You’re almost out of time, lover. Good news: We’ve rounded up 15 categories of creative last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts that will remind your honey how much you love them every day. Even if you also have to love them enough to pay a ton for quick shipping.
Going the extra mile, whether with a little DIY McGyvering, a sweet printable, or an extra nifty gift from somewhere local will make your Valentine’s gift seem like it’s not last minute at all.
And fortunately, with Valentine’s Day on a Tuesday this year (instead of last year’s Sunday) that buys you a little more flexibility when it comes to overnight shipping. But, don’t delay!
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1. Valentine’s Flowers. Of course.
Bouqs bouquet + awesome Emily McDowell card we featured in our roundup of funny Valentine’s cards!
Yes, bouquets of red roses will cost exactly as much as an award-winning Labradoodle this week, so feel free to get more creative.
The California collection of flowers from indie farm-fresh flower company The Bouqs can be delivered in time, and feature stunning options including mixed bouquets, orchids and roses, which is why we’ve recommended them in our favorite romantic gifts for women under $50.
Or, skip the shipping and find a unique bouquet at a local grocery or farmer’s market, if they’re in season in your neck of the woods. (Not too many fresh flowers in the Northeast farmer’s markets these days!) Trader Joe’s is also a good resource.
And to make it a little more special, don’t just hand over a bouquet wrapped in damp floral paper, which totally says “last-minute.” Instead, grab a pretty vase from a local antique shop or thrift store and have the bouquet waiting at home. Splurge on something more collectible — maybe hit a Tiffany & Co. at your local upscale mall? Or craft up your own mason jar from swanky (at top) to more rustic, thanks to the tutorials at Michael’s.
Anyone can do flowers, but with a couple of hours, you can cobble together a bouquet that really shows you care.
2. Chocolate. Because, Chocolate!
You know we love chocolate for Valentine’s Day and we love all of these impressive chocolate boxes that are out of the ordinary. (Above: from Compartes. Wow.) Some can still be ordered in time, since a lot of gourmet food companies ship overnight or two-day mail to keep the deliciousness fresh.
You can also visit a top local chocolatier, should you be lucky enough to have one in your neighborhood. (Mmm… Norman Love chocolates.) But it might be too late for that option unless you live near a Vosges or Godiva.
Or, go DIY if you’re crafty. You can:
-Pick up the biggest paper box of chocolates at the store a day early and decorate the box just for your darling with chalkboard paint and a white paint marker with tips from this chalkboard lettering tutorial at from Miss Bizibee.
-Go semi-homemade with a box like this heart-shaped box from Primitives by Kathy, above. (Do you have Nirvana in your head now?)
-Print out pics of you two and decoupage them on with some Modge Podge, which is basically just painting layers of goop under and over the pictures — just make sure it has a day or two to dry.
-Get some acrylics and paint the chocolate box like an ombre canvas.
Finally, add your own favorite chocolates whether it’s a box of kisses or truffles from Godiva or Lindt that you repackage in your own heartfelt (ha) way.
3. Non-Chocolate Gourmet Food Gifts. Yum!
The good thing about gourmet gifts is they often require overnight shipping to keep the food fresh. On Cool Mom Eats, Stacie has rounded up some of the very best affordable gourmet food gifts for Valentine’s Day that are more inventive than truffles. Not that there’s anything wrong with truffles.
Also check out Stacie’s picks for the best food subscription boxes. From cookies to spices to gourmet tasting boxes, there is so much to choose from if you want to take that proverbial fastest way to the heart — and the best part is, the Valentine’s gift is still to come with the next shipment, but doesn’t feel like an IOU.
Or hey, DIY! Love this tip for turning basic brownies into an adorable edible Valentine’s gift.
4. The Perfect Book… and a Little Extra Something.
There’s often nothing more romantic than a picked-just-for-you book—except for maybe some time to curl up and actually read it. You can always take a stroll to your local indie bookseller and see what looks just right for your Valentine. But if you can’t spare the time, that’s where Amazon is your friend, especially if you’re a Prime member.
A few recommendations: For the love of your life, check out the fill-in-the-blank What I Love About You journal by Knock-Knock. If he’s got a sense of humor, we’re laughing at Book of Things Better than Boobs — just know that it’s blank inside. For fun, there’s the voyeuristic Other People’s Love Letters: 150 Love Letters You Were Never Meant to See. Make the day of a true romantic with Pablo Neruda’s Love Poems. Graphic design fans will love The Book of Hearts. And we are smitten with All The Love in the World, for which photographer Jesse Hunter traveled the world capturing 800 hearts in 44 countries in a celebration of the universal symbol of love.
Or, let’s take it one step further.
Maybe your honey has a favorite book from their youth, or a book you geeked out over together in college. See if you can find first edition books on eBay.
At a specialty bookshop, look for a signed copy of a favorite title. Pro tip: most authors will mail you a bookplate.
I once bought a first edition of my husband’s favorite book on eBay (Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover, if your partner is into science fiction and fantasy) and shipped it to the author with a self-addressed, pre-weighted envelope. It returned in time and is one of his prized possessions.
For something a little more fun, pair the book with a gift inspired by the book, like an antique magnifying glass for Sherlock Holmes, or a pocket book of Shakespeare’s Sonnets for Sense and Sensibility.
Out of Print Clothing also has some awesome accessories, tees, and totes based on famous books including their cool banned book collection (like the socks above) which would be great for a lover of the classics — and if you need them last minute, they’re available at tons of local bookstores and gift shops.
5. Keepsake Jewelry and Accessories. Love!
You’re not going to get anything personalized at this point, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of fantastic options. Check your favorite department store for their drop-dead shipping delivery dates for Valentine’s Day and you may luck out.
Tiffany & Co. for example (above), offers next-day delivery if you order before 3PM ET Monday, but it will cost you $30. (A drop in the bucket considering what you might be buying from there, though the heart charm above is fairly reasonable.)
Nordstrom of course has tons of jewelry for Valentine’s Day, great customer service, and flexible shipping options. You’ll find options in their guide for under $50… or you could totally splurge. It doesn’t all have to be hearts or initials either; we’d all be happy with that affordable She Believed She Could So She Did mantra bangle.
For something from a smaller artist, we suggest you visit local boutiques, museum shops, or a weekend flea market that supports local makers.
And if you’ve got a nearby Apple Store or even a Target — hello, Apple Watch! They’re even on sale right now!
6. An Experience Gift for Two.
There’s very little in life as pleasant as someone else taking care of everything, so an experience with thoughtful details will leave your giftee feeling cherished.
-Maybe tickets to the planetarium or a pro sports game?
-A spa day for two?
-A trip to the aquarium or zoo with a behind-the-scenes tour?
-A movie night IOU — complete with sitter — for those parents who don’t get out much?
-A wine tasting course or couple’s cooking lesson?
-A picnic in the park if you’re lucky enough to have good weather?
Whatever you choose, just tuck the tickets, gift card, or a photo that represents the experience into a card with a thoughtful note. Done!
Photo: William Stitt via Unsplash
7. An Experience Gift…for One!
Another way to look at this is an experience gift that shows you support your partner’s dreams.
Now that I’m in my late 30s, I feel like everyone around me is trying to find their purpose — or at least learn something new that’s always called to them. If your honey has always secretly dreamed of doing something big, a gift in that vein not only shows that you get them, but that you support them.
Look for classes, whether at a local business or online. If they want to get into photography, consider a camera. If they dream of being a rock star, try a guitar and the game Rocksmith, which plugs right into your electric guitar and bass and teaches you who to play all the songs you love. You can get an aspiring writer a creative writing class, a new journal, and a printable piece of art with writing advice. Find a juggling, calligraphy, or home brew kit. Sign them up for an intro class in trapeze, SCUBA, woodworking, or stand-up comedy.
That pic above is me at a flying trapeze class. That experience? Priceless.
Supporting someone’s dreams demonstrates your love and support in the best possible way. Even if it didn’t come together until 5PM the night of the 14th.
Photo: Me! Delilah!
8. Lingerie…Every Month. Ooh la la.
Getting new lingerie every month seems like a luxury to us, especially when our shopping bags are more likely to see juice boxes than lacy underthings. So the idea of Underclub, a subscription lingerie gift service, is pretty awesome.
Choose whether you prefer more “feminine and flirty,” “bold and fun” or one of their other categories — or let your recipient pick for herself — and they’ll send a pair of designer panties each month from the likes of Cosabella and Natori. As in, not the cheap trampy stuff. And yet, it’s still less than $25 a month.
9. Dinner for Two. Your Place. Dress: Optional.
Of course if you cook, a home-cooked meal is a great gift. But if you don’t? Even better.
There are so many ideas that can make the night special if you think a little. Maybe you whip up your sweetheart’s favorite dish for the first time. Maybe you serve breakfast for dinner, just for fun. Maybe you get spicy with a Mexican dinner that isn’t tacos.
Or go traditional and cook a perfect steak with these fantastic instructions. Heidi at FoodieCrush has incredible tips for making the Filet Mignon with Porcini Mushroom Compound Butter shown here, from Foodie Crush, that definitely gets us in the mood. There’s just something so primal about red meat, we can’t help it.
We’ve also got ideas for sweet pink cocktails and mocktails for Valentine’s Day.
And hey, if you’re stuck home with kids who aren’t going anywhere, check out Stacie’s ideas for 3 family Valentine’s dinners that turn into romantic dinners for two later. Clever!
10. A Gift Card…With a Caveat.
Tread carefully with gift cards, which may not send the intended Valentine’s Day message, i.e. “I’ve thought long and hard about this because you mean so much to me.”
However if you’re creative — say, a big Saks gift card for use in the lingerie department — you can score. Lots of gift cards can be delivered on the spot via email from the retailers we’ve mentioned here, from Tiffany & Co. to Nordstrom to the subscription box companies and gourmet food purveyors.
For the generous of heart, try a charity gift card from your Valentine’s favorite charity or from Charity Choice (above) which lets you choose from more than 1,000 charities. The physical card ships next business day but you’ll pay for overnight delivery.
Instead, send as an ecard, or print out the gift certificate and paste it into a real card. Talk about having a heart for Valentine’s Day.
For a more personal way to present a gift card, if you’re going to see your recipient in person, we love this super cute DIY idea at Design Mom: Free printable alphabet chocolate wraps. Wrapping up chocolate miniatures is so easy that our own kids have done it.
Just wrap, then affix to a card in a saying of your choice. Inside, pop a gift card, coupon, IOU. Sweet!
11. Subscription Gift Boxes
We have so many ideas for the best subscription gift boxes, you can surely find the perfect one. Your recipient should be able to receive a notification via email that the box will ship soon, which is one step better than an IOU.
So, what’s their poison?
There’s Mistobox and Blue Bottle for coffee; Olive Box for fans of stationery and pretty things; Quarterly for the on-trend tastemaker; and of course the original Birchbox (his or hers) for the cosmetics junkie.
We’ve also got plenty of gourmet subscription box ideas on Cool Mom Eats, whether your beloved is a fan of chocolates, international foods (like the box from Try the World, shown above), or even a box dedicated just to wacky treats from Japan.
And speaking of wacky, for less conventional last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts, there are tons of subscription box options too. I’m super intrigued by the Mysterious Package Company, where you send an experience — A cursed book! A magic lantern! — over several mailings, including an Indiana Jones-worthy crate that must be pried apart.
There’s Lick My Dip for fans of spicy foods; Raw Spice Bar for fans of, well, exotic spices; Survivalist Box for the outdoorsman or woman; Golf Pro Market for the golf fan; Bloomin’ Bin for gardeners.
We’re just stopping here for now. But clearly, there’s a box to suit any kind of last-minute Valentine’s Day gift recipient anywhere.
12. Printable Artwork
Pick a favorite quote, sentiment, or theme and search Etsy. You’re likely to find a piece of downloadable, very affordable printable art. Now just frame it up and you get a daily reminder of your affections.
We love the modern, bold, printable XO artwork from Hello Alex Design — just 5 bucks! I also am really drawn to the very current combo of calligraphy and flowers from Rosemary Letters, but the options are endless.
You can always search quotes if you two share a favorite show, movie, or book. An I Am Yours and You Are Mine print for GoT fans? Perfect.
13. A Box of Nooky. Really.
Want to go a step further than lingerie? Allow me to delicately mention that you can find all sorts of fun things to do (possibly in that lingerie) with a specialty box from Unbound.
Whether you’re looking to get a little 50 Shades or just want something fun to do in the shower, there are tons of choices from vanilla to Christian Grey.
14. A DIY Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift
If you’re crafty, well then lucky you because you’ve got the world of affordable, last-minute gifts at your fingertips. Literally. We have a whole post on handmade Valentines gift ideas and even more inspiration from our post on 17 DIY Valentine’s gifts that kids can make — note that plenty would be amazing coming from you too.
Like this DIY XO mug, above, from The Proper Blog, that I think even non-crafty people could make look good.
Fill it with your sweetheart’s favorite tea, coffee, or cocoa for an extra special touch.
It may not have to be more than a card with a thoughtful note. If you’re up for it, you have to check out the tutorial for this handmade watercolor heart and calligraphy card from Oh So Very Pretty. But of course, you don’t have to be super crafty to nail a fantastic DIY gift.
You can also bake something! I love Stacie’s ideas for ways to turn a pan of brownies into Valentine’s Day dessert, like these yummy homemade Fudgy Brownie Hearts with Raspberry Buttercream via A Farm Girl Dabbles. Oof.
15. A Photo of the Two of You, Made More Artful. Awww…
Consider a favorite couple-y photo, printed out and framed. Liz made the one here just by editing a photo of her parents using the Brushstroke app on her iPhone, which can make your photos look like an actual painting. How cute are her dad and stepmother? Let’s hope we all look so happy after 30+ years of marriage.