While “The Gift of the Magi” is a sweet story, it’s probably much more preferable to give and get something as useful as it is affectionate. Whether you’re just getting into a relationship or cozy in a long-term one, exchanging gifts on Valentine’s Day still is a stressful situation. The perfect present is a combination of sentimentality, utility, and pizzazz (not to mention, borrow-able for when you’d like a turn).
If you’re stuck, we’ve got some suggestions — we asked a few R29ers, working with a variety of budgets, what they were getting their S.O.s (and asking for) to give you a few ideas in your own search.
To give: “For my husband and I, Valentine’s Day is more about our oldest daughter, Evan. We heard her heartbeat in utero on Valentine’s Day, 10 years ago. Corny but true. When we left the doctor’s office that day, we bought a bag of chocolate Lindt hearts — now it’s tradition.”
Lindt Chocolate Hearts, $15, available at Lindt.
To get: “This year, though, I’m all about three First Knuckle Rings from Catbird — one for each of my girls’ hearts and Mark’s.”
CatBird First Knukcle Ring, $64, available at CatBird.
Connie Wang, senior global editor
To give: “Nathan’s a music whiz, and I’m a music appreciator, at best. One of my favorite things is listening to tracks with him and learning about different genres, artists, and Twitter beefs. These headphone splitters will let us share during long subway rides.”
Kikkerland Headphone Splitter, $12, available at Kikkerland.
To get: “I’ve mentioned before how my sensitive nose can’t handle perfume, but Ican wear a subtle hair fragrance. I got a sample of Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue and have been meting out trial vial drop by drop so it’ll last, it’s that delicious. And since the scent is so light, the only people that can enjoy it are myself and anyone close enough to sniff my hair (a.k.a., my boyfriend and fellow morning commuters).”
Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Oil, $68, available at Shu Uemura.
Annie Georgia Greenberg, New York editor
To give: “This year, I’m treating my boyfriend (and myself) to a night at the luxe Conrad Hotel downtown. It’s peaceful; it’s off the beaten path — no heels required. I’ll be coming off the heels of NYFW, and Sam will be coming off the heels of his first gallery show, so I think we can both appreciate a little R+R by way of Conrad’s Concierge app, which pre-schedules room service, spa appointments, and (press that snooze button one more time!) late checkout. Indeed, nothing says love like a staycation, fresh sheets, and his-and-her bathrobes, and in this case, everybody wins.”
Book rooms and services at Conrad New York.
To get: “Yes, my staycation plan is going into full effect, by why let the om stop there? For V-Day, I’d love to receive some cute breakfast trays to get some room service at home, too. Sam’s really great at making sausage and eggs and, luckily, I’m really great at eating breakfast in bed.”
West Elm Tall Butler Tray, $149, available at West Elm.
Alison Koplar, VP of sales & corporate development
To give: “This Danish company knows how to make a man feel dapper. Part downtown cool part uptown classic, this bag will serve as a nice replacement for his overloaded briefcase and crumbling rolling bag, which no longer rolls, as one of the wheels is broken. That said, he’s my biggest accessory, right? Navy never goes out of style.”
Mismo Mega Flap Tote, $635, available at Barneys.
To get: “He actually complains about my shoe closet, so I let him partake in investing in rehauling it. We’re getting married this summer, so these are an easy-pack option to keep me constantly in style as we go to event from event. And, they’re on sale, which is reason enough to buy a gorgeous pair of shoes.”
Jason Wu Raquel Strap Shoe, $229, available at Man And A Woman
Katie Hintz-Zambrano, senior editor, West Coast
To give: “We’ve got a baby on the way in a matter of weeks, so collecting more ‘stuff’ wouldn’t be wise. Instead, I want to treat my husband (um, and myself) to a day at The Spa at Carneros Inn in Napa. The folks there give the best pre-natal massage around, plus there’s a pool overlooking the vineyards that’s just beyond. I’m all about giving experience gifts!”
The Carneros Inn Spa, packages available here.
To get: “After four years of marriage, I’m looking to upgrade my wedding band, which right now is just simple white gold with an inscription. I was lucky and won a diamond necklace at a wedding fair a while back, but the sparklers are arranged in a somewhat lame heart-shape at the moment. So, I’d love for a local jewelry designer (I’m looking at you Sarah Swell!) to knock those rocks out and put them into a cool gold band.”
Sarah Swell Fern Dell Ring, $1,475, available at Sarah Swell.
Diana Nguyen, contributing editor
To give: “Chris is a simple, active guy who doesn’t need much, but I think he’ll really dig the Nike+Fuelband. Plus, a healthier bod is a win-win for both of us!”
Nike Fuelband, $149, available at Nike.
To get: “We’re not a very mushy couple but given we live 3,000 miles apart right now, all I want for Valentine’s Day (and our five-year anniversary) is a non-Skype, real-life date night…or maybe a PS1 bag…but definitely a date night more.
PS1 Large Leather Bag, $1,995, available at Barneys.
Annie Tomlin, beauty director
To give: “Dylan is a coffee aficionado (he actually makes a Google map of coffee shops before we go on trips) and he’s fond of small, independent roasters. Whole beans from this L.A.-based coffee bar would make him happy, and I think the Handsome name fits him pretty well, too.”
Handsome Coffee Roasters, $40, available at Handsome Coffee; Photo: Via The Dieline.
To get: “I’d like to say that I swan about our apartment in a silk gown, looking like a film noir siren. Instead, I wear tank-tops and eight-year-old Target sweatpants — the stuff of male fantasy, to be sure. I’d love to trade up to a more stylish pajama set. This one is comfortable, but it’s the farthest thing from frumpy.”
Eberjey Gisele PJs, $98, available at Journelle.
Free of hearts and cupids, the delicate, feminine detailing on this beauty will draw where’d-you-get-that questions all year round. Just remember to answer, “my boo.”
Lexi Nisita, associate community editor
To give: “A certain someone is always complaining that he can’t find a nice jacket at his usual spot, a.k.a. the Goodwill. I’ve got no problem with secondhand, but I know this jacket would be a hit. He might not have the guts to splurge, but I do!”
J. Crew Worker Jacket, $168, available at J. Crew.
To get: “I’ve been eyeing this Daniel Wellington watch for a while. It’s got a definite menswear vibe, so maybe we could share it? Two for the price of one! I know it’s on the expensive side, so for the record, I’d be equally pleased with a $20 vintage version.”
Daniel Wellington Classic St. Andrews Watch, $235, available at Need Supply.
Kelsey Miller, SEO editor
To give: “For selfish reasons, I may get him this four-cup French press. His is tiny, which means we have to take turns drinking coffee in the morning. That can’t be good for our relationship in the long term.”
Bodum 4-Cup Chambord Press Coffee Maker, $36.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond.
To get: “I’m kind of finicky about jewelry, which is why I’m obsessed with Brooklyn Charm (where you can make your own with their zillions of charms and supplies). I generally think gift cards are a little weird to get from your boyfriend, but I would not be mad if he got me one to this place so I could make myself something from both of us.”
Jewelry available at Brooklyn Charm.
Amanda Keiser, commerce editor
To give: “I wandered into the men’s section at Sephora the other day and fell in love with this new Chanel scent. It’s the perfect mix of musky and clean — I have to admit: It made me a little weak in the knees.”
Bleu De Chanel Cologne, $62 for 1.7 oz., available at Sephora
To get: “I’m not really a diamonds kind of girl, but I’m a sucker for a simple vintage jewel. Plus, I love that this Erica Weiner ID bracelet is customizable — I’d wear it every day.”
Erica Weiner ID Bracelet, $55, available at Erica Weiner.
Laura Miller, associate photo editor
To give: “My boyfriend, Joe, is really into woodworking and has made our kitchen table and my nightstand, among other things. It’s a really awesome hobby, especially whenever we need a new piece of furniture! I would love to get him a few of the chisels I know he has been eyeing.”
Lie-Nielson 5-Piece Chisel Set, $340, available at Lie-Nielson.
To get: “It would be awesome to start getting away more on the weekends, especially as the weather gets warmer. I would love The New York Times 36 Hours to get some ideas for some fun trips to take together.”
The New York Times 36 Hours, $24.24, available at Amazon.
Megan McIntyre, senior beauty editor
To give: “My hubby has always been into taking pictures, but on our honeymoon in Cambodia a few months ago, he borrowed a friend’s high-tech camera and went nuts. The joyful look on his face while he was fiddling with the exposures and thumbing through the day’s photos made me realize there was a budding amateur photographer deep within. That’s why he’ll be getting his very own Canon Powershot G15 this V-Day, so he can take gorgeous pics to his heart’s content.”
Canon PowerShot G15, $499.99, available at Canon.
To get: “I mean, just look at them. There’s something so sensual about leather, but also so minimal-effort. Sexy without all the hassle, and they are something I would wear with half the content of my closet, so it’s win-win for both of us.”
Blank Denim Vegan Leather Leggings, $44, available at Shopbop.
Julia Anderson, associate director of brand integration
To give: “Andrew is a sucker for sleek and minimal design, so I know this Braun watch is right up his alley. Plus, now he has no excuse for not being punctual to our dinner dates!”
Braun Men’s Analog Watch, $210, available at Turntable.
To get: “I’ve never really been a PJ set kind of gal, but this short-and-top combo from Eberjey looks too cozy to pass up and will transition perfectly into spring.”
Eberjey Gisele Short PJs in Eggplant, $98, available at Neiman Marcus.
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