Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to re-up your gift-giving strategy. But before you grab a plush bear with a heart-shaped pillow that says “u r cute” and call it a day, allow me to gently suggest you reconsider. (Unless, of course, you know in your bones that bear is the perfect gift for your person in which case, GO FORTH.)
A great gift-giver is almost always a great observer. You pick up on things and maybe even take notes—like how your BFF loves ice cream but the scoop she’s had since college is cracked. Or how your S.O. always talks about taking an improv class but doesn’t know where to start. Even if you haven’t filled up your notes app with little ideas and observations, it’s not too late. First things first: you need to learn their love language.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
Image by Michelle Nash
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If you’re new to the concept, read through my love languages deep dive right here. High level: there are five love languages (aka, the way you give and receive love) and most people fall strongly into one category: quality time, gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Once you’ve determined your recipient’s language, consider the list below your love languages gift guide.
Image by Michelle Nash
The Best Gifts if Your Love Language Is Quality Time
When your love language is quality time, any gift that makes room for more of it is welcome. These gifts can lean toward experience gifts big or small—from weekend getaways to fun projects to be done together. Here are a few ideas we love.
The Adventure Box Subscription
If quality time is your partner’s love language then just about any gift from The Adventure Challenge is a home-run choice. But the thing about quality time is it requires regularity, which is why the subscription box is an excellent choice. It’s a date in a box delivered once a month and corresponds perfectly with the Couples Edition book. (We also love the mini date scratch-off cards if you’re looking for a meaningful one-off gift.)
The Couples Game
There are a lot of couple’s card deck games out there from the “getting to know you” to the “deep and meaningful” (and the more naughty options), but this one is just FUN. You won’t be in tears by the end unless, of course, you cry laughing.
Airbnb Gift Card
There is hardly a gift more luxurious to a quality timer than the gift of getting away with the person they love. Make a weekend trip even easier with a gift card to the city of their choice.
Coffee Talk Puzzle
Working a puzzle together is one of those things that just invites good conversation. With something to keep your hands busy and a shared goal, it has a similar effect as a long walk or a car ride. But with a puzzle, you’ve got something tangible to show for those hours spent together. (And this one is so cute.)
Maybe it’s the mom in me, but babysitting is HIGH on the list of gifts when your love language is quality time. This is especially true for parents of little ones who are just tryingggg to get a handle on things. It’s hard to find a sitter to trust and when paired with the price of dinner and a movie, things get expensive fast. If you’ve got a friend or loved one who could do with a night off, first offer to babysit and then get it on the calendar. It’s truly one of the sweetest gifts you can give.
Image by Riley Banks Reed
The Best Gifts if Your Love Language Is Gifts
Gifts for a gift lover—should be easy, right? The important thing to remember here is to make the gift personal and unique. If your love language is gifts, what truly matters to you is that someone gave you thought. So yes, it’s the thought that counts, but here are a few gifts that take it to the next level.
Lunya Washable Silk Sleep Mask
A gift that you wouldn’t buy for yourself but would use (and love) daily? Put this sleep silk mask in that category right now. The soft wide band blocks out light and noise, keeps a consistent temperature, and doubles as a headband for the nighttime beauty routine. SOLD.
Ouai Melrose Place Eau de Parfum
Can you bottle Melrose Place? Ouai says you can and what Ouai says generally goes. The luxurious scent features hints of bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, and white musk and it is HERE for the aesthetic bathroom counter.
Rays Copper Eye Masks
Our managing editor Isabelle swears by these sunny eye masks and I can attest to their selfie-worthy appeal. Beyond the very fun shape and color, they actually work to help reduce under-eye puffiness and the appearance of fine lines.
Mini Bow Bag
A new bag is always appreciated this time of year and I love the feminine appeal of this cutie bow bag. It’s small enough for a night out (but still holds the necessities) and comes in a variety of colors for the perfect outfit pop.
Miniature Flower Press
Continuing along with the mini theme, this flower press is the perfect companion gift to a bouquet of flowers. It’s a gift that keeps the memory of the gift alive forever—it doesn’t get more perfect than that.
Image by Michelle Nash
The Best Gifts if Your Love Language is Words of Affirmation
When your recipient’s love language is words of affirmation, it’s best to focus on gifts that make your feelings clear. Like, super clear. But no need to shout your love from the rooftops or buy a banner in the sky (actually, that’d be pretty cool). Here are a few ideas to show AND tell.
A Handwritten Letter
The concept of a love letter can feel vague and overwhelming—especially so if your love language is not words of affirmation. Instead, try this: make a list of 10 things you love about this person. Go into as much detail as you can but let the list structure be your framework. And don’t be surprised if that letter winds up in a frame one day.
Bali Word Bracelet
This globally inspired handmade brass cuff bracelet is the perfect reminder of how you feel. Show your love and appreciation with one of 10 words like “Strength,” “Gratitude,” or “Joy.”
A Custom Poem
Can’t find the words? Let the pro do it for you. Tori at @notesontheway takes care to turn a Skype call into a personalized work of art. Your custom poem comes delivered and ready to frame (which you absolutely should).
A Personalized Playlist
There’s no gift like a classic mix tape. Music has a way of putting feeling to words and a playlist is something they can return to again and again. Choose songs that have been meaningful to your relationship or make it fun with new and unexpected finds. Try picking a song for every year you’ve been together or every season if your relationship is new. Done well, a playlist can tell a story—and I’m willing to bet yours is a good one.
Scrapbook Photo Album
Tell the story of your love chapter by chapter with Artifact Uprising’s seriously beautiful “The Stories We Tell” photo album. Filled with prompts and photo placement ideas, this is a book to be cherished.
Image by Michelle Nash
The Best Gifts if Your Love Language Is Acts of Service
And now we have arrived at this author’s love language. As a representative for the acts of service bunch, allow me to dispel a myth: it isn’t you doing the Thing that makes a service gift so great. Rather, it’s you doing the Thing knowing that you’re creating space for us to do something we enjoy much more than the Thing. Make sense?
Shearling Wool Clogs
Crossing off the to-do’s on my list that I keep avoiding is nice. Handing me these cozy slippers while you do them is nicer. There are still a few sizes left if you can snag ’em, or, opt for the classic Turkish cotton variation (they’re a little more affordable, too).
Public Goods Self-Care Kit
This affordable spa set offers permission to dive into some me time while you wash the trash can or call the insurance agency. Light the candle and run a warm bath—everything they need for a mini getaway is right there inside the box.
Yoga Mediation Pillow
I’m trying not to make this part of this list too personal, but Camille uses a meditation pillow for her morning journaling and I’ve had my eye on one ever since I saw hers. Any gift that allows an acts of service-er to indulge in some self-care is a great option. This pillow offers the perfect seat to jot down a to-do list post-meditation.
molly J The Berry Big Box CBD Gummies
There are days when the lists run long and anxiety looms. Molly J makes some of the tastiest CBD gummies I’ve ever slowly devoured. Perfect for the times you can’t always lend a physical hand.
Rise Gardens Personal Garden and Starter Kit
No more quick trips to the store when they need a green veg. This gift is an investment but for the foodie who feels loved when you do stuff for ’em, this is a WINNER.
Image by Michelle Nash
The Best Gifts if Your Love Language is Physical Touch
I know what you’re thinking. And yes, that is a great option. But there is much more to physical touch than just the sexy stuff. It’s about pulling them in for a hug when you’re in a room full of people. Grabbing hands at the grocery store. Unexpected kisses. It’s hard to package as a gift, but if you can put yourself in a situation where touch is inevitable, you’re on the right track.
maude oil no. 0
One of the more obvious gifts. But if you’re going to get a massage oil, you better get a good one. And also be fully prepared to give said massage. (Here’s how to do it.)
Book a Private Screening Room
…or head to the drive-in! Cuddle close, hold hands, and do all the (legal) things the 18-year-old you would do in a movie theater.
All Night Robe
Physical touch is a tactile language and this robe is literally all the feels. Because lingerie is nice but here’s a piece that’s just as sexy—and she’ll wear a lot more often.
Men’s Washable Silk Set
Speaking of cozy sleep vibes, guys deserve great PJs, too. This washable silk set is sustainable and cozy—you’ll absolutely want to cuddle up.
Go Roller Skating
And finally, go old-school ‘get physical’ with a fun date to the roller rink. Guaranteed you’ll hold hands (if not catch each other when you fall). Ask the DJ to play your song and get your couple skate on!
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