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2021 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas - Traditional, Unusual, and Long-Distance

Posted on January 30, 2021 at 7:20 am.  Written by Editorial Team

Valentine's Day 2021 Gift Ideas

January 30, 2021 13 min read

With less than a month to go for Valentine's Day, people in a long-distance relationship have already started planning their gifts this year. 2020 was rough on everyone but 2021 has brought new hope to lovers separated by distance. Nevertheless, with months to go before the majority of the world's population is vaccinated and the air is cleared of the coronavirus threat, the situation still requires caution when it comes to travel plans. If you can't be with your loved one this Valentine's Day, gift him or her something worthy of your relationship and representative of what it stands for. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas with a Twist

Sometimes, the staidest gift can also make the strongest statement of love. There's nothing like a box of delicious chocolates or flowers to touch the female heart, and little else says "I love you" than a brand new... wait for it... ta-da - a brand new wallet for the guy. Well, maybe not. Still, you can do a lot with some of these standard gifts if you're willing to give them a personalized twist or a humorous angle. Here are some ideas:

Succulents vs. Roses

Succulents are all the rage with green-thumbers today. They're attractive, easy to maintain, and you can put them in a heart-shaped planter to make them look more Valentine-y! They'll make a great alternative to a traditional bouquet of roses or her favorite flowers, and will last much, much longer since they're live plants.

Cupcakes vs. Chocolates

The traditional chocolate box is undoubtedly a big hit with most women on February 14, but have you considered some delectable alternatives like cupcakes or mini bonbons? They're equally delicious and it's a fun twist if you top them off with traditional chocolates.

Personalized Cushions vs. Stuffed Toys

This year, the traditional Teddy is out and heart-shaped cushions or pillows are in. You can have them customized with both your names or a special message. These are far more functional than stuffed animals because they won't be sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.

At-home Personalized Spa Day vs. Spa Day Gift Card

A gift card for a special spa day is convenient and affordable. But who wants that, really. A much better idea would be to commit to a day with your boo just to pamper her with your own magic fingers. A sensual massage, a nice long foot rub, maybe even a mani-pedi if you can figure out how it's done.

Store-bought vs. Homemade

Again, it's easy to shell out cash and buy something for your SO, but why not take the trouble to make something with your hands? A handmade card, some playdough hearts, and possibly a few heart-shaped cookies lovingly baked at home. Come on, she deserves it, doesn't she?

A Night Home vs. A Night Out

Why pay for an expensive dinner when you can cook a meal at home and have an intimate candlelight experience? It's more private and she'll be touched by the gesture, especially if you're not the chef type. To be safe, have a few order-in menus handy, just in case things go horribly wrong in the kitchen!

Traditional but à la carte!

Of course, traditional doesn't always mean boring, so we've curated this set of unique gift ideas for Valentine's Day. She's guaranteed to shed a tear, laugh out loud, and react exactly the way you want her to. For that matter, so will he!

Customized Portrait from a Photograph

valentine's day gift ideas Cartoony custom drawings can be done professionally and are actually sold as a service on sites like Etsy. All you have to do is send in a photo of you and your partner and they'll take care of the rest. You can also add a special message if you want to. They're not cheap, though. One print can run you about $70 or so. But it's definitely worth the expression on your SO's face when they finally see it. And you can make it a double surprise by opening it together on your Valentine's Day special date.

Print and Frame your Favorite Instagram Pics

Instagram prints for a Valentine's Day gift Bring the digital into the realm of the physical by choosing the best Instagram posts of yourselves having a great time and making great memories. Then have them arranged like a collage and have it professionally printed out and framed. It's a winner for sure!

Kissing Mugs

Coffee mugs that kiss each other first thing in the morning? What's not to love? An ideal Valentine's Day gift idea for a couple very much in love - with coffee as much as each other! High-quality kissing mugs are in the range of $50 to $70 but there are cheaper ones available on sites like Amazon. You should also be able to find them at a local specialty store in the weeks leading up to the big day on February 14.

Heart-shaped Tea Bags

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas - heart shaped tea bags Is tea your cup of tea rather than coffee? Then check out these cool heart-shaped tea bags in a blended flavor. One particular brand is made with a blend of 15 different teas from various parts of the world. A truly exquisite experience for only $30!

Memory Jar

Need a place to keep those subway ticket stubs from your first ride together or tickets to the first show you saw as a couple? This lovely memory jar is the place to keep it all. Letters you wrote to each other, sticky notes with love messages - all of it goes in and stays there until you need a little romantic nostalgia.

Art Print of Animals that Mate for Life

What a perfect way to say "I love you and I want to spend my life with you" than with an art print of animals that mate for life? This unique illustration features the Gray Wolf, the Angel Fish, and, of course, the Swan. Oh, and Termites.

Custom Wine Labels

How about a bottle of expensive wine, but one that's had its label replaced to say "I love you more than wine" with your name on it? Wouldn't it be super cool to give him something like that? You already know what his favorite wines are, so all that's left is to get a few bottles, order a few of these custom labels and stick them on top of the existing ones. To make it a fun experience, see if he can guess what he's drinking. If he's a real wine connoisseur, he'll be spot on every time. And hopefully a little drunk by the end of it.

Custom Cutting Board

For couples who love to cook together, this is the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Add a custom message and a date to the board and you have a great gift idea for the cuisine-conscious couple! You can also consider variations such as cheese boards or cheese trays. Everything is customizable and all of it can be ordered online.

Personalized Bath Tray or Caddy

Bath boards, bath trays, and bath caddies come in a variety of styles, and they can easily be personalized with the name of the receiver. A truly romantic gift if you couple it with some bath salts or aromatherapy beads.

Heart-shaped Macaron Making Kit

A baker's best friend, the macaron making kit consists of a silicon mat with sections for making the most delicious heart-shaped macarons, and all the accessories you'll need. Feed your decadent side with this delectable bite-sized French confectionery. Some of them come with a recipe book where you can try new mixes for the filling.

Multiflavored Chocolate Bar

Why choose when you can have 8 unbelievably mouth-watering chocolate variants in a single bar? This bar contains classics such as Marcona Almond, Salted Caramel, and even off-the-beaten-track flavors like Pink Salt and Earl Grey. Just be sure to savor them one at a time to fully enjoy each variant.

Scented Heart Soap

Lotus-scented soap in the shape of a heart and carefully ensconced in its own handmade wooden box. Soap hearts are easy to hold in the shower, as you'll discover... easier than holding on to someone else's, that's for sure!

Desktop Love Signing Sculpture

Nothing says love like... well, love, especially if you say it in sign language. This unique office desk sculpture that spells out the word L-O-V-E will be a constant reminder that someone you love is waiting for you at home. Working from home? Still works! It's a reminder to peel yourself away from your work once in a while so you can go do what really matters - be with the one you love.

Personalized Tree Carving on Wood

Longing for the lazy days of teenhood when you'd carve your initials on the tree in your backyard? Bring those memories flooding back with this tree carving on wood. Personalize it with your name or initials and that special date when you first met.

Long-distance Valentine's Day Gifts

If you can't be with the one you love.. well, don't just love the one you're with - do something about it! Here are some fantastic ideas for long-distance gifting between lovers torn apart by the pandemic and unable to visit each other this Valentine's Day 2021.

Spinning Heart Digital Messenger Box

This beautiful-looking box with a chunky spinning heart will win her heart over for sure, no matter where she is. Little love notes can be sent via the smartphone app and it will make the heart on the box spin to alert her that a new message is waiting for her. Inside is a little digital screen that will display your text message. How cool is that?!

Miss You Book

Get one of these for yourself and another for your loved one across the oceans. Each of you writes down why you miss the other and sends it to each other so it reaches on Valentine's Day. Open it on the day and read why your partner misses you so much! Very touching gift idea and very apt for long-distance couples longing for each other's physical presence.

Long-distance Touch Bracelets

These bracelets are programmed to vibrate and light up whenever the other one is touched. It's a cheesy version of the long-distance friendship lamp (see below) but it's great for people who are constantly on the move and rarely in one place for a long time.

Friendship Lamps

Friendship Lamps or Friend Lamps are sophisticated lamps that respond to each other by lighting up in a particular color when another lamp on the same network is tapped on the sensor plate on top. It just takes a couple of minutes to set up each lamp and connect it to its respective Wi-Fi network. Two or more lamps can be connected in entirely different locations, countries, or continents. They're online when plugged in and turned on, so after setting them up, touch your lamp and your partner's lamp will light up in a color you chose during the setup. A unique way to communicate that's helping thousands of people stay connected with their long-distance spouses, lovers, friends, relatives, kids, parents, and grandparents.

Photo Puzzle

Keep your long-distance Beau busy with this photo puzzle. Just send in a photograph to Shutterfly and they'll make a custom jigsaw puzzle with that same image. You can get them in variations from 60 pieces all the way to 1,014 pieces so it's suitable for any level of dexterity from novice puzzler to crack shot jigsaw-ist.

A Bouquet of Chocolate-covered Mini-Donuts

Flowers and candy together? Why not? This bouquet of baked beauties will have them drooling at the doorstep when the delivery man comes. An exciting mix of cake pops, glazed, and chocolate-dipped donuts is the dreamiest gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. Treat them to this treat of a lifetime - or, well, of the year anyway.

Countdown Timer

Do you know when you'll meet next? Have you planned a secret getaway with your SO for Valentine's Day? This countdown timer will let you literally count the days - and hours, minutes, and seconds - until you meet again. Reset it when you have to separate again so you know that it's only a matter of so many days, hours, minutes, and seconds until you're together again. The perfect gift for any long-distance couple.

Heart-shaped Mini Waffle Iron

Waffles are somehow nostalgic because we all loved them as kids. Put a twist on an old theme and get your long-distance partner a waffle iron that makes heart-shaped mini waffles. Nostalgia and romance bundled into one affordable gift. What could be better?

Wine Soap Set

Drink in the rich and intoxicating aroma of your favorite wine - in the shower. These wine soaps are hand-crafted and infused with well-known red and white wine varietals with fruit-scented themes like plums and berries for that "pinot noir" effect and so on. Specially made by Heather Swanepoel, famous for her beer- and chocolate-themed soaps.

Scented Candles with a Personal Note on the Label

A jar with a scented candle and a custom note printed on a label on the back could be just the thing to send to someone who's missing you. Look for a scent that reminds him or her of you, and add a personal love note when ordering the product. Just look for "I love you to the moon and back candles" on any online store and you should be able to find a variety of options.

The Love Language Game

When you're apart, you need to keep yourselves engaged with each other every chance you get. This classic card game can be played virtually and will reveal things about each other that you didn't know before. It's a very intimate game that can be played over Zoom in the evening after you're both back from work and have had a chance to wind down for the day.

Weighted Blanket

We've recommended this gift quite often and it's still not enough! These amazing blankets actually make you feel like you're being hugged to sleep. The blanket settles snugly around you and gives you a sense of security and well-being - an essential missing piece of the puzzle when you're in a long-distance relationship. Something with a heart theme will be perfect for Valentine's Day as well.

Letters to Open When...

A very creative gift idea for anyone in a long-distance relationship. They're a neat bundle of inspirational letters you can send to your loved ones, and there are even two blanks where you can write your own letter of inspiration to suit various moods. Each letter is carefully written for a particular moment when the person needs to have a good laugh or might be feeling lonely. Your personal letters will help add an even more romantic touch to an already romantic gesture.

More Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

If you still haven't found what you're looking for, maybe your imagination just needs a little booster shot. Here are some gift categories that have always been popular and are considered "safe bets" when it comes to Valentin's Day or any other special occasion.

Gift Vouchers

If you're at a loss for what to get her or him, why not a gift voucher to a place they frequent, like a spa, a gym, prepaid pizzas, or even Amazon gift cards. Everyone loves to get stuff for free so this will be a way for you to spend money in a creative way without the hassles and tension of shopping for the perfect gift.

Jewelry and Accessories

Men and women both love tasteful jewelry and accessories. Necklaces, cufflinks, pendants, money clips, tie pins, brooches, bracelets, rings, wallets, handbags, and purses, etc. aren't hard to buy because no matter their taste there's bound to be something they'll absolutely love. You can also have them personalized with their name, either something that spells out their name or something monogrammed with their initials. These gifts are great for special occasions like Valentine's Day because they're often a little more expensive than generic gifts like chocolates and flowers.

Fine Dining and a Luxury Experience

Taking the girl of your dreams to a fancy restaurant is as classic - and classy - as it gets. Throw in some tickets to the opera and you've just bumped it up several notches. Rent a limo and you're operating at the Jame Bond level. Of course, if money is really no object then you can ratchet it up all the way to Tony Stark Class - do a private jet trip to a nice little restaurant wherever. But most of us don't have that kind of moolah to burn in one night so just take her to the most expensive restaurant you can afford and call it a day! Good food and nice wine is a great turn-on.

Spending Time Together

Money is not important where love is concerned, so if you're broke, don't worry. Take her for a drive to a romantic spot on a hill somewhere and really talk to each other. Not in the mood to go out? Then stay at home and cook a romantic meal for two and eat it by candlelight. It's not the money that counts, it's the experience you're offering. Any person that truly wants you for you is going to want to spend quality time, even if that means cuddling on the sofa watching TV together, or sitting by the fire.

Some Parting Thoughts about the Art of Gifting

Most people think that if they spend a lot of money on a gift, the receiver will really love it and appreciate it. That's as far from the truth as you can get, especially on a day like Valentine's Day. Okay, that's not too far from the truth if you're in a new relationship because a date at a McDonald's doesn't really say "I'll treat you like a queen until the day you die." That just says "I'll treat you to Dairy Queen until you die (from it.)" So you'll need to splurge a little in the beginning, but once the relationship is on solid ground, it's about intimacy and effort. The intimacy part comes naturally but you have to make an effort in areas like gifting. Put in the legwork to find the perfect gift. It has to be thoughtful, it has to mean something, and it has to have some value long after it is given and received. To truly find the perfect gift for anyone, you need to know them well. Think of gift shopping for Valentine's Day as the thing that forces you to learn a lot about a person in very little time, especially if the relationship is new. What does she like? What does he absolutely hate? What turns her on? What turns him off? Will she be offended if I spend too much - or too little? You can learn a lot from the gift-buying experience, but you can also learn about a person from the way they receive the gift. Is the person you're in love with a gracious receiver? Does he appreciate the effort that went into picking that perfect tie? And the information you glean from that will help you the next time you need to get them a gift. It will help you figure out the right and wrong of gifting, at least as far as they're concerned. So go ahead and set a budget and do some detective work to find out what type of Valentine's Day gift will be appreciated the most. We can give you ideas like the Friendship Lamp or multiflavored chocolate bar, but you need to decide what your - and their - idea of the perfect gift really is. Happy Valentine's Day!