Finding the just-right gift for your significant other can be tricky: Something too elaborate or expensive in the early stages of courtship might set off “way too into you” alarm bells, but those who are in the long-term, know-what-you-eat-for-lunch-every-day stage of coupledom will be expected to up the ante with something more substantial and thoughtful than last-minute roses and a hearty hug. Whether you’re three or three hundred dates into your relationship, we’ve got Valentine’s Day gift ideas that’ll make that special someone smile (and not go hunting for a return slip).
Gifts for When You’re Not Really a “Thing” Yet
For that period when you’re still learning each other’s siblings’ names, try one of these consumable, ephemeral, or otherwise short-lived gifts that need not outlast the relationship: bath products with a scent that lingers for just the right amount of time, cards that are sweet without being saccharine, low-commitment perfume samples, and lollipops that are just as quirky as he is. Show your “like” with a valentine in the form of a heart-shaped cookie, or a set of cocktail bitters that are potent but not too passionate.
Gifts for Your 6-Monthiversary
You’re in the heady blush of young love, so channel the days of schoolyard crushes with gifts that celebrate the fact that you’re — gasp! — officially going steady. Send an upgraded love note, give her a one-of-a-kind journal she can doodle your initials in, swap custom temporary tattoos of each other’s names just to try them on for size, get pinned with a gorgeous handmade brooch, and gift a phone case that’ll make your constant back-and-forth texting even more compelling.
Gifts for Building a Home Together
Already cohabiting? Feather your love nest with beautiful pieces that aren’t Billy bookcases or a shower caddy. A beeswax candle disguised as a decanter adds some warmth and romance sans booze, and grown-up bedding is indulgent but necessary. Ceramic pet portraits will honor your firstborn (fur) babies. And why not hang a print commemorating the exact coordinates of the spot you first met, or a banner that shows just how psyched you are about each other?