Forget every tired Valentine’s Day cliché that’s been beaten into your psyche by greeting cards and romantic comedies. Sure, flowers are nice and you can’t go wrong with chocolate. But jewelry is tricky at the best of times and red hearts make most of us mildly uncomfortable.
What would your Valentine really like? What would make them feel better, make their life easier, or blow them away with your thoughtful genius?
Still stumped? We’ve got your back.
Here are nine creative ideas for gifts to give this Valentine’s Day that are more about experiences you can share together than things. Show your loved one exactly how loved they are. Plus, any one of these ideas will make you look like the best boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/domestic partner/dog co-parent in the known universe.
Average cost: $74/hour
Has she been hunched over a computer for the last week and suddenly taken to lurching around in the kitchen like Frankenstein with a slipped disc? Get her a massage.
Average cost: $49/hour ($148/lesson)
You always talk about how great it would be to make your own garlic naan as you’re pressing speed dial for the Indian joint that delivers. Here’s a chance to learn together. Or, if she hates cooking, here’s your opportunity to surprise her by whipping out a bulb of garlic the next time she reaches for the battered takeout menu.
Average cost: $85/hour ($272/consult)
Whether shopping is a beloved or reviled activity, everyone could use a little wardrobe help. Consultants can take the pain out of your closet in a variety of ways – including helping you dump what doesn’t work and setting you up effortlessly with what does.
Private Yoga/Dance/Pilates Lessons
Average cost: $60/hour for private yoga
Togetherness at its best – minus the awkwardness of all those other people unrolling mats like they have any right to be at the 7:15 Vinyasa class. Work up some endorphins together. Bonus: You may be inspired to work up endorphins in another way afterward.
Couple or Family Photography
Average cost: $113/hour
You’ve mastered the selfie. Now let a professional take a shot. Just think of all the likes you’ll get on Facebook.
Get Competitive with Golf or Tennis
Average cost: $106/hour for golf lessons
Build Your Partner a Space
Average cost: $46/hour for a handyman
Make your wife a crafting space. Hire a contractor to build your husband a man cave. Having a space to do what you love individually helps build a more solid space for your relationship to bloom. Plus, you won’t have to listen to people yelling about footballs or sewing machines any more.
Get Your Portrait Painted
Average cost: $114/hour
Take your favorite photo of the two of you and hire an illustrator to turn it into an heirloom-worthy piece of art.
Write a Love Note. Have it Written in Calligraphy.
Average cost: $35/hour ($83/project)
Spill your guts and then hire a calligrapher to turn it into a gorgeous gift. Hint: you may want to keep it PG-13. Because it will probably end up framed and you don’t want to dodge awkward glances from your mother-in-law.
Voilà. Valentine’s Day has been owned.