Well, well, well, it’s the first “holiday” of the year: Valentine’s Day. Truth be told, I don’t usually care about Valentine’s Day. It’s more of hopeless romantic (John) who really loves Valentine’s Day, and over the years has managed to get me more and more into it. This year I am on a sweets kick so I’m excited to eat chocolate and doughnuts and candy to celebrate love or whatever! And since I’m in that mood, I decided to put together a Valentine’s Day gift guide, filled with perfect balance of romantic and fun gifts. There are ideas for your significant other, nice things to treat yo self with, cute items for the kids, and some sweet stuff for your galentines. And although there aren’t roses and boxes of chocolates here, there’s something better: BACON!
Most of these gifts are from smaller businesses, so keep in mind you’ll want to get shopping early since they can take longer to ship. Please be patient with them—especially for handmade goods—and trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.
There are a few paths when it comes to gift-giving for guys. The first is going straight for the brain. If your man is anything like John (aka he loves math and puzzles), a personalized game of Rummikub ($94.40 on Etsy) will blow his mind. If you want to buy something drink-related that isn’t a bottle of alcohol, try these fun bulldog-shaped ice cubes ($19.99 at Williams-Sonoma). At least the large cubes will melt slowly so he won’t have to say goodbye to that pup too soon. Pair that glass of whiskey with a beautifully marbled, super beef-y dry-aged ribeye steak ($59 for 28 oz. at Flannery Beef), grilled to perfection with your handy-dandy Cravings BBQ grill kit ($39.99 at Target) and voila! Valentine’s Day dinner is served. All he needs is a fun floral shirt ($78 at Bonobos), one of John’s go-to patterns, or a comfy-yet-stylish sweatshirt ($88 at Entireworld) to wear for date night. And if you’re in a pampering mood that is mutually beneficial, buy Herbivore Botanicals’ hydrating beard oil ($20) or an, ahem, downtown grooming kit ($89.99 at Manscaped).
Not every girl wants flowers, chocolates, and roses. Really, most women want something a little more creative, like a DIY bacon kit ($29.95 at The Original Kits Company). You can’t go wrong with bacon, and this project can be delicious to do together. Another fun idea is gifting my current obsession—face crystals ($6.47 at Lunatics) that I have been wearing nonstop instead of makeup for a little glitz and glamour. You can even create a whole spa experience at home, romancing by the dim ambient light of a croissant lamp ($88 at Uncommon Goods) that is MADE OF A REAL CROISSANT. Light one of my favorite scents, Tyler Candle Company’s Blueberry Blitz ($21 for 22 oz. at Tyler Candle Store) to set the mood, and get some Hanahana Beauty shea butter body lotion ($28) ready. (You’re also supporting the Katariga Women’s Shea Cooperative in Ghana directly with your purchase.) For anytime pampering, I’m also a big fan of Herban Essentials’ orange cleansing towels ($16 at Amazon) and non-alcoholic drinks that help you chill the eff out, like Apothékary’s ritual adaptogen set ($59 for a set of three).
I love teaching Toons and Miles about food, but sometimes at the dinner table they just want to do something fun. I’m going to try putting the iPad away and giving them an activity like these reusable and washable Norman & Jules NYC coloring placemats ($24). You can also teach your kids how to “bake” with this cupcake toy set ($19.99 at Target), or use the Dough Project’s plant-based dough kits ($19.99) to make whatever shapes they want—food or not. And can we talk about these Twee macaron-shaped sidewalk chalks ($45 for 12)?! It will be hard to not want to take a bite. If you want to keep things simple, nothing is cuter than dressing your kids in these festive Hanna Anderson heart shaped pajamas ($46) and giving them a Squishable ramen-shaped plushie ($19.99) to snuggle with.
If you’re spending Valentines with your platonic lifemates, whether in real life or over Zoom, you should do a fun Galentine’s Day activity. We all could use a little fortune telling these days, so light a fun and obscure Italian meats candle ($26 at East Fork Pottery) to really set the mood (it doesn’t actually smell like meat!), put on a Golde greens face mask ($34), and bringing the grown-up Ouija experience home with these Legendary Ladies tarot cards that represent amazing women in history ($14.49 at Amazon). For something that your friends can wear, gift a comfy Katie Kimmel deviled egg tee ($25) and/or joggers covered with psychedelic rainbow eggs ($82 at Nooworks). You can also learn basic embroidery together with a kit ($39.99 on Etsy) or iron on a surprisingly sexy croissant ($9.20 on Etsy) onto a jean jacket. No matter who you spend your Valentine’s Day with, I hope you have fun!
Relationships are cool, but have you ever showered yourself in endless gifts that you definitely needed? Here’s one that will truly change your life: a bidet attachment for your toilet ($89 at Tushy). Yes, we’re talking about bidets here; I use a Toto at home, but this is a nice budget-friendly one, and you’ll never be able to go back to regular toilet paper again after you use it. Some more things that’ll make you feel great: Province Apothecary massage oil ($32) to give your skin a glow-up and tiny food earrings to add flair to any outfit. Just look at these Pad Thai hoops ($75 at C’mere Nola) that make me want to make mom’s recipe RIGHT NOW! And if you’re anything like me, you’ll end your night pretending you’re at a spa with your Vitruvi stone diffuser ($119) blowing essential oils, a steaming mug of Chai Box cardamom rose tea ($15) in hand, and wrapped in a snuggly persimmon blanket ($160 at Superstitchous) on the couch. And as you wind down at the end of the night, this chic charging tray ($122.50 at Courant) will help you remember to charge your phone.