time to remind your partner, your parent, or that friend who is always by your side how much you care about them. Thankfully, if you’re not one for elaborate bouquets and gushy, traditional displays of affection, it’s easy enough to just treat the holiday as an excuse to get cool stuff for the people you care about most. After all, who isn’t a fan of a picnic-ready backpack or a warm pair of slippers?
To gather some gift ideas, we’ve cast a wide net, enlisting The Verge’s staff to submit products they are giving this year or ones that they would love to receive. Our gift guide includes suggestions for people who are active and spontaneous, as well as some ideas for those who are homebodies or prefer a gift that’s a little more low-key. While most can be used by one person at a time, some of them can involve everyone in the relationship, rendering them a great excuse to ditch the screen and spend some quality time together.
Note: if you’re worried about receiving a gift in time for the holiday, we’ve also rounded up a number of last-minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas, including a few digital suggestions. Also, whether you’re shopping for yourself or your loved one, here are the best Valentine’s Day sales happening now.
It Takes Two
Real relationships take work, and in It Takes Two, you are a married couple on the verge of divorce, unexpectedly sucked into a fantastical story with whimsical co-op action. While the last-gen title wrestles with some serious themes, the gameplay is nothing but platforming joy with your Player Two.
Hoya Kerrii - Sweetheart Hoya plant
A bouquet is a thoughtful gesture, but flowers tend to die quickly. This heart-shaped hoya sweetheart plant is endearing and can last as long as you don't kill it. And if you do? Well, get a nice pot for it so you're ready for the next one. And the next one. Come on, you're bound to get the hang of it eventually, right?
L.L.Bean Wicked Good Camp Moccasins
Frigid days call for more than a decent pair of wool socks and a warm beverage. L.L.Bean's sheepskin-lined moccasins live up to their name, though, providing something supremely cozy to slip into when the temperatures start to dip. The treaded mocs also come in several cuts and colors, ensuring they won't look out of touch with the rest of your partner's wardrobe.
Even with the recent COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots, not everyone is comfortable visiting a message therapist right now. Thankfully, a portable message gun like the three-speed Theragun Mini is a convenient way to reduce muscle aches and give your partner a soft tissue massage without leaving the safety of your home.
Paddywax Form Candle
A candle might sound cliche, but few are made with the kind of shelf life afforded by Paddywax's Form Candles. Each 12-ounce candle can burn for up to 80 hours, and once your loved one has filled their home with the scent of fig, pomelo, and cedar, they can use ceramic vessel as a planter for their favorite succulent.
Price: ~$26 to $38
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
Ticket to Ride is one of the biggest board game franchises out there, and the Nordic Countries variant is perfect for couples that don't mind a bit of competitive, one-on-one gameplay. All you have to do is complete your train routes along the beautiful snowy landscape and try not to beat them too badly.
Teakhaus Wooden Cutting Board
Cooking together is a timeless romantic tradition, one that is far more enjoyable with the right set of tools. Teakhaus' professional-grade cutting boards come in all shapes and sizes, but each is thick enough to resist warping and offers a durable wooden surface for chopping, carving, and slicing your way through date night.
Build-A-Bear Pokémon or Star Wars
Build-A-Bear Workshops offer incredibly adorable offerings from licensed lines of Pokemon and Star Wars plushies, and their optional clothing and accessories take the cuteness-factor to the next level. Who doesn't love a Snorlax in a sleeping cap and PJs? Someone without a heart, that's who.
Price: ~$29 to $100
Mario Party Superstars
Mario Party is not for the feint of heart. This franchise has tested friendships over the years, but the couple that steals stars from one another and still talks to each other afterward probably stays together. Mario Party Superstars is perfect if you or your partner played the classic titles, as it compiles 100 minigames from the Nintendo 64 and GameCube era for the Nintendo Switch.
Price: ~$50 to $60
Winter Warm Thermal Socks
Everyone wants to keep themselves warm and cozy in the winter. Socks make for a popular gift, but they're a bit played out. Enter the thermal heated socks by Busy Socks. These keep your extremities warm even in the extreme cold (and look rather cute doing it).
Price: ~$13 to $14
Tribit Stormbox Micro
You don't need the boombox from a seminal rom-com like Say Anything to blast love songs like John Cusack. Tribit's pocket-size StormBox Micro is a perfect Bluetooth speaker for on-the-go date nights, with up to eight hours battery life, a surprising amount of sound, and an integrated strap that makes it the perfect fit for the handlebars on your loved one's bike.
Buying roses for Valentine's Day is about as cliche as it gets. But buying a two-pack of vibrant Lego roses you can build together that last forever? That's some next-level relationship-ing right there. Apparently, relationships are built like everything else: brick by brick.
Carhartt 2-in-1 Cooler Backpack
You could easily spend $300 on a backpack that doubles as a 48-hour ice chest, but why spend a fortune when something basic will do just fine? Carhartt's Cooler Backpack sports a classic, no-fuss design, a robust dry compartment, and an insulated bottom that's big enough to hold a picnic for two.
Price: ~$64 to $65
Want to work with your valentine on a fun word game that requires a bit of creative thinking? Codenames Duet is a cooperative spinoff on the ever-popular Codenames. Just get into the mindset of your partner and give the best (or weirdest) one-word clues you know they'll get.
Oura Ring (third-generation)
At first glance, the Oura Ring might seem like the kind of jewelry you might gift your high school sweetheart. Despite the band's simple design, however, the subscription-based smart ring touts a slew of health-tracking features designed for rest and recovery, allowing your signifcant other to keep tabs on their heart rate and sleep habits without reaching for a Fitbit.
If you feel comfortable getting lost in intimate conversation with your partner, Love Linguals will be a fun activity. The pack features a different question on each card, ranging from topics like the past and future, sex and intimacy, and those tailored toward both couples and individuals. Love Lingual also makes card packs meant for friends, meaning you don't have to be in a romantic relationship to join in on the conversation.
Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug
When in doubt, it's hard to go wrong with a practical gift like the minimalist Carter Everywhere Mug. Fellow's stainless-steel container is a bit more elegant than most travel mugs and features double-walled insulation, a wide mouth, and a ceramic coating on the inside that does away with metallic taste coffee snobs know and loathe.
Price: ~$30 to $35
SpaceTime Coordinates art print
Using NASA data, SpaceTime Coordinates creates a picture of what space looked like the moment you met your partner or got married — or during any other signficant event you should choose. The pictures can be delivered as digital files starting at $29 but also as posters, shirts, hoodies, necklaces, home decor, and other products at various price points.
The Hygge Game
If you want a low-stakes group activity for friends and family, The Hygge Game might be what you're looking for. It includes 300 thought-provoking questions that are meant to ask participants to reflect on the good things in life, which, according to the makers of this game, is apparently a loose English translation for the Danish word "hygge." Sounds like a good use of the all-too-rare family and friend time these days.
LeafIdeas Smoker Gun
If you know someone who's a fan of adding a smoky flavor to just about anything (cocktails, fish, cheese, you name it), this Smoker Gun from LeafIdeas will allow them to add it to their food and drinks at home. You burn the included wood chips inside of the infuser, and it propels the smoke into the dome lid to enrich your goodies with that authentic, tough-to-replicate smoke flavor.
2021 Kindle Paperwhite
Why cozy up with just one good book when you can cozy up with thousands? The latest Kindle Paperwhite has USB-C charging and a larger, 6.8-inch display with adjustable color temperature for nighttime reading. It's an excellent gift for when your partner needs some quiet time away from you.
Price: ~$110 to $130
Original Stretch Blanket
The Original Stretch Blanket doesn't use exotic fabrics or the same material as your puffy, but there's something to be said about a blanket that's the same square footage as your garage. The comfy throw measures 10 by 10 feet and comes in a variety prints, too, from camo to the more conventional.
Price: ~$134 to $159
Eater Wine Club subscription
Whether your beloved is an aficionado or merely dabbles in wine, our sister site, Eater, offers a Wine Club subscription that automatically delivers a batch of hand-selected wines to your door every month. Each box contains either two or four bottles, depending on the subscription, and is curated by a pro from an Eater-beloved city.
Price: ~$70 to $660
Dead of Winter
Nothing brings a couple together on a romantic night like slaying zombies together and surviving a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Dead of Winter is an excellent tabletop game that is normally played with up to five players with a potential betrayer, but it makes for a great two-player, co-operative experience.