Last Minute Valentine Gifts
The 14th is almost upon us – are you still trying to get that “perfect” gift?? When my kids were little, I started a tradition where I asked for something “free” from them for Mother’s Day, my birthday, etc. I got poems, crafts, cards, back rubs, breakfast in bed and when I look back, those are the gifts that I remember the most. Free usually means “had to think about it”, and we women love when we know that lots of thought went into a gift that we receive.
I found this list of 50 gift suggestions for Your Valentine under $5. The complete list is at Penny Hoarder. I have picked out my favourites:
Love Thoughts in a Jar
All you’ll need for this one is a jar and a few pieces of paper. Tear or cut the paper into strips and write something special on each strip. Then, fold the strips in half and put them into the jar. All you’ll need for this one is a jar and a few pieces of paper. Tear or cut the paper into strips and write something special on each strip. Then, fold the strips in half and put them into the jar.
When your Valentine wants a little extra love, all he or she has to do is take a strip out of the jar and read one of your messages.
Book of Memories
Buy an inexpensive sketchbook or notebook. Then, fill each page with a memory — the place you first met, the first time you held hands, the concert the two of you attended last spring. Draw, write, glue in ticket stubs, do whatever you want to make this book a true book of memories. Chances are it will be an unforgettable gift.
The coupon book is another classic gift that has almost crossed over into cliche. The secret to making it work is to put together coupons that your Valentine actually wants.
Does your Valentine like picking the movie you watch together? Does your Valentine like not having to do the dishes? Choosing the right coupons is what makes this gift special.
Massage Night (this could be one of the coupons)
Get some massage oil, put out some towels over freshly-washed sheets, and give your special someone the massage he or she has always wanted. Try the Ask Men massage guide if you’ve never given a massage before, or look for more resources online.
Get an inexpensive notebook, write a journal entry, and give it to your Valentine with the instructions to read what’s inside, write a new journal entry, and give the notebook back.
Keep this pattern going until the notebook is full. A shared journal is a lovely way to write about hopes, dreams and plans for the future.
Have you read the book The Wednesday Letters? It’s the story of a man who writes his wife a new love letter each Wednesday.
Why not make this Valentine’s Day the start of a Wednesday Letter tradition of your own? Give the gift of a love letter, and tell your Valentine that it is the first of many.
Clean All The Things
Want a gift that your Valentine will really love? Try a perfectly cleaned home.
Find an excuse for your special someone to be out of the house or apartment on Valentine’s Day morning and then scrub, wash, sweep and fold. Top it off with a few flowers in a vase or a plate of homemade cookies on the table.
Love Songs – CD with love songs that mean something for the two of you
Jelly Belly Flavor and/or Bulk Candy
Nearly everybody has a secret, favorite Jelly Belly flavor. (Mine’s popcorn.) Figure out your beau’s favorite bean and show your Valentine that you pay attention to the little things. The bulk candy aisle offers plenty of opportunities to put together a $5 gift that tastes better — and is much more personalized — than a cheap box of waxy Valentine’s candy.
Remember, if you’re giving jelly beans or bulk candy, the presentation is also what makes the present: put it in an attractive bag or box, tie it up with a ribbon, and make your gift as special as the recipient.
While we’re on the subject of crafts and presentation: a handmade card can often be one of the best and most treasured Valentine’s Day presents.
Anyone can go to the grocery store and get a 99-cent card with a pre-printed message. Only you can make a one-of-a-kind card with your own heartfelt statement of love.
Do your talents lie more in painting or sketching than they do in jewelry? Make your special someone a piece of original art. It’s hard to go wrong with a flattering portrait or a sketch of the place where the two of you shared your first kiss.
Art for Two
First, make your own fingerpaint from one of the many recipes available. Then, buy the biggest sheet of posterboard you can get for under $5 and invite your Valentine to make art together. The tactile, messy fingerpaint is a lot of fun, and if you choose an edible fingerpaint recipe, you’ll have one more way to remember the evening.
Write your Valentine a love poem. It worked for Shakespeare, and it’ll work for you. Choose one of the classic poetry formats, such as the sonnet or the villanelle, or create your own.
Take your poem one step further by setting it to music. How many people get a song written just for them? Perform it for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, and you’ll learn that the best gifts don’t have to cost a thing.
Give your special someone an old T-shirt. Chances are, they’ll sleep in it, because it smells like you.
(As with most of the gifts on this list, presentation is everything; handing your sweetheart an old shirt is gross, but wrapping it up and writing a heartfelt message is lovely.)
Old Shirt Turned into a Pillow
Take the T-shirt idea to the next level by turning an old T-shirt into a pillow. Use this Instructables guide to get started. You’ll need to get something to stuff the pillow with, which you can generally get at a craft store (or somewhere like Walmart) for under $5.
Home cooked Meal
As with the picnic idea, whether you’ll be able to keep this one under $5 depends on what you already have in the pantry.
Remember that even a simple meal of spaghetti and garlic bread can be memorable and remarkable if you present it correctly: table settings, candles and mood music all help make the evening.
While everyone else is getting expensive bouquets delivered to their Valentines’ workplaces, why not give your date a plate of delicious homemade cookies? You can also take these cookies with you for a picnicking or stargazing adventure.
“I Love You” Cake
Even if you don’t think of yourself as much of a cake decorator, you can still bake a cake from a box, add frosting, and then use decorator icing to spell out “I Love You.” (You might want to practice a few times on a plate to get the knack of making legible letters.)
Here’s another free gift that I have given people: Create a puzzle hunt for your Valentine. It can be something as simple as a card with a coded message inside, or something as complex as a scavenger hunt where one puzzle leads to another.
If you aren’t familiar with codes and ciphers, you’ll find plenty online, or you can always use the simple A=1, B=2, etc.
Get your creative mind going and let this be a Valentine’s Day that will be remembered forever.
Your Turn: What is the best low-cost Valentine’s Day gift you ever received? What made that gift special?