There is a lot of hype involved with Valentine’s Day, but I guess it’s like that for most holidays. The big problem here is that since it is a lucrative business, many companies are pushing a whole bunch of generic products onto the market and effectively killing romance. There use to be a time when gifts were a very personal affair and actually meant something to both the giver and the receiver, and we should strive to get back to these romantic roots. In that vein I have prepared a list of thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts that will help you show your girl that you care about her.

1. First edition of her favorite book

Leatherbound books

It’s difficult to find a good old-fashioned book these days. Everyone just reads e-books on a tablet or listens to audio books while walking. Even when you get a physical copy it’s usually a pretty flimsy little thing with a colorful cover. You rarely see those thick leather-bound hardcovers with beautiful ornaments, the kind of book that you wouldn’t want to drop on your foot. If your girl has a favorite book that she’s read over and over for a hundred times, you can track down an old edition of it, gift wrap it and give it to her with a single flower and a Valentine’s Day card.

2. Sky-Writing

In the words of the great English poet, Edmund Spenser: “My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, and in the heavens write your glorious name: where, when as Death shall all the world subdue, our love shall live, and later life renew”. Enough said. Follow this romantic gesture with quiet, home-cooked dinner or an evening of live music and dancing.

3. Adopt a pet

I would advise this only to more mature and serious couples, as a pet is a lot of responsibility and there are some people out there who just aren’t capable of taking care of a pet properly. That being said, there are very few things that can compare to a puppy, kitten or little bunny rabbit when it comes to cuteness. This is definitely something you should go for if you really want to melt your woman’s heart.

4. Accessories like handbags and belts

For this gift to work, you will need someone with fashion sense—a sister, cousin or friend—roughly the same age as your partner to serve as an adviser. It’s much easier to shop for such things if you know that there is a particular handbag or other fashion accessory that your girl has been dying to have, but didn’t have any extra money to spend on, so be on the lookout and ask a few questions if you have to. However, when it comes to smaller things belts and scarves, you can’t really mess up as long as you look for something that fits in with your girl’s style.

5. Shoes

Womens shoes

Many women love shoes, and they all have their own preferences when it comes to choosing the right pair. You’ve got style, color, height, and material to worry about, so it’s best to just take your significant other for some light shopping a couple of weeks earlier and have her try out some dresses and shoes “just for the fun of it.” When she sets her eyes on a particular pair, you’ll know what to get. I would recommend shoes as a Valentine’s Day gift only to couples who have been together for a while and are a bit more serious about their relationship.

6. Coupons for a spa center

If you are the type of couple who enjoys spending a lot of time together, but seldom get the chance to do it because of the hectic city life, with demanding jobs and tight schedules, then a relaxing treatment at a spa center is just what the doctor ordered. You and your girl can get the rest that you deserve and recharge your batteries, or you could give organize a date night on Valentine’s Day and give her the coupon so she could go and have some time to herself.

7. Romantic getaway

This is a great gift, especially for couples who have been together for a few years and need to rekindle their passion. You will have to give this gift a couple of days in advance so you can celebrate Valentine’s Day at your chosen destination. Some great options include mountain resorts, going abroad to a warmer climate or even a simple hiking trip and a dinner at cottage.

8. Beauty products

A great way to organize a present for your loved one is to give her some things that she needs and uses all the time. With beauty products, you can be sure that every woman who likes to wear makeup always needs more, so your present will be well-received. Eyeliners, lipsticks, eye shadows, sets of brushes, exfoliating creams and similar products are a pretty safe bet—you can take a look at the products she uses to give you an idea of what to buy and you can’t really go wrong.

9. A dress

Black dresses

Here is yet another gift idea that requires a keen fashion sense and a more detailed knowledge of your partners personal style and preferences. There is, however, a sort of cheat that makes choosing a good dress a little easier. Thanks to Coco Chanel, who first popularized the idea of the little black dress, most women will be perfectly satisfied with a simple, yet elegant black dress. You’ll need to know your girls size and what type of clothes fit her best, so you can use some of her other dresses as a reference point or take her shopping for a few small things beforehand and have her try out some dresses.

10. Sexy lingerie

Some women are very turned on by the fact that they can make their partner go crazy over them and they enjoy showing their erotic side. For all those sexy ladies out there who aren’t afraid to show off their wild side, some sexy lingerie is a very good Valentine’s Day gift. Don’t be afraid to spoil your girl a little during this romantic holiday, make it all about her and give her the present in the evening when you are starting to relax back home with some wine and snacks.

11. Write her a love letter

Sometimes a simple Valentine’s Day card just won’t cut it. A great gift doesn’t have to flamboyant or expensive, but it needs to be creative. Pick out the right envelope and some fancy paper. Use a fountain pen to write and try be natural when expressing your feelings. Use your own conversational style and just write whatever comes to mind. Give her the letter along with some flowers or a small present, a simple little object like a necklace or toy can be enough.

12. Jewelry

A timeless classic, piece of jewelry is probably the most popular gift. However, you have to be careful as some women can feel that opting for jewelry is kind of like saying, “I don’t know you well enough to come up with a very personal gift, nor can I be bothered to actually work on a gift for hours or days, so here’s something shiny.” Once again, I have to stress the importance of making it personal. You can do this by choosing a particular style she likes, certain shapes, specific gemstones, engraving it and so on. A lucky-charm bracelet with figurines that have some meaning for her—e.g. her favorite animal, zodiac sign, musical instrument and various symbols—is a good example of creating a very personal item.

13. Personalized items

Engraved gift

There are a number of things, both useful tools and simple ornaments, that can be personalized for your loved one. The simplest way of achieving this is by buying small trinkets with symbolic value, tools she uses daily or decorative items and having them engraved with an image and/or message. It can be an inside joke just the two of you know, a deep and meaningful message from you to her or a thought-provoking romantic quote. As long as you focus on making it truly heartfelt and personal, something that carries emotional value for her and has a deeper symbolic meaning, your efforts will be rewarded tenfold.

14. Chocolate and wine

Chocolates are often considered filler or a secondary gift to go with something more substantial, but there are your average supermarket chocolates and then there are fine, expensive chocolates. The same goes for wine, although with wine you really have a wide range of options to choose from and it is best to talk to a sommelier when looking for an appropriate wine for the occasion. With a couple of bottles of fine wine and some exquisite chocolate at your side there is no heart that you cannot conquer.

15. Flowers

Flowers should go well with any other gift on the list, but they can also be a standalone gift. A big, beautiful bouquet that was arrange with a particular purpose in mind can be a very romantic gift. There is a lot of symbolism attached to the different types of flowers and their colors, something an experienced florist will be able to help you with. Tell them what you want to convey and they will set you up with the right combination—you can even explain the symbolism in your note so that your partner knows that you’ve really given it some thought. A potted flower for her room can also be nice little surprise.

16. Gift basket

Why choose any one specific gift when you can create the ultimate romantic hodgepodge that will take her a good 5-10 minutes to go through, becoming happier with each little item she takes out. First of all you’ll need a pretty basket to put all the goodies in and some filler material like little plastic hearts, small candy, some soft fabric to use as lining and a length of ribbon. As far as the goodies go you can have some scented candles, soaps, bath salts, chocolates, beauty products, flowers, wine, small fluffy toys and, most importantly, an elegant handwritten Valentine’s Day card where you can try and express the feelings you have for her—just don’t overdo it with the romantic cliches and try to right in your own words.

17. Create a scent just for her

Parfume scents

Perfumes are an excellent gift choice, but they often lack that personal touch that makes the difference between a good Valentine’s Day gift and a earth-shatteringly epic Valentine’s Day gift. For the ultimate sensory experience, you can create a brand new aroma specifically for your darling, using a number of distinct scents and combining them into a unique fragrance. For that extra touch, you can get a glass perfume bottle engraved with her name.

18. Items related to her favorite hobby

Show her that you care about the things she enjoys doing by picking out a nice little present related to her hobby. Depending on what your significant other likes to do in her spare time, you can have a lot of opportunity to be caring and practical at the same time. If she likes to run or do some form of fitness training, than she will surely appreciate a good pair of running shoes; if she likes to cook, recipe books and professional chef’s knife sets would make a good gift; if she is a collector you can add some great new additions to her collection, and so on.

19. Custom made clothing

Picking out clothes can be tricky at times, so don’t try to get too fancy when shopping for women’s clothes unless you know your girl’s tastes and size pretty well. That being said you can go for something basic and comfortable that she could wear around the house or to casual events, like a T-shirt or a sweatshirt, and have a custom design printed. Pick out a design that is cute and funny and present it to her in a nice gift box.

20. Puzzle picture

Choose a picture that captures one of your first or finest moments together—the two of you making goofy faces at the camera the night you first met at some party, you carrying her in your arms on the beach just a few hours before you first told her you love her or some other significant moment—and have it printed out and turned into a puzzle. You can add a pretty frame and perhaps some type of memento from the time the picture was taken, such as a shell you found on the beach or the concert tickets from your first date, and give her these as a separate present after she has finished putting the puzzle together.

21. Cool gadgets

Stylish headphones

A Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t have to be heart-shaped, fluffy, cuddly or edible for your girl to be wowed by your gesture—practical things can also be very romantic if done right. In this day and age, everyone has a craving for the latest gadgets, so think about buying her a pair of stylish, high-quality headphones, a cool mouse and keyboard, one of those new smartwatches, a kindle, or any other interesting new gizmo that she might enjoy using.

Armed with this knowledge on good Valentine’s Day gift ideas, you can hit the streets and start shopping, but just remember that it is also the thought that counts, so try to work on the little details like packaging, accessories and presentation in order to make your girl feel really special and show her that you actually put some time and effort into preparing the gift.

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