Choosing the perfect Valentine’s Day gift can be a lot of pressure. But the truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to show your person — be it a partner, friend or family member — you care. In fact, hitting the sweet spot has more to do with listening than anything else. “If [they] mention something they like or want, file that away for future reference,” Stuart Fensterheim, a licensed clinical social worker and family counselor in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona, previously advised NBC News BETTER.
If you’re looking for that perfect gift for a partner, and finding yourself stumped, consider determining their love language to inform what — and how — you shop for them. Gary Chapman created the concept in his “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts Languages,” identifying people by the way they want to be loved: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Put simply, when you understand what sparks their fire, you can get your partner something that will bring you two closer. To help in your search for the best Valentine’s Day gifts for him or her, consider these gifts that are both affordable and thoughtful.
Best gifts for spending quality time together
If their love language is quality time, this game delivers an easy way to make it happen. The deck has 200 cards with questions and challenges that are designed to help you understand one another better — like naming the dog breed that best suits you or prank-texting someone on your contact list. There’s also an option of competing against other couples for a hilarious game night.
This gift speaks to a bunch of love languages: quality time, acts of service and physical touch. The beauty of this gift card is that it can be used to book services at thousands of spas — so it’s easy to make good on a promise to make a blissful massage for two a reality.
If heading off to a spa is too time-consuming or you’re both home bodies, consider a service that brings the massage to you. Whether you need some hands-on therapy stat or prefer to schedule ahead, Soothe lets you choose any of its certified and highly-rated massage therapists and order an in-home massage to your specifications.
This set of two ceramic mugs includes one cup with “Wifey” emblazoned on it and one with “Hubby,” for endless morning coffee dates.
Here’s one way to get closer to the gift jackpot: Give something you can do together that also takes a chore off the to-do list. This meal kit delivery service eliminates the need for grocery shopping by sending out a box of everything you’ll need to make three to four recipes per week.
Best Valentine’s Day gifts that prioritize self-care
This plush, velour robe is knee-length and comes in a variety of sizes. The robe also has a sherpa-lined hood for an extra dose of softness. If bright red isn’t the right color, it’s also available in Valentine’s-appropriate pink or burgundy.
This clear lip balm not only feels good — it reacts to your lips’ pH level and turns into a unique pink hue. And here’s a fun twist on Valentine’s Day flowers: There’s a real chrysanthemum inside. Vegan and phthalate-, paraben- and cruelty-free, the balm will help them look good — and feel good about wearing it.
Whether you go for a celebratory bottle like this one or gift them a Winc membership, this wine delivery service filters out what you don’t like and delivers everything you love — without requiring you to leave the comfort of home.
Best practical gifts for Valentine’s Day
If their sock drawer’s getting dull, an upgrade is a thoughtful and fun gift idea. Whether you go with a set of socks on the colorful side or want to head in a more conservative route, Happy Socks has dozens of styles to choose from.
This relatively affordable watch is outfitted with a buttery soft, dark brown leather strap with a buckle closure. The blue face has three sub-dials for added sophistication.
The classic knife features 15 functions within a 3.5-inch body. From a Phillips screwdriver and scissors to a bottle opener and blade, having one of these around is a good idea for anyone — but especially a Valentine who does a lot around the house (or hopes to).
Best home gifts to share for Valentines’s
The smart assistant sets reminders, keeps track of your online life, controls your smart home devices, and allows for hand-free phone calls.
The Amazon-alternative home assistant from Google is equipped with voice recognition, streams music and news, can help with guided meditations, tells you the weather and more. If your love language is quality time, then don’t hesitate to set a reminder for your partner about dinner and a movie next Friday.
The brightly colored stainless steel French press comes in a rainbow of hues. Beyond its eye-catching appearance, this makes both coffee and tea and boasts very high ratings — nearly 7,500 5-star reviews, to be exact. (And if this color isn’t your or their favorite, there are nine other colors to choose from, including the classic stainless steel.)
This is the perfect box to rest your engagement and weddings rings in for the night. With nearly 20,000 positive reviews, this Etsy artisan will surely deliver a box worthy of holding on to your love for years to come.
Best Gifts That Spark Romance
15. “Lovers’ Yoga: Soothing Stretches for Two” by Darrin Zeer
How about a gift that will help you relax and rekindle your intimacy? This book outlines 60 simple stretches — from playful to peaceful to powerful — you can do with your partner every night.
When physical touch is their love language, what’s better than massage with your own two hands? This body oil (which they can apply themselves after a shower, too) contains rosehip and sunflower seed oils to hydrate and soften skin.
If your sweetie’s love language is words of affirmation, then consider this book, filled with 12 letters that allow you to put all those feelings down on paper. You can give them one letter now and then promise the next 11 are to come on a monthly basis throughout the year. It hits on one of the cardinal rules of maintaining love and intimacy for the long haul, as Fensterheim explained: Show people you care throughout the year, not just on Valentine’s Day.