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10 Meaningful Valentine’s Day Gifts You Can Make

Alden Wicker

’Tis the time of year when you are once again encouraged to spend money to prove your affection. But didn’t someone say money can’t buy love? Sure, Zady has some lovely gifts that come with the added benefit of being crafted with care, like an arrow ring Cupid would be proud of, this dapper bow tie, a gorgeous leather iPad cover, this pink candle to set the mood or a cool dent bud vase to hold a whimsical bouquet. But if you want to try your hand at coming up with something creative for your best guy or gal yourself this Valentine’s Day, we have 10 ideas they’ll remember for years to come.

Craft Bespoke Cocktails

If you two love to go out for a nicely made cocktail, get out the cocktail shaker this Valentine’s Day and try it yourself! Try a simple Pink Plymouth Gin & Tonic, or, for something more creative and impressive, mix up the Red and the Black, which is served at one our favorite New York restaurants, Back Forty.

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Put a stamp on it. Photo by Julie Edgley / Creative Commons

Write a Letter

One sad by-product of the Internet age is that you don’t have physical love letters to tie up with a ribbon and put away to read later. Remedy the situation by pretending you’ve gone away on a trip for a month, and write a letter from the heart to your significant other. Talk about what you miss about them, describe memories of your time together, and even talk about your day as if you didn’t have the ability to text them the minutia instantaneously. If you don’t live together, put a heart stamp on it and mail it to him or her a couple of days before Valentine’s Day. If you do live together, slip it in the mailbox on Valentine’s Day, then ask them to pick up the mail.

Send Them on a Scavenger Hunt

The scavenger hunt, in which you leave clues for your lover directing them to the next until they arrive at a special destination, allows for endless variations and themes to make it unique. If they enjoy puzzles, keep the clues cryptic for an extra challenge. You can involve special people in your life by leaving clues with friends, parents, kids, on your dog’s collar, or with the barista at the coffee shop you enjoy together. Or you can hide the clues in places and things symbolic to your relationship—the Sunday paper, behind your wedding photo, etc. Make sure to end the scavenger hunt at a nice place, either at a picnic spot, a restaurant, bar, hotel room or even just at home with a dinner that you cooked while they were out running around following your clues.

Start a Love Notebook

Pick out a nice notebook (our Le Kraft leather-bound version would do nicely) and start a yearly tradition by writing down 14 things you love about your partner. Of course, 14 things is just not enough. So, either continue to add to it throughout the year, or wait until next Valentine’s Day to continue the tradition.

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The book of love.

Get Inspired by Literature

If your sweetie loves to read, pick up a few books about fictional and real famous couples—My Life in France by Julia Child is a surprising but perfect choice. To make it special, use pink highlighter to point out quotes or inspirational sections you especially love. Make sure to inscribe a love note and date on the inside cover.

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Heart-shaped cakes are surprisingly easy to make.

Bake a Heart-Shaped Cake

You don’t need a heart-shaped pan to make a sweet cake: You just need a round and square pan, and double the cake recipe. This tutorial uses chocolate cake with pink icing, but we love the idea of slicing into a red velvet heart under white buttercream icing.

Create a Time Capsule

This is a project you’ll work on together. Print out some pictures of you together. Write down lists of some of your favorites: where you like to spend time together, your favorite memories, the meals you love to eat together, etc. Put in pictures of the place where you currently live. Write down your dreams for the future. Describe the people you spend the most time with. Describe your daily life. And, of course, talk about why you love each other. Then seal it in a waterproof container, put it in a box, label the date when you are allowed to open it (10 years from now, your 30th anniversary, when your children get married) and put it in the back of your closet for safekeeping.

Plan Your Travels

Buy an attractive world map worthy of framing. Then highlight the places you’ve traveled together with heart stickers, pins or the dates you went there. For extra love, circle in pencil the places you would like to travel with them next.

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A memory jar takes many shapes.

Plan Your Best Year Ever

Write down everything you would like to do with your honey this year on small pieces of paper. (We’re not talking dirty activities. Though, come to think of it, that would work too.) Some ideas include ice skating, trying dim sum, staying at a bed and breakfast for the weekend, visiting that cool new exhibition or taking a cooking class together. Roll up all the pieces of paper, tie them with ribbons and put them in a jar to inspire you for the rest of the year.

Put Together a Romantic Movie Night Basket

Avoid the hordes of couples eating out and plan something special in. Fill a box or basket with mini Champagne bottles, fancy popcorn, a movie, playing cards, a takeout menu from a local restaurant you both like and—if you have a fireplace—all the ingredients for s’mores and two sticks for holding the marshmallows over the fire.

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