Small Valentine’s Day gifts (so that you don’t show up empty handed)

By Jessica O’Neill

Sure, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time of year to be in a relationship, but what should you do if you have only been dating for a short time? All of the rules go out the window. 

If you have been with your significant (or not-so-significant) other for a long-ish time, you probably have a protocol for romantic holidays, such as anniversaries, birthdays and the big V Day. Perhaps you’ve been dating for a little while now, and you’re getting excited about your first February 14th together – you might have already spoken about what you plan to do together. But what happens when you have only had a few dates, been together less than a couple of weeks but you really like the other party? 

If you’re not sure about where you stand with this potential new bae, you might feel a little sheepish or intimidated about asking them what’s up for Valentine’s Day. You might not want them to think you’re moving too fast, or you simply might not be that into what has been called a “Hallmark Card Holiday.”

If you have a date scheduled on (or near) February 14th, nip your worries in the bud and hedge your bets. Arrive for your evening with a small but thoughtful gift that says, “hey, no pressure – isn't this fun?” Best of all, if you get there and you’re not feeling the need to give the gift, or if your counterpart seems to be empty handed, these gifts are small enough to keep tucked in your bag, ready to be re-gifted in the future.

Check out our favourite small Valentine’s Day gifts that will prevent you from arriving empty-handed, but still allow you to play it cool.

1. Sponsor their favourite podcast

Podcasts are one of the best ways to get caught up on pop culture, true crime, and current events. Talking about your favourites is a great icebreaker, so if you can find out theirs, you can sponsor the show or the creator’s Patreon in your date’s name. Sometimes these pledges even come with stickers and neat swag that you can pass along (or keep for yourself). Print out a simple voucher, or write the gift in a card.

2. A gift card does the trick

Sure, if you’ve been together a while and are in the gooey “I love you” stage, a gift card might feel like a huge cop-out. However, if you are still getting to know each other, nothing could be better. Choose a small value (say, $20) for their favourite independent coffee shop, beauty brand, bookshop, or restaurant. With any luck, they’ll end up spending it on you.

3. The first three months of a subscription box

Subscription boxes have really taken off over the past few years, and it seems like everyone’s unique interests are now catered to by companies making up fun and unique monthly swag boxes delivered to your door. Does your new gal pal like makeup? Get her a 3-month subscription to Birchbox or Ipsy. Does your guy like to create handmade sweaters and scarves? He might like a Knit in a Box membership. Are they a video game addict? Lootcrate will likely do the trick. Best of all, after three months they can choose to cancel, or they can buck up and continue on with the subscription.

4. A cheeky enamel pin

Guys, gals and folks beyond the binary can all appreciate the delight of a cheeky, fun and cute enamel pin. Perfect for sticking to a denim vest, a leather jacket, a backpack or even just displaying at home, you can choose from countless handcrafted designs on sites such as Bad PinsCoucou Suzette, Kidd Bell. A play on a meme, a pop culture reference, a catchy slogan or a feminist saying, these have the added benefit of making your crush think of you every time they see it.

5. A great book

It might be too early in the relationship to be sharing your favourite work of fiction or a tome of poetry that means a lot to you, but a book is always a great gift. Choose from something topical and on the newsstand (maybe that you spoke about on a date?), a new biography by an artist or musician you both like, or a comedy release that you know will make them laugh. A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of anything ‘classic’ or that has been on the shelves for more than a few years – you really up the chances that they have already read your selection. 

Image Source: Coucou Suzette

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