When it comes to Valentine’s Day, you’re navigating a gifting minefield. How can you know just what she’ll love? How do you find something that reflects the level of your friendship, love, and commitment?
Luckily, when we polled our coworkers and friends to see what they’d like to receive from their significant others this year, the takeaways were clear: it’s all about quality time, meaningful experiences, and gifts that show that you know and appreciate her quirks and preferences.
So we’ve put together a list that should help you narrow in on just the right thing to make her happy — and give you both a good time.
A spotless home is a pleasure to step into at the end of the day. And, for most, it's a true luxury to not have to scrub your bathtub and dust your bookshelves by yourself.
Book a professional house cleaning. Services like Handy make it easy to schedule, and you can use Groupon or LivingSocial to get an extra discount. Both of you will enjoy the benefits of a clean abode without having to buckle up, snap on those latex cleaning gloves, and deal with the mould situation you've been ignoring. And you'll also both be more inclined to spend cosy time in a dust-and-grime-free house.
Now that her apartment is spotlessly clean, she might want to pop open a bottle of wine to enjoy some downtime at home. Buy her a membership to a wine club like Club W, so she'll always have an ample supply of Pinot for those lazy nights with Netflix and takeout -- or those impromptu cocktail parties and late-night heart-to-heart sessions.
Then add in a box of chic stemless wine glasses, which are easy to clean and hard to break.
The best part: all that wine is a win for you, too.
Great news: Beyoncé has announced her new tour dates. Snap up a few tickets immediately for an incredible show experience for both of you. Queen Bey is the ultimate performer, so you're guaranteed a good time.
If she's not part of the Beyhive, though, tickets to another favorite performer's show will give her a thrill. The farther out the tickets, the more meaningful the gift: you're signaling your long-term commitment, after all. And if you hit the nail on the head with a show she's really been hankering after, then she also knows you've been paying attention to her taste, too.
Pajamas usually fall into two camps: it's either a ratty t-shirt and boxer shorts, or something fancy, lacy, and maybe even risqué.
Surprise her with a third option: the grown-up silk pajama set. The relaxed fit and luxe fabric will turn any night at home into a classed-up staycation, and unlike the traditional gift of Valentine's lingerie, this one shows you're a thoughtful adult who cares about her comfort. This Olivia von Halle set is inspired by Coco Chanel, adding an extra kick of glamour.
Add on a cosy robe to complete the look, or take it even further by getting the pajamas monogrammed with her initials in advance.
It's not every day that you enjoy the complete luxury of a tasting menu at a top-notch temple to culinary perfection, but it's definitely an experience worth splurging on if she has any kind of foodie tendencies.
White tablecloths, hushed conversations, and wine pairings: this isn't a wild night out at the bar, but it is an evening you will never forget -- and it also might inspire you to get creative in your own kitchens.
The Michelin Guide is a good place to start when you're ready to book a table.
When it comes to showing you care, there are very few ways to improve upon the tried-and-tested make-her-dinner routine. Stick to what you know you do best, though; it's never a great idea to test out a new recipe on a big night.
If you need something to hold your hand as you cook, delivery services like Blue Apron provide everything you need (including recipe and ingredients); just throw it together on the stove.
Not comfortable boiling a pot of water? Carry out from her favourite restaurant with Caviar.
Just be sure to set the scene appropriately: uncorked wine, a nicely set table, plenty of candlelight, and a low-key playlist that won't distract from your culinary wizardry and scintillating conversation.
Getting out of your daily environments can take your relationship to the next level -- and be a nice change of pace. Everyone loves a low-key weekend getaway. Choose a local bed-and-breakfast with top-notch ratings, on-site spa services (couples massage, anyone?), and a well-reviewed restaurant to make it a one-stop-shop for all your vacation needs.
Then let the fresh air and new adventures bring you closer.
Just watching a show as a spectator is so passé; the new trend is being involved.
Whether it's Sleep No More, the now-shuttered Queen of the Night, Supercinema's Romeo + Juliet, or a more underground offering, the next trendy ticketed experience is the kind that makes you part of the action, whether it's as part of a dinner show or an experimental theatre situation. Something weird (and memorable) is sure to happen, giving you stories to tell for weeks afterward.
Oh, one more thing: Hamilton tickets. The show is universally loved, impossible to get into, and expensive -- but it's a true mark of your commitment if you can get them.
When all else fails, there's always jewellery.
An iconic Cartier Love bracelet will run you a pretty penny -- but it's a surefire declaration of your love (and investment in the relationship).
Not ready to take quite that step? Look to a sweeter gift, like these candy-inspired gems by Tamara Comolli, available in berry-coloured gumdrop pendants and bright, whimsical earrings.
If that seems too bold for her taste, the delicate stylings of Brooklyn jeweller Catbird, the quirky humour of Verameat's pieces, or the creative glitter of Dannijo's jewels will all make their own kinds of statements, and are favourites of fashionable women.
Subscription boxes are -- quite literally -- the gift that keeps on giving. Whether she's a beauty junkie (Birchbox), a cocktail goddess (Crafted Taste), a gourmet foodie (Hampton's Lane), or pretty much anything else under the sun, there's bound to be at least one subscription box you can find that will fit her taste.
She'll appreciate that you chose something relevant to her specific interests, and you'll know that every time she receives a new box each month, she's thinking of you.
The fragrance industry is a multi-billion-dollar behemoth. Within it, any woman can get lost, caught up with dozens of bottles on her vanity counter -- department store suggestions, drugstore favourites, and designer atomizers that look prettier than they smell.
To cut through the clutter, bespoke scent services like Original Scent are now cropping up, helping customers to find one signature fragrance composed just for them.
Or you can look to a cult favourite brand like Le Labo, which uses a personality quiz to help find a scent that will resonate. It also prints customised labels.
More into the science behind the fragrance? Escentric Molecules offers concoctions that they say will react strongly to skin's chemistry, producing a different fragrance for each wearer. Doesn't get more personal than that.
Any of these small-batch options will show how you set her apart from the mass-market crowd.
Turns out, what women want most is just to spend quality time with the person they love. Clear your schedule, turn off your cell phone(s) (that means work as well as personal), and cosy up with a bottle of wine or a pot of tea.
OK, some artisanal chocolates and fresh, creative flowers wouldn't go amiss, either. But these are, ultimately, extras. In an era where one-on-one 'IRL' interaction can sometimes feel like a figment of the past, being in the present with your partner can be the biggest gift of all.
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