The Best Non-Cheesy Valentine’s Day Gifts (According to a Newly Single Person)

updated Jan 24, 2020
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Yes, it’s true, dear reader. I was dumped last week, and I am writing about Valentine’s Day gifts, because life is funny that way. (Alas, I write about shopping here at Apartment Therapy.) Really, it’s fine—I have never taken the holiday too seriously, and as far as breakups go this one could have been far worse. Still, I thought it would be fun to set the scene, and can you even believe we have a day set aside just to celebrate the members of the population who are partnered off? Anyway. If you wish to join me on this journey, read on for my list of the best Valentine’s Day gifts that I will not be giving or receiving this year.

Credit: StubHub

An Experience

Since Valentine’s Day isn’t even a real holiday (there, I said it), it makes sense to make it special with an experience of some sort. Our managing editor Terri Pous had the brilliant idea of buying tickets to the Westminster Dog Show, which takes place a few days before V Day. Other options include a concert, sporting event, or Broadway show. (Guess what: My ex told me he would take me to see “Hamilton” this spring, and I am more heartbroken over that more than anything.)

Buy: Tickets on StubHub

Credit: The Sill

Hoya Heart Plant

Remember the Love Fern from “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days?” I actually think Andie was on the right track. Plants are cute, emotionally available, and will probably live longer than my last relationship. I am in love with this little guy from The Sill, although Amazon also sells a similar one.

Buy: Hoya Heart Plant, $28 from The Sill

Credit: Parachute

Linen Sheet Set

Good bedding is one of those things you might feel guilty about splurging on, but who is more deserving of quality linen sheets than the person who has to sleep next to you? (And deal with your snores, sweat, and smells?) Reader, I have these sheets myself, and they are worth every penny.

Buy: Linen Sheet Set, $169 for Queen from Parachute

Credit: Handy

Handy 3-Hour Home Cleaning

Really want to show someone you care? Skip the experiences and the gifts and instead pay for a deep clean of your SO’s home. I would honestly lose my mind if my boyfriend (a hypothetical one, of course; I am single) told me that someone was coming over to clean my apartment.

Buy: Handy 3-Hour Home Cleaning, $99

Credit: Etsy

Custom Couple Portrait by Lenin Escobar

If you can’t resist something a little corny, make it actually good, like this custom portrait you can commission on Etsy. I did this for my mom as a Christmas gift last year and it went over very well, so I imagine the same would be true for a long-term SO. (Please don’t do this for someone you just started seeing. Or do, because love is a crapshoot.)

Buy: Custom Couple Portrait by Lenin Escobar, $79.99 from Etsy

Credit: Coursehorse

Couple’s Cooking Class

Ugh. Confession: I bought a couple’s sushi class for my ex, and it was our last date before he dumped me. But you know what? It was really fun, and I recommend it if you want to do an experience that you wouldn’t otherwise do alone or with a friend. And you don’t have to do sushi! There are classes for pasta, pizza, and more, depending on where you live.

Buy: Couple’s Cooking Class, starts at $50 from Coursehorse

Sexy Truth or Dare

Okay, yes, I had to include this Sexy Truth or Dare situation, because why not? It’s different, it’s fun, it’s something that actually embodies the “spirit” (?) of Valentine’s Day. Gift it with one of these very NSFW candles found on Etsy and leave literally nothing to the imagination. You’re young, either in age or at heart! Live it up!

Buy: Sexy Truth or Dare, $14.95 from Uncommon Goods

Credit: Airbnb

Weekend Trip

Surprising your SO with a weekend trip somewhere is a dream I would like to fulfill someday. It’s so spontaneous and romantic! (And since I know you’re wondering, yes, my ex and I had a weekend trip planned in a few weeks that I had the honor of canceling. But it’s fine!)

Buy: Weekend Trip on Airbnb

New York Times Custom Front Page Puzzle

Our editor-in-chief Laura Schocker and her husband are huge board game/puzzle fans, and Laura got this custom puzzle for him last year. Pick a day (like your anniversary) and you’ll get whatever the front page of the New York Times was on that day, in puzzle form. Laura and John make me believe in love again.

Buy: New York Times Custom Front Page Puzzle, $49.95 from Uncommon Goods

Credit: Terrain

Caramel Coffee Syrup

This seems random, and it is, but hear me out. Artisanal! Food! Again, this is something your SO probably wouldn’t ever buy for themselves, so it makes a good gift. Terrain is full of good options, like this caramel coffee syrup from Nicolas Vahé. Also consider fancy cheeses and creative chocolates, especially if you’re planning on giving flowers and need something to go with them.

Buy: Caramel Coffee Syrup, $22 from Terrain

Of course, the best gift of all is the fact that you have love in your life—and that doesn’t have to be romantic love. Whether or not Valentine’s Day falls during a rough time for you this year, celebrate your friends, celebrate your family, celebrate your partner, celebrate your pet(s), and most importantly, celebrate yourself.