Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
Okay, so let me first start by acknowledging that Valentine’s Day is kind of a made-up holiday that was invented to sell cards. And that you should be loving to the people in your life every day, not just on Valentine’s Day.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about some Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for this year.
As usual, I want you to think about gift ideas that are sustainable if possible, I want to emphasize experiences over things, and I want to focus, if possible, on local small businesses.
These gift ideas range from basically free to just a few bucks, to a few more bucks, to maybe a couple hundred dollars if you want to go all out. But again, let me be clear: the amount of money you spend on the gift is not as important at the thought behind the gift.
Okay, lets’ goooooo!
Free: Affirmation Box
Grab a small box that you probably have lying around in your house somewhere, or you can buy something inexpensive at the dollar store. I got something a bit more elaborate at Winners, and it cost me $12. Then get crafty. Take out some paper and some markers or coloured pens, and write little affirmations to your loved one. Obviously this works for a partner, but it can also work for a parent, a kid, or a friend. Tell them all the little things about them that you appreciate, or talk about things you want to do with them in the future. Then scroll up the little pieces of paper and put them into the box, tie it with a nice bow, and whenever they need to, they can grab a little compliment from you. I did this recently and it was a big hit.
$5-$10: Baking is my love language
Legitimately I’ve been in relationships in the past where my partner has accused me of trying to make them fat. I’m not. Baking is just my love language. Food in general, really. If I like you, I’m going to cook for you or bake for you. That’s just how it goes. Here’s a super simple recipe with just 4 ingredients that requires no baking that you make for your sweetie: Red Velvet Chocolates. If you don’t want to make something, though, here are a few I’d pick up:
The Raspberry Waffle from Nero Waffles
At just under $3, a waffle is a great way to say “I Love You.” By the way, they have 7 flavours, depending on what your sweetheart likes. They include: filled vanilla custard, double chocolate, churro, chocolate almond, and orange white chocolate.
The heart-shaped Baguette from The Bench Bakehouse
The Bench is one of my favourite bakeries in the city. They do everything really well, but especially Kougin Amann and baguette. They’re doing a special heart-shaped baguette for V-day. I mean, what expresses your feelings better than carbs??? Order yours for $8.
$10-25: Food really is my love language
Okay, more of the above, just a bit more of an investment.
Heart Shaped Stuffies at Cartem’s Donuts (preorder here)
A two-pack of vegan stuffed donuts will set you back $11:50. But cut them in half and share:
- Black Forest: A yeast stuffie filled with a dark chocolate mousse, covered with black cherry glaze and topped with vanilla bean buttercream, dark chocolate and gold bark and a maraschino cherry.(v)
- Raspberry Rose: A yeast stuffie filled with raspberry compote, covered in a rosewater glaze and topped with raspberry and rosewater buttercream cookies, rose petals and silver flakes.(v)
Fried Chick’un Bouquet from Beetbox (preorder here)
Beetbox, my favourite place in the city for vegan chicken (and, worthwhile to mention, a BIPOC-owned small business), started this last year, and are doing it again this year. It’s a “bouquet” of vegan fried chicken, and it comes with the tastiest honey (but no honey because it’s vegan) mustard sauce you ever had. This is love, for real. Much better than flowers.
I can’t think of a time in history (other than when they were an actual requirement for light) that candles have had such a moment. It seems like there are about a bajillion artisan candle makers out there. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it’s just because I’m super basic, but my very favourite is the $2 vanilla candle from Ikea. However, if you want to go the luxury route and splash out for a really nice one, I love the ones from Canvas Candle Co in Coquitlam.
Under $30: Local Wines
You’re literally never going to go wrong by gifting a bottle of wine. Make it a local vintage, and you’ve got a win-win situation.
Here are a few local wines that deserve some Valentine’s Day love:
- Traditional Valentine: Chocolate, roses, the whole shebang! TIME Merlot 2018 – $27.99
- The trend-setter, non-traditionalist: Narrative Pinot Blanc 2019 – $22.90
- For a low-key evening at home with a charcuterie board and a romantic movie: Evolve Riesling 2020 – $22.99
- For the luxury-loving Valentine who only wants the best things in life: Coolshanagh Chardonnay 2018 – $30
- For the eco-conscious Valentine who is trying to live a sustainable, plant-based life: Quill Pinot Noir 2019 – $27.99
$100 and up: Staycation
So obviously we’re not really going anywhere these days, so staycations are where it’s at. Explore your own city and your own backyard and see what it has to offer. Book a night in a hotel and sneak off mid-week with your sweetheart to spend some time together. I would do this not at Valentine’s Day. I’d wait until after, when things have calmed down a bit. I recently staycationed at the Versante Hotel, along with dinner and breakfast at their restaurant, Bruno. You can read all about that experience here.
What are your Valentine’s Day picks this year? Comment below and let me know so I can add them to my list!