valentine's day

For Valentine’s Day, Get Your Partner a Gift You Want

Photo: Getty Images

Here’s a fact about our modern existence: Too many occasions seem to require gifts. I don’t know about you and your loved ones, but my husband’s birthday was in November, December was Christmas, now it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and before you know it, our anniversary will strike again. And that’s to say nothing about all the gifts for everyone else having birthdays and bridal showers and weddings. I like to think of myself as a generous person, but at some point, it’s just too much.

But one good thing about Valentine’s Day is that, compared to other gift-giving occasions, it’s pretty low stakes. For birthdays and the winter holidays, there’s a lot of pressure to get the people you love something thoughtful that they will cherish for years: Birthdays are so personal, and during the holidays, gift-giving often takes place in front of other people, upping the ante. But February 14 is just another day. And, your partner is probably still basking in the glow of the thoughtful, unique gift you gave them in December — which is why Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to get them a gift that you want.

For example, this year, I’m considering getting my husband a nice bath mat, which is something I’ve wanted for years. Back when we were moving apartments, we bought the cheapest bath mat we could find at Ikea, which I assumed would be a temporary placeholder. Three years later, it’s still in our bathroom.

I’m of the belief that often the best gift is a nicer version of an ordinary thing — a luxurious upgrade someone would be unlikely to purchase for themselves, but will thoroughly enjoy owning. For example, my sister recently gave me a bottle of Aesop soap. I would never have bought a $40 bottle of hand soap for myself, but now, whenever I wash my hands, I inhale the scent of mandarin rind and rosemary leaf and feel very decadent and appreciative.

Similarly, I would have a hard time splurging on a $60 bath mat for myself. But if I’m buying it as a gift for someone else? Suddenly, it seems much more reasonable.

Getting your partner a present that is also a gift for yourself is probably most natural if you live together, but even if you don’t, there are plenty of things that you could share. Here are seven things that I want for Valentine’s Day. Who knows, they could also be things that you want — in which case, I bet they’d make great Valentine’s Day gifts.

Nice Bath Mat

Luckily for me, the New York Times recently wrote a guide to shopping for bath mats, and included this very plush-looking one from Coyuchi, which has been following me in my Google ads ever since.

Nice Shower Curtain

While I was on the Coyuchi website looking at bath mats, I noticed that they also have some very nice shower curtains, which would give my bathroom a zen upgrade.

Knife Block

From $30

Maybe you already have one of these, but I don’t, and I want one.

Fancy Serving Utensils

Whenever we have people over, I realize the only utensils we have to serve food are rubber tongs. These olive-wood salad servers are very beautiful.

Linen Napkins

Admittedly, I already own some linen napkins, but they are always wrinkly. Maybe these ones would be better! I’d like them in terra-cotta.

Fancy Moisturizer

My face has been so dry lately that I almost bought this moisturizer on the spot, until I realized it was $94. But it would be a very generous gift — and you could definitely share it.

Fancy Shampoo

I would also like to try this fancy moisturizing shampoo. Maybe you and/or the person you love would, too.

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For Valentine’s Day, Get Your Partner a Gift You Want