Do you get stressed every year, say around Valentine’s Day? If you’re dating someone or are married, every year it becomes increasingly difficult to top the gift from the year before. It’s easy to lose sight of the how special it can be to exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. I know it sounds cliche, but the amount you spend on the gift really shouldn’t be the focus. If you’re too stressed, you may need to take a second to breathe and make a list of all the things your significant other, or best friend (it is a holiday about friendship too, you know!) likes or perhaps a list of words that describe them perfectly. This will help you jumpstart your brainstorming. Seriously, get your pen and paper out. Now. Or open a Post-It app on your phone. That works too.
The following is a list of gift ideas that I have put together for some of the close people in my life. Please keep in mind that you can definitely tailor these to either your talents or for the person you have in mind:
1. Custom or Personalized T-Shirts - Custom or personalized anything really is a winner, usually. Years ago, I dated someone that was really passionate about music. In the months that preceded Valentine’s Day that year, they mentioned how hard they had looked for a few vintage t-shirts of a particular band’s albums, without any luck. I tried looking for them myself on a trip to NYC and it was impossible. I found a store online that makes shirts to order if you send them the artwork to recreate. I had them made to order and they were ready just in time for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t spend too much and he loved it. Once you have made your list of attributes and hobbies, decide on perhaps a personalized item that complements either list. If you want to take it a step further, you can try making the gift as a little DIY project.
2. Homemade Bakery Treats - The holidays are both a curse and a blessing. The curse part is mostly due to all the sweets and baked goods lying around-sweets that somehow make their way onto your plate and then mysteriously disappear all too quickly. Take a moment to bake that special someone their favorite baked treat - cupcakes, cookies, bread, muffins, cake pops or all of the above. Wrap them up in cute Valentine’s Day Cello Bags or Cupcake Boxes. Presentation is half the battle!
3. Frame a Favorite Memory - It’s not the most original gift idea, but you can add your own touch to make it original. I love doing projects in Adobe Illustrator or PhotoShop and a couple years ago, I recreated one of my favorite pictures of my sister and me in PhotoShop. I then blew it up and mounted it on a large piece of wood I had stained. I coated the piece with clear varnish and nailed a wall mount to the back for easy hanging. It came out so great and she was practically in tears. The whole project took maybe a week? Just plan ahead. You can also add borders at your local print shop or decorate a plain frame. It really is the thought that counts. You’ll have fun putting this gift together and seeing the expression on their face when they open it.
4. Scrapbook or DVD Photo Compilation - I’m not a huge scrapbooker, but I do love the final product. A while back I put one of these together for someone and I was so pleased with it that I almost kept it for myself. I had saved movie stubs, concert tickets, photographs and little mementos from special dates. I decorated the book with stickers and colorful captions with recaps of the memories. If you’re really tech savvy, you can make a DVD slide show with photographs, video clips, and music. They’ll be showing these off to everyone, trust me!
5. Chocolate Kiss Messages - Conversation hearts are so much fun on Valentine’s Day — put your own spin on a similar gift idea using chocolate Hershey’s kisses. A couple years ago, my brother’s girlfriend wrote out more than 25 reasons why she loved him and attached each one to a chocolate kiss. She put it in a cute jar and decorated it. Isn’t that so adorable?
Again, the amount you spend on these gifts is not what makes them special. DIY gifts are special and from the heart. It shows the person you had them in mind the entire time you were putting the gift together.