Are you stumped as to what to get your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Get creative! You may be tempted to go the familiar candy/flower route, and you wouldn’t be alone. According to the National Retail Federation, among those who celebrate Valentine’s Day, half buy candy and 36% buy flowers—and with $17.6 billion spent on the lovers’ holiday last year, that’s a lot of sugar and petals.
Even so, flowers and chocolates are perishable, temporary, and let’s face it, a bit cliché. So if you’re looking for something unique and personal to give this year, you’re in the right spot. Adding something unexpected will show your valentine how much you care. Here are several ideas for customized and handmade Valentine’s Day gifts that go beyond the typical card/candy/flower trifecta.
A First Year Together Book
Recreate the first year you dated or were married with a scrapbook of memorabilia from that special time. Gather items like movie or concert tickets from the shows you first saw together, notes or emails sent during that time and any other items that remind you of your first year together. Arrange these pieces in a journal or photo album and add quotes you both like, special song lyrics from that first year and memories of the milestones you reached together. Include photos and you’ve got a beautiful trip down memory lane.
Another idea is to put together a Story of Us scrapbook that includes memories from your life together, starting when you met and continuing through today. Divide the book into the different phases of your relationship (first date, engagement, wedding, birth of children, etc.) and decorate the pages with embellishments from a local craft store. Include the top headlines, songs and movies from each year you’ve been together to give the book added depth and meaning, and you have a powerful and special testimony to your enduring love.
Rather than give the same old dozen red roses, choose some Valentine’s Day flowers that have meaning for both of you. Consider creating a bouquet based on the flowers you used in your wedding, the state flower from where you met or blooms from her favorite country—or, try selecting an arrangement composed entirely flowers that come in her favorite shade. If you want to give flowers that last, choose a silk flower arrangement that lasts year round. Putting some extra thought into the flowers shows you went beyond just picking up a bouquet at your local grocery store.
The Reasons Why I Love You List
Surely you remember why you fell in love. What drew you to your special guy or gal? What still makes your heart go pitter-patter? Does he make you coffee every morning? Does she cook your favorite dinner on your birthday? Putting these special reasons on paper reminds you both why you’re lucky to have each other. Write your reasons down and give one to your beloved every day in February, or write as many you can think of on one long list and give it to your partner on Valentine’s Day. One more idea: Start a Reasons I Love You journal this year, and write in it every Valentine’s Day. Just imagine paging through that journal on your 25th wedding anniversary!
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Customized Charm Necklace
Buy a charm necklace with charms that mean something special to your partner. If she likes tennis, add a silver or gold tennis racket to the pendant; if cooking is her thing, find a spatula charm to string on the necklace. Carefully chosen charms that reflect your special person’s interests and personality demonstrate effort into creating a heartfelt gift. Many stores also sell empty charm lockets that you can fill with special trinkets and then string on a chain.
The designers at Etsy make personalized jewelry that’s both meaningful and beautiful. This sterling silver infinity bracelet can be customized to include your initials as a symbol of your forever love.
You don’t need to be a poet to charm the socks off your loved one with this gift. Craft some from-the-heart lines about your valentine and hire a calligrapher (or someone with good penmanship) to write the words on pretty paper. Then choose a colored mat for the background, place the poem in a vintage frame, and tie it up in a bow.
A Special Print
This option doesn’t need to be expensive; simply find a print that represents your bond and wrap it up. Some Valentine’s Day cards are beautifully designed and look lovely immortalized in frames. Many affordable and original prints are also available from artists who sell online.
A Mix CD
Mix tapes never go out of style, even if the songs are burned to CDs these days. Choose songs that remind you of your lover or were popular at different points during your relationship, then burn them on a CD. Create a customized cover with special software, add a photo of the two of you and watch your soul mate swoon.
Sure, flowers and chocolate will never go out of style for Valentine’s Day. But personal gifts from the heart? Those are forever.