How to pick the perfect Valentine’s gift

Shopping for Valentine’s Day can be a minefield. How do you spoil your beau without going over the top? Are flowers and chocolates too cliched? Have you even been dating long enough to buy each other a gift?

So to take the stress out of Valentine’s Day, we’ve spoken to dating coaches Anna Morgenstern and Donna Barnes to get their advice on the best gifts to treat your partner to this February 14.

From the girl you’ve been on a few dates with and the brand new couple to the decades-long relationship and even your ‘Galentine’, no matter what relationship stage you’re at we’ve found the gifts that are sure to hit the sweet spot.

The ‘are we even dating yet?’ guy/girl 

Both Anna and Donna agree that Valentine’s Day can be complicated if your relationship isn’t yet defined and you haven’t decided that you’re exclusive. 

‘If the guy wants to take the relationship to the next level and become exclusive, Valentine’s Day is a good time to take her to a romantic dinner and let your feelings be known,’ Anna suggests.

Donna also believes that Valentine’s Day can be a good opportunity to show someone you’re into them if you want to move the relationship forward. ‘Nothing over the top,’ she cautions. ‘Candy or hand delivered flowers are good with a note asking: Will you be my Valentine?’ 

When it comes to sweets and candy, Dylan’s Candy Store is the way to go. The classic candy box is always a good choice, but the store has a range of other options to satisfy any sweet tooth, including chocolate covered strawberries, a heart swirly pop and a giant red Hershey’s Kiss. 

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You can’t go wrong with roses on Valentine’s Day and Le Bouqs florist has a range of different options to impress your beau, including these soft pink stems. 

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A slightly more sophisticated take on the classic box of chocolates, Sugarfina’s bourbon collection boxes make great gifts for men on Valentin’es Day (or anyone who enjoys a splash of alcohol with their chocolate).

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The brand new relationship

‘A new relationship is tricky because you don’t want to jump the gun and get your partner a nice gift if they didn’t get you anything,’ Anna says.’ You could end up in an unexpected fight!’ 

‘Do something small for Valentine’s Day,’ she advises. ‘Go out to a nice dinner, let the guy pay and the girl can treat to dessert and drinks after. If it’s been a few months and you’re feeling like getting your partner a gift, go small. 

‘Maybe a couple’s massage or a fun bath house like Aire Ancient Baths. An experience date where you two can do something fun together and bond is a low pressure gift that will definitely be appreciated by your partner.’

Donna, who is author of the dating book Giving Up Junk Food Relationships, says that it is important not to let Valentine’s Day put pressure on you to rush the relationship. 

‘If there’s a concert or a show you’d like to see either of you could initiate that,’ she suggests. ‘Or if you cook and haven’t made a meal for the other yet, now is the perfect time. The other can bring wine and dessert and help in the kitchen to make it fun.’ 

Aire Ancient Baths have locations in both Chicago and New York, and offer a range of experiences for couples, including the Sweetheart Ritual Experience for two, the Red Wine Soak, and the Himalayan Salt Experience. 

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If you want to avoid the crowds, a romantic night in can be a good choice on Valentine’s Day. Pick a recipe that allows you to share the cooking and help each other out in the kitchen. 

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Give your Valentine’s dinner a romantic feel with fun touches like this heart-shaped donut mould pan to create cute and quirky desserts. 

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Add a little kick to your February 14 by gifting your new beau a nice bottle, which you can enjoy during your night in. ReserveBar offers custom engraving on a number of their spirits, which is the perfect romantic touch to your Valentine’s gift. 

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An original take on the classic bunch of roses, these scented soap petals make a cute and practical gift that is thoughtful but not over the top for your first Valentine’s Day together. 

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If you are going to buy a gift for a new partner, keep it small and lighthearted. Society6 offers a range of fun gift ideas including tote bags, phones cases, yoga mats and throw pillows, which will give your present that personal touch. 

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The one-year relationship 

‘After a year of dating, it’s time to turn the romance up for Valentine’s Day,’ says Anna. ‘Getting her jewelry is definitely the way to go. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive but something nice that she will like. Feel free to ask her friend for a second opinion!’ 

She adds: ‘Men don’t necessarily need gifts on Valentine’s Day but it’s a good opportunity to tweak his wardrobe a bit by getting him a shirt or sweater that you really like.’

Donna agrees that jewelry is a good choice for women at this stage of the relationship, and she suggests a monogrammed keychain or something similar for a man. 

Alternatively, Donna says that Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to share a romantic experience together. ‘Take a weekend trip, go back to the restaurant or spot where you first met, or pick a new restaurant (make reservations well in advance),’ she suggests. ‘The best gifts are thoughtful ones.’

Etsy is always a good place to look for affordable and individual jewelry pieces like these tassel earrings. If you’re in doubt of her taste, check with her friends for recommendations. 

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When in doubt, a candle is a great gifting option. Diptyque offers some the best, including this Damascena candle from the Roses Collection. 

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Buying perfume for your girlfriend can be tricky if you don’t know her usual scent, but it’s hard to go wrong with Chanel. 

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If you feel that your partner’s wardrobe could do with a revamp, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity. Spoil him with a new shirt or sweater like this super-soft hoodie from J.Crew. 

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Simple yet stylish, you can’t go too wrong with a backpack like this one from Everlane for a practical and affordable gift. 

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If you’re still going strong after a year, a monogrammed keychain can be a great choice for a Valentine’s gift for a guy. Have it engraved with both of your initials or a date that is meaningful to you two as a couple. There are a ton of affordable options online, including this simple keychain from Amazon. 

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The long-term love 

Anna says that after spending a few years together Valentine’s Day is a great way to remind your partner that you really appreciate them. 

‘Make sure to have a reservation at her favorite restaurant and have flowers sent to her office,’ she suggests. ‘Jewelry is always nice and maybe it’s time to get her those diamond earrings she has always wanted.’ 

‘Same is true for your man,’ Anna adds. ‘If he has been eyeing a new golf club, surprise him with it on Valentine’s Day. Experiences are always a good choice as well, especially if there is a Broadway show your partner has been dying to see.’ 

Romance and diamonds go hand in hand, so if you’re looking for a way to spoil her this Valentine’s Day, splash out on some jewels. 

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Buying lingerie for your significant other can be a minefield so play it safe with these cute and sexy pajama set from Eberjey. 

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Cloud 9 offers a range of experiences across the country that are perfect for a Valentine’s Day out, including sailing trips, a kayak cruise and a date night pottery class. 

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Valentine’s Day is a chance to be a little indulgent and treat your loved one to something they might not normally buy themselves. So bring a touch of luxury to his wardrobe but gifting accessories like ties, belts and wallets. 

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If you know your partner has had their eye on something for a while, then Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to surprise them. 

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This RetroDuo video game system will allow your beau to play all their old Nintendo favorites. There are two controllers included so you play together for a nostalgic night in, 

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The decades-long relationship 

‘After decades together, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to reconnect with your partner,’ says Anna. ‘Bring flowers home for her and surprise her by taking her out or cooking a delicious. 

‘Depending where you are financially, surprise each other with gifts that you don’t necessarily need but want. Maybe get her a nice dress she can wear to dinner or get him some fun gadgets.’

Donna adds that it is easy to fall into a routine when you’re in a long-term relationship, so Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to ‘freshen’ your relationship. ‘Plan a date night, go out and have fun,’ she says. ‘Go dancing or something you haven’t done in a while.’ 

A bunch of flowers will always go down a treat on Valentine’s Day, but why not be a little more original and surprise her by having a pampering gift set delivered to her door or office? 

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Surprise your beau with a fancy dinner – and then treat her to a new dress to show off on your night out. 

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When you’ve been together for decades, it can be easy to forget about Valentine’s Day altogether, but February 14 is actually the perfect time to ‘freshen up’ your relationship and treat your loved one to something special like this delicate rose gold white beaded bracelet. 

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Valentine’s day at this stage in your relationship is all about treating your loved one to something they don’t necessarily need, but you know they’ll love like these top-of-the-range Bose headphones. 

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If there’s a gadget that you know your partner would love but can’t justify buying themselves, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to splash out and surprise them. 

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Date night often falls by the wayside when you’re in a long-term relationship, so use this Valentine’s Day to remind yourself to take time for your partner. This bucket list kit features a variety of prompts for new date night ideas to give you some inspiration. 

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The secret Valentine 

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. If you want to show your crush that she has a secret admirer, Anna says flowers are the way to go. Alternatively, she suggests: ‘Invite [them] out for drinks with a friend group and later bring up the subject that you might have a little crush on them. See what they say!’

The Galentine 

If you’re not in a relationship, Anna says that Valentine’s Day can be a great time to take your single girlfriends out for a fun night out. ‘Get your girlfriends cute little valentines like you used to get back in elementary school,’ she suggests. 

‘Let them know why you appreciate having them in your life and you’ll get a high from all the feel good moments.’

Donna adds that Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge all your closest friends and tell them what they mean to you. ‘Send a mushy card, yes mail it,’ she says. ‘Get her favorite bottle of wine or chocolates. Get together and have a fun night, especially if you’re both single.’ 

A slightly more imaginative take on traditional Valentine’s Day chocolates, these Oreo covered cookies are sure to be a hit at any girly gathering.

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If you don’t fancy venturing out on Valentine’s Day, gather a few single girlfriends together and make some cocktails at home.

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Beauty products make great Galentine’s gifts, and this set from Sephora is an affordable option that will show your bestie you’re thinking of her this February 14. 

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Take a page out of Parks and Recreation’s Lesley Knope’s book and use Valentine’s Day as a chance to appreciate your best girlfriends.

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Give your Galentine a little taste of luxury this February 14 with a cute girly gift that will encourage her to relax and enjoy the day, whether or not she has a boyfriend.

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So it turns out that the perfect man might be four inches tall and made of milk chocolate – and he makes the ideal Galentine’s gift.

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The ‘hates Valentine day’ Valentine 

‘Valentine’s Day can be a really lonely day for people who aren’t in a relationship,’ says Donna. ‘Most haters just try to ignore it. But if you have a single friend who hates it try doing something nice. Take them to lunch, spending time together is the best gift you can give.’ 

She adds: ‘For the haters that are in a relationship but don’t like the ‘commercially invented’ holiday, kill them with kindness. Treat them to something thoughtful that you know they like. Don’t have any expectations and maybe plan an Un-Valentine’s Day and do something out of the norm.’

Anna says that the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a partner who can’t stand February 14 is with ‘booze and food’. She says: ‘If someone hates Valentine’s Day, just take them out for a fun meal with lots of good drinks. Who hates that?’ 

Rather than bemoaning your singleness on Valentine’s Day, make this an occasion to celebrate it. It you don’t feel like going out, get a few girlfriends around for drinks and a movie. 

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Even if they hate Valentine’s Day, chances are your significant other doesn’t hate food and drink, so mark the day by gifting then a wine or food subscription like this one from Wine Awesomeness. Starting at just $49 for a three-bottle membership (and the first box is just $39), this is a thoughtful gift that steers clear of too much schmultz.

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Express just how unconcerned you are with Valentine’s Day with this quirky ‘meh’ mug from Zazzle. Perfect for your Anti-Valentine. 

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