Skip the Clichés This V-Day and Reach for These Gifts Instead
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Gift giving on Valentine’s Day is a lot like walking along a tightrope on a windy day. You have to strike just the right balance between the relationship stage and your giftee’s personal interests. If you just started seeing someone, you don’t want to scare them away with a grand statement-making gift, and if you’ve been in a relationship for awhile, you want to give them something meaningful, without blowing your budget.
While you might think the solution to your gifting woes is to stick with the standard clichés, you would be wrong, my friend. Jewelry and chocolate are not entirely off the table, but if you want your present to have a lasting impact, you’ll need to add a thoughtful touch.
To assist you in your V-Day gifting quest, we checked in with top NYC matchmaker Michelle Frankel. As the owner and founder of NYCityMatchmaking.com and NewJerseyMatchmaking.com, she has become an expert in romantic gift giving and navigating Valentine’s Day.
Here are her tips about the cliché Valentine’s Day gifts to avoid and what you should be picking up instead.
Don’t: Give your Valentine flowers that are meant for hospital patients.
If you are going to go the flower route with your gal, steer clear of carnations or anything that sends “get well soon” vibes. “Nothing says I am not sure how I feel about you more than a basket of carnations,” Frankel says.
Do: Stick to red roses or go for an on-trend plant.
“Getting red roses from a man really makes me feel special, but if this isn’t what your partner (or you) has in mind, there are some fun alternatives,” Frankel adds. “Succulents are very trendy, last a long time, and don’t require much water. And I would personally be really excited to get this candy bouquet.”
Don’t: Gift her themed jewelry.
While that jewelry store ad on Instagram might say that heart-shaped jewelry is just what she wants this V-Day, chances are she doesn’t. Valentine’s Day-themed jewelry items are often kitschy, unattractive, and overpriced. Instead, select something that she can wear all year and save the hearts for your card.
Frankel adds that non-proposal rings should be avoided entirely. “Opening a ring box from your boyfriend only to find anything other than an engagement ring could lead to hurt feelings,” she says.
Do: Stay in your budget and look at pieces that suit her in terms of style and shade.
Since jewelry can be an expensive gifting choice, make sure you pick out something you know she’ll actually wear. Look at her current jewelry collection and take note of the types of metal she tends to wear: gold, silver, rose gold? Her personal style: minimalist or flashy? And any holes in her collection.
Personal touches are also a great way to add sentimental value to your jewelry gift. “I love the idea of giving something personalized,” says Frankel. “Monica Vinader has some amazing options and the styles are really trendy right now.”
Don’t: Pick up a generic drug store chocolate box.
First things first: Don’t get chocolates or sweets at all if she’s not a fan. Sure, most people like chocolate, but she might not be one of them. Second: Don’t show up with a generic box from CVS or Target. “You can try the candy bouquet above or pick out her favorite treat,” Frankel says.
Do: Gift high-quality chocolates and candies or fresh-baked treats.
If you know your S.O. is a chocolate fan, then you can’t go wrong with a cocoa-centric present. “There are a lot of really cute and trendy options out there other than the usual Whitman’s Sampler. I personally love these hand-painted chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections right now,” adds Frankel.
Also, try to think outside the box. Does she love the brownies at the bakery around the corner? Surprise her with a treat and her go-to coffee order.
4. Picture Frame
Don’t: Grab a generic frame and call it a day.
Giving an empty picture frame that she can add a photo to on her own time feels lazy and unsentimental. Also, make sure to remove the sticker from the front of the frame and avoid unflattering photos.
Do: Go through your photos and find a unique way to display your special moments together.
“Take the time to find a picture that reminds you of a special time you spent together,” Frankel advises. “There are a lot of creative ways to display photos these days. One of my favorite ideas is this photo reel. Or if you are into ‘Instagrammable moments,’ photobooks are a fun way to compile your social media pics.”
Don’t: Get risque lingerie unless you’re 100 percent sure of it.
Lingerie is tricky. If you’ve been together for years and you’ve bought her lingerie in the past, then this isn’t an issue. But if it’s a new relationship or you’ve never bought her lingerie, it might be best to go with something else.
“I think traditional lingerie is a risky route to go for Valentine’s Day,” Frankel says. “You don’t want to get her something that is too small, uncomfortable, or makes her feel embarrassed.”
Do: Snag come cute PJs.
Whether the gift is strictly cozy or has some sex appeal, robes, nightgowns, and pajama sets are all safe gifting territory for Valentine’s Day.
“I really the idea of his and her matching PJs,” Frankel points out. “Or if you’re feeling daring, how about couples underwear?”
6. Fancy Dinner
Don’t: Book fancy dinner reservations for the 14th.
“I don’t think reserving a table at an elegant restaurant for one of the busiest nights of the year is the best plan for a successful Valentine’s evening. I feel like that this is equivalent of being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve,” shares Frankel. “If you really want to try that new trendy or romantic restaurant, why not get her a gift certificate for a night when things won’t be quite so crowded?”
Do: Plan a romantic meal or cooking experience.
Get creative and plan a romantic evening away from the rush of the restaurants. “Everyone loves a romantic dinner, But there are a lot of ways to have fun with this idea,” Frankel points out. “You can plan a night in to cook together, or you could plan for someone to come in and cook a meal for you at home. Another idea is to take a cooking class together and learn to make something you both love.”
Making plans and buying gifts for Valentine’s Day might be daunting, but if you keep these do’s and don’ts in mind you’re sure to have success!
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