Ah, Valentine’s Day. Regardless of whether you love it or you hate it, somehow, every year, you still find yourself gifting things to people, and more often than not, you know deep down the gifts aren’t stellar. It isn’t your fault! Your bank account still has Christmas hangover and you’ve had a million things on your plate with the start of the new year. Suddenly it’s February 11 and you’re running to Target thinking you can totally find cute stuff for everyone in one go, and it’ll be no biggie. But, as painful as it may be to say, just because you think that a box of Power Rangers valentines will be super funny and ironic doesn’t mean everyone on your list will, and that’s what counts. Gift giving is always about the person receiving the gift, never the gift giver. So let’s go through some options you have this year to better convey your affection to the people you love, because GIRL, you are better than clichés. Below is a list of seven non-terrible ideas for gift giving this Valentine’s Day.
If it sounds too simple, that’s because it is. If you’re a modern girl on the go, there is probably at least one person you think of every week that you realize it’s been too long since you’ve talked to/seen/spent quality time with, and get down on yourself for it. Whoever it is you know you need to catch up with, carve out time in your schedule to do an activity that is special to the two of you. Grabbing drinks at your favorite bar, marathoning a show you watched together when it first came out, or even taking a fitness class with someone you can have a standing date. On their death bed, your best friend isn’t going to be super grateful you got them a trendy hat one year. They’re going to be grateful you were there for them.
Building on number one, vow to try something new with a friend or significant other this year, and then plan an opportunity for you to do so. Take them to a new restaurant you’ve been hearing about forever, book an afternoon at an Escape Room, or even take a whiskey tasting class, just make sure it’s something you’re both sure to love or, if not, hate so much the memories will keep you laughing together for decades to come.
We live in an era of glorious convenience, and just about anything you love can be shipped to your door or streamed in your home and, better than that, you can have it on a regular basis. With subscriptions for everything from craft beers to craft kits, there’s an option out there for every loved one in your life. These are especially great for long distance friends and family who you might be unable to treat in person, and, as a bonus, they’ll be reminded of your love every time they get a new package.
A Personalized DIY
DIY projects can and do have a place in your gifting repertoire, but only if it’s something you know in advance the person will specifically like. Nothing says “I couldn’t think of anything better to do” than a bulk DIY project, and you’re going to drive yourself insane trying to do handmade cards for the 15 people on your list. In the post-Pinterest era there are a lot of amazing tutorials out there, for everything from adorable felt patches to candy boxes that are snazzy enough they allow you to have your cliché cake and eat it too.
We’re not talking about a $10 gift card to a big box store because once again, this is about personalization. As any Millennial can tell you, coming of age following the Great Recession has delayed the promise of financial stability or professional security by about a decade. Most of us are the living definition of hustle, and as such the little luxuries often fall by the way side. Whether it’s renewing a friend’s gym membership or booking a manicure for your sister at her favorite salon, help your girlfriends help themselves to some self care.
Ah, the aforementioned luxuries. This will mean something different to every person on your list, and that’s why it’s your job to act as their Donna and Tom. Have a friend that loves writing letters and cards? Get her some personalized stationary. Your coworker’s favorite cat mug broke recently? Buy them a new one. Your significant other’s has a favorite brand of gin? Track it down and stock up on it for them. If it’s something simple and beloved by them, it should be at the top of your list.
Bake them a Treat
The one exception to the no bulk gifts rule is food, because there is no way on earth you have the time or energy to make ten different types of confectionary delights for your loved ones and also, everyone loves cupcakes. Have a recipe you nail every time? Share it with your friends and family. If it’s a fantastic dish, invite them over for dinner. Killer Chex Mix that you normally save for holiday parties? Bag it up and give it to your coworkers (always list ingredients in case there are people with allergies). If you want to go all-out, Google is a wealth of Valentines-themed recipes that will make everyone on your list go “Aw!” instead of “ugh”.
About The Author
As a lifelong political nerd, scoring a job as a member of the Democratic Communications team for the Michigan House of Representatives was an absolute dream. I am fascinated by the intersection of politics and culture in the 21st century, and having had the opportunity to travel extensively prior to starting my work here, I take special interest in what it means to be a woman, a citizen, and a millennial in various cultures around the world. I am genuinely interested in just about everything, and perhaps more importantly, interested in writing about it.