A few gift ideas for that special someone in your life that aren’t just candies, chocolates, or cringe.
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Valentine’s Day might be one of the campier holidays, sure, but there’s nothing wrong with using it as an opportunity to show that special someone in your life how much you care. But if you’re stuck thinking only cheesy gifts like chocolates or a generic teddy bear are the way to go, then you’re doing yourself (and your partner) a huge disservice.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help. We’ve consulted many of the fine tastemakers here at The Verge and have pooled together a diverse batch of tech, non-tech, and nontraditional gifts that will make your valentine light up with excitement. There are gifts for all types of people, too, from couples in committed relationships to friends who are looking to celebrate their singlehood status together. Some of these ideas even make for a great date night at home, which — let’s be honest — is often better than an overcrowded, overpriced restaurant.
Dash Mini Waffle Maker
Breakfast in bed, anyone? Dash’s heart-shaped waffle maker can be used for those lovely syrup-soaked breakfast delights or even some savory hash browns and paninis. If waffle hearts are a bit too lovey-dovey cheesy for you, remember that you can always turn them upside down and use some creative trimming to turn them into something much more… “cheeky.”
Lego Succulents are the perfect gift if your someone special has a penchant for killing houseplants. The 771-piece kit allows you to build something with your partner without having to worry about the untimely demise of your green friends, which can bring some color and character to your living area or workspace.
Catalonia Blanket Hoodie
True love is being comfortable enough around one another that you don’t care how ridiculous you look — and it doesn’t get much comfier than a hoodie blanket. Catalonia’s pullovers are great for getting cozy on the couch during the cooler months, and they come in loads of colors and patterns so you can each get one that fits your style.
Courant Mag:1 Essentials magnetic charger (with optional monogram)
Courant’s magnetic Qi charger works great for juicing an Android phone or a MagSafe-compatible iPhone overnight. Unlike most tech, however, it doesn’t stand out as an eyesore on your bedside table. Each is covered with either a sleek fabric or quality leather, and for an additional $10, you can get it monogrammed for some extra swankiness.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Few devices are as charming for capturing social events and documenting everyday life as Fujifilm’s Instax cameras. The Mini 11 is our favorite of the bunch, namely because it offers great ease of use and photo quality within an affordable package. There’s just something special about instant film since each photo is one of a kind.
Apple AirPods (third-gen)
The third-gen AirPods are the sweet spot if you want to gift your iPhone-loving valentine a set of wireless earbuds. They’re a step up from the last-gen model in terms of sound, yet your partner is not likely to think you overspent like they might if you were to pony up for the AirPods Pro. Plus, they offer IPX4 water resistance and the same great ease of use as earlier models.
iRobot Roomba j7 Plus
You don’t have to argue over who gets stuck doing the vacuuming if you’ve got a robovac. The iRobot Roomba j7 Plus is our top pick for robot vacuums thanks to its smart auto-mapping feature and self-emptying cleaning station. Plus, you get to name it in the iRobot app like a pet, one that can help clean up after you instead of the other way around.
Xi’an Famous Foods by Jason Wang and Jessica K. Chou
If you have fond memories of going out together for Chinese food, you should try making your own noodles and dumplings at home. Xi’an Famous Foods is an excellent chain of noodle shops in New York City, and their equally excellent cookbook can help you prepare some of their beautifully savory recipes without ever stepping foot outside your door.
Amazon Kindle (2022)
If your partner is a big reader, Amazon’s latest entry-level Kindle is the e-reader to buy. It has USB-C charging and a screen that’s as sharp as the display on the Kindle Paperwhite, yet it comes in a smaller, more affordable package. It even comes standard with 16GB of storage, which is more than enough for the average person’s reading collection.
Mophie Powerstation 10K Stand with MagSafe
Mophie’s Powerstation 10K supports full MagSafe wireless charging speeds with compatible iPhones, and its strong metal stand means it can live on your desk as a charging stand when you’re not on the move. It features a beefy 10,000mAh / 37Wh capacity, too, which can take even a Max-size iPhone battery from flat to fully charged with power to spare.
Garmin Vivomove Sport
Your partner doesn’t have to wear a chunky computer-looking smartwatch to achieve their fitness goals. The Garmin Vivomove Sport represents the perfect blend of form and function, a smartwatch that looks like a traditional timepiece but offers the ability to track your heart rate and various workouts. Its size is also great for smaller wrists — something that can’t be said of Apple’s latest wearable.
Papier leather notebooks
A quality notebook isn’t just a spot where you write stuff down; it’s a small keepsake that can help motivate someone in your life to keep their thoughts organized. These leather notebooks from Papier come in an array of lovely colors and designs and can be customized with monogrammed initials on the front or one of several foiled accents.
We’re Not Really Strangers: Couples Edition
You’d be surprised what new things you can learn about someone even after years of dating — all you have to do is ask. The Couples Edition of We’re Not Really Strangers features 150 questions to share with your partner that are sure to spark some enlightening, deep conversations. And if heartfelt candidness doesn’t come easy, consider pairing the cards with a little bit of liquid courage.
Netgear GS308 networking switch
What’s more romantic than ethernet ports? One could argue that there are few bigger signs of commitment than settling down with eight ports of beautifully unmanaged gigabit connections. Okay, if you get a sideways look from your valentine for this gift, you can complain to our own news reporter Jon Porter for suggesting it (or me for taking him seriously).
Cook This Book by Molly Baz
Cooking together is a great shared experience, but it can get a little stressful if you’re not the most adept chef. Fortunately, Cook This Book lays out a number of superb dishes with great design and excellent photos, not to mention scannable QR codes for easy access to instructional videos. Whipping up breakfast tacos or pastrami roast chicken has never been easier.
Alessi Pulcina espresso maker (three-cup)
A good cup of espresso is like a work of art, and Alessi’s quirky Pulcina pot sports a modern design fit for a gallery. The three-cup espresso maker is the perfect size for an after-dinner caffeine kick for two, and it looks great in any home, regardless of whether you opt for the red handle or the jet-black alternative.
Kodak M35 Film Camera
Kodak’s little M35 is basically a disposable camera that’s reusable with 35mm film rolls of your choice. The charming shooter is a fun way to get into analog photography and create some low-fi images, which you can either cherish privately or scan and upload to the ‘gram for all the world to see later.
(PC, PlayStation, Xbox)
Playing The Quarry is sure to make for some good (and suspenseful) date nights spent inside. The interactive slasher flick from Supermassive Games has you taking turns at playing teenage counselors, the kind inevitably charged with overseeing a camp plagued by supernatural events. Just don’t get too upset if one of you gets somebody’s favorite character killed.
Motorola Talkabout T482 radios
There’s just something endearing and personable about a one-to-one conversation over a walkie-talkie. They’re functional for everyday home use or when you’re out camping and hiking, sure, but there’s also an adolescent giddiness that comes with using them at home (or at your respective homes, if you’re close enough) with your significant other.
Ember Mug 2 (14-ounce)
Never let your drink of choice go cold, even if you’re down to the last few drops. The Ember Mug 2 makes a great gift for any coffee or tea lover that has a tendency to get distracted before they finish their cup, especially since it allows them to set the smart mug to their perfect drinking temperature and hold that temp for up to 80 minutes.
Maison Balzac party glasses
With Maison Balzac glasses, you can party it up with your loved one even when it’s just the two of you. The chic glassware comes in all kinds of fun and distinctive shapes that are just as suited for white wine as they are cocktails. Needless to say, you and your partner may end up looking for any occasion just to bust them out with some bubbly.
The Sonos Roam is a terrific-sounding Bluetooth speaker that’s great for on-the-go jams as well as home use thanks to its seamless integration with the rest of the Sonos ecosystem. It also supports hands-free voice commands and features a waterproof design, so you can take it to the beach or even make it your designated shower speaker.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Despite their age, the Google Pixel Buds A-Series are a great pair of wireless earbuds with good mics and wonderful sound quality for the price. They work best with Android phones, but they can be used with most any Bluetooth device and feature enough passive noise cancellation that they isolate you from the outside world quite nicely.
NASA mission patches
If your partner has a fascination with space, there are all kinds of sick NASA patches you can help them collect, which cover a range of landmark missions and spacecraft. They’re great for adorning a denim jacket, decorating a home office, or putting on just about anything else you’d like to emblazon with a miniature Hubble telescope.
Ikea Symfonisk bookshelf speaker
Ikea’s Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is the most affordable way to start building a Wi-Fi-connected home speaker setup or add to an existing Sonos ecosystem. The small, versatile speakers sound great and fit just about anywhere or with any decor. You can also set up a bunch for multiroom listening or even use them as surrounds for a Sonos soundbar.
Horrified is a co-operative tabletop game that pits your survival against the classic horror movie monsters, including Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster. It’s as fun to play as a couple given it only allows up to four players, and the difficulty is adjustable from novice-friendly to grueling depending on how much you want it to test you.
Nanoleaf Mini Triangles (10-pack)
There’s more to setting the mood than just lighting candles. Thankfully, the Nanoleaf Mini Triangles are wall-mountable lighting panels that allow you to better accent your living space. You can set them to all kinds of fun — or even romantic — colors and patterns via an app, or sync them up with your smart home system for helpful automations.
Vinyl Pros Record Display Set (eight-pack)
With a record display, you can turn the highlights of your vinyl collection into a showcase of refined, 12 x 12-inch wall art. Because nothing says “I love you” like giving your partner the okay to display their limited edition pressing of the Sonic Spinball soundtrack in your home.