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5 last-minute, thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift ideas

Surrendering to love is full of risks but expressing it is what warms the soul. Here are a few unique ways to show your significant other you care

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Forget flowers, this year Valentine’s Day is all about the food.

A photo of Valentine’s Day-themed candy.

Adobe Stock

Valentine’s Day sneaks up on you after the holidays. Before you know it, your partner is patiently sitting in front of you, waiting for you to unwrap their present while you give them ... nothing. And so, arguing begins as they use every card in the book to make you feel terrible — “I do so much for you,” “Can’t believe you forgot,” “Don’t I mean anything to you?” — and you sink deeper and deeper into your seat. “Why didn’t I remember?” you wonder.

Of course, materialism shouldn’t be at the heart of a relationship or a friendship, and, most times, a simple gesture is enough. It’s the intention behind the gift that’s most important.

Since the day of love is less than a week away, now’s the time to act. Here are a few ideas for those who waited until the last minute.

A way to the heart is through the stomach

Nothing better than surprising your loved one by cheffing it up. Cook up a storm in the kitchen and do your best to prepare a well-done breakfast or a lavish spread for dinner (and don’t forget to clean up after your mess.) If baking is what you excel at, a yummy heart-shaped chocolate cake or brownies paired with a sweet note can bring a smile to their face. Your partner should be especially impressed if working in the kitchen isn’t exactly your forte. Chocolate-covered strawberries are also a guaranteed hit.

Unusual bouquets

Everyone buys some arrangement of roses but this list is all about thinking outside the box. If your partner has a sweet tooth, a bouquet of Valentine’s Day-themed cookies, doughnuts, and candies would be perfect. Lego sells build-yourself bouquets that you can either make for your loved one or build with them. You can fill the bouquet with soft toys, artisan cheese, candles ... the possibilities are endless.

A special crossword

Does your significant other love games, especially word games? If yes, creating a customized crossword for them is a neat gift. Education.com allows you to do just that. Simply create a list of clues and answers for them. For example — “5 Down: Where we went on our first date. Answer: Movies.” Plug in questions that only your partner will know the answer to, making the silly activity all the more fun.

A picture is worth a thousand words

No one keeps physical photo albums like they used to. And let’s be honest, scrolling through your memories on the cloud is just not the same. Printing out and neatly framing an old click is a sweet present and it doubles as interior decor — win-win! Creating a small photo album may require more work but is another cute — and, now, retro — way of showing your partner you care. It’s worth mentioning that fans of scrapbooking can finally put their skills to good use.

Write your feelings down

If photos aren’t your thing, pick up the pen and write a love letter. Take inspiration from the best love letters of all time, written by creative souls like Frida Kahlo, Ernest Hemingway or Oscar Wilde. And if you want to be simple and sweet, stating your feelings as they are, perhaps, consider what late U.S. President George H. W. Bush wrote to his wife, Barbara, during his time overseas, according to Glamour Magazine:

“This should be a very easy letter to write — words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can’t possibly say all in a letter I should like to. I love you, precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you ...”

Surrendering to love is full of risks but expressing it is what warms the soul. It’s worth taking every chance to show gratitude towards your loved ones. So write the letter, or recreate the family recipe to celebrate relationships, both romantic and platonic, on Valentine’s Day.