Whether or not you embrace the holiday, chances are you’re going to be trolling the aisles looking for the right gift for this Valentine’s Day. If you can’t tolerate giving (or getting) another bouquet of roses or a drugstore teddy bear, check out our list of creative and potentially life-changing gift ideas.
Perfect for: S’mores addicts
Whether you go for a custom-built brick beauty or an inexpensive freestanding bowl, you’ll both wonder how you ever lived without flickering flames out back. Add a few Adirondack chairs with blankets and suddenly there’s nothing stopping you from roasting marshmallows even when the temperature drops.
Perfect for: The time-pressured primper
A high-end blow-dryer can bring about romantic harmony by eliminating morning stress, drying her hair faster and fighting frizz better than a drugstore model. It also weighs less, so her arm won’t get sore. And if she’s less grumpy, you both win.
Perfect for: Adventurous cooks
These high-tech water ovens, once only found in pro kitchens, are gaining popularity among home cooks. The basic premise: You insert seasoned ingredients like meat, veggies or fruit in a sealed plastic pouch (sous vide means “under vacuum” in French) and they slowly cook to moist perfection. Sous vide fans rave that the machines are easy to use and help food retain flavor, but we just like the way “soo-veed” rolls off the tongue.
Perfect for: The parent who needs to catch up on ZZZs
Sleep experts suggest getting new pillows every few years or when they start to become less supportive. If you can't remember when you last replaced yours, it’s time to hit the linen store. These days there’s a pillow for every personality. Feather, memory foam, gel, microbead and buckwheat are a few options.
Perfect for: Commuters, exercise junkies, iTunes freaks
If your spouse is still rocking the basic white ear buds that came with the device, do the right thing and swap them out. Thanks to new and better technology, you don’t need to wear a giant pair of headphones to get great-quality sound.
Perfect for: Mr. Nostalgia with a man-cave
There’s a time and a place for Wii and Xbox, but if you’ve got space to spare, we suggest splurging on a real-deal, full-size vintage arcade game. The only problem? Getting his pals to go home.
Perfect for: The not-so-dapper dude
Is your man allergic to tinkly music, essential oils and water walls? If so, here’s a way to sneak him the TLC he needs, minus the girly atmosphere. Once he’s gotten the full barbershop treatment (hot towels, thick lather, precise shave), he’ll be angling to go every week.
Perfect for: Top Chef wannabes
A snazzy spigot like Delta Faucet’s Addison® Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with Touch2O® Technology can be turned on and off with the flick of a wrist (or elbow or forearm), invaluable when your hands are covered with meat or dough. And the magnetic hose whips the wand back in place with a whoosh. If you can’t swing the cost of remodeling your favorite cook’s entire kitchen, this is a thoughtful place to start.
Perfect for: Sentimental sorts
We bet getting some quality pictures of your clan has been on the to-do list for a while. These shoots are fun bonding experiences, and you’ll snag some gorgeous keepsakes.
Perfect for: Critter-lovers
Make a donation to a zoo earmarked for a specific resident’s feeding and upkeep. (Depending on your location, lions, bald eagles and kangaroos may be available.) Your giftee may also get perks like free admission or a private tour to meet “her” animal and caretaker, which sounds like a fun date to us.