Valentine’s Day typically isn’t associated with giving practical gifts — it’s an occasion usually thought of as the time to go big (jewelry!), sexy (lingerie!) or indulgent (chocolate and red wine!). But this Valentine’s Day you may want to emphasize function over fancy and purchase a gift for your sweetie that they’ll enjoy all year long.
Of course, giving a practical gift can be tricky, especially on a holiday associated with romance. But done right, a practical gift hits the sweet spot of items that are useful while still feeling special.
You’ve probably seen this pretty pink pan everywhere (we love it in that vibrant red color too); we tried it and loved it ourselves. The Always Pan can take the place of a whopping eight cooking devices. Pair it with a virtual cooking class from Sur La Table for a socially distanced date night. (We’d also suggest adding on the brand’s handy spruce steamer for perfectly prepared dumplings, veggies and more.)
If you haven’t already taken the bidet plunge, the Tushy can be a wonderful gift indeed. Our editors loved the basic bidet, the Tushy Classic, but for those who live in colder climates, the Tushy Spa may be a better choice because it offers a warm water cleansing option. (And it even comes in pink.) For a few extra bells and whistles, you can also splurge on the slightly upgraded Tushy Classic 3.0 ($99, originally $129; hellotushy.com).
If you’re one half of a couple that loves to snuggle up on the couch, a beautiful oversize throw blanket is a wonderful gift idea. The pale pink color is a pretty nod to Valentine’s Day that will work all year in almost any room. And sharing a blanket on a cold night gives you a great excuse to get closer to your honey — after all, the saying is “Netflix and chill,” not “Netflix and chilly.”
Really great popcorn makes another great Valentine’s Day present for the movie enthusiast. DellCoveSpices offers tons of yummy varieties of specialty popping corn. Add a set of gourmet seasonings in flavors like salt and vinegar, chocolate caramel and classic butter to spice up the gift.
Roses are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift that offer a lot of options when you think outside the bouquet. Rose-scented products like bubble bath or body lotion are one way to go, but fragrance can be tricky when it comes to gifts. Unless you’re absolutely sure your valentine likes floral notes, you’re better off opting for a gift that features a rose motif or design, like this reusable water tumbler in a super-pretty pink and blue rose pattern.
A luxe upgrade is a great way to make a mundane-seeming item into a knock-their-socks-off gift. For example, pillowcases aren’t especially giftable, but silk pillowcases are. In addition to being ultra glam, silk pillowcases are also a practical investment — they’re easier on your hair and skin than their cotton counterparts because they’re less drying. These silk pillowcases come in six size options and a whopping 36 different colors including, yup, red.
As working from home becomes a more common part of our professional lives, a new challenge has arisen: We need snacks. We no longer have in-office snack stations to graze from, and those midday newsstand and convenience store runs aren’t as likely to happen when you work from home. A food dehydrator solves that at-home snack problem and is a fun hobby to boot. It’s a great gift for the person who loves jerky and wants to make their own, or for someone who loves to nibble on fruit leather during Zoom meetings.
Another staple of office life that’s gone by the wayside for a lot of people is the coffee shop stop. If your sweetheart has been missing their morning triple espresso or afternoon vanilla latte, a gift of nice coffee, flavoring syrups and a milk frother will give them the fix they’ve been missing.
We love giving the gift of a small kitchen appliance. Small appliances like air fryers and breakfast sandwich makers offer a range of price points, functions and colors — for Valentine’s Day, red, rose gold or pink is an obvious choice. This red chopper is a favorite of meal prep experts, but if that’s too dicey (get it?!) a heart-shaped waffle maker is another great choice.
You know what’s even better than a warm hug? A warm towel. A towel warmer feels like such a luxury, but it turns out that it’s a pretty affordable luxury. This bucket-style warmer can simply be plugged into an existing wall outlet.
A spa cushion is another luxury bathroom upgrade that won’t break the bank. Forget bath bombs and salts — if your loved one loves a relaxing bath, this padded full-body tub mat with an attached bath pillow to cradle the neck and head while bathing will take the experience to a whole new level.
An extra-long phone charging cord is one of those things that, once you have one, you won’t know how you ever lived without. The Cabepow 10-foot charging cord comes in red and pink, elevating it from mundane tech accessory to a holiday-appropriate gift that also happens to be super useful.
Turn the typical Valentine’s Day gift of flowers on its head by pairing a flowering potted plant with a smart planter. This planter connects to a flower care app that provides information and data on soil moisture, fertility levels and specific tips for helping your particular plant thrive. Need a plant suggestion? Try a blooming anthurium ($33.18; homedepot.com), which has red heart-shaped leaves.
The trick to making a label maker giftable is to do something we typically don’t do with other people’s presents: Open it up and use it before you give it. Why? Because you’ll want to use the device to make your main squeeze a homemade card. If you really want to step it up, plan a couples activity using the label maker; partners with a funny bent can see who can find the most absurd things to label (hint: Label the dog, or the label maker!), while a more competitive couple can set a timer and race each other for most items labeled in 10 minutes.