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Surprises Better than Traditional Valentine's Day Gifts - Creative Ideas for Your Lover All Year Long

Updated on January 28, 2024
Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn is an online writer who writes about lots of holiday topics!

Special jewelry for Valentine's Day

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My guy knows how I love cats, so a cat on a nice necklace is perfect for me. I think this was a birthday present.
My guy knows how I love cats, so a cat on a nice necklace is perfect for me. I think this was a birthday present.
My guy knows how I love cats, so a cat on a nice necklace is perfect for me. I think this was a birthday present. | Source

Special Gifts that Stick Out in Your Mind

Do some gifts that you have received stick out in your mind? Are there some special mementos, even as small as a hand-written note, that stand out as special, something you have saved, something you could never part with? I know that has happened to me. And it’s not just on Valentine’s Day. As a matter of fact, the most special gifts I’ve received have rarely been on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day comes with expectations. Certain items become the expected and the norm for many couples--flowers, jewelry, and boxes of chocolates (yeah, you kind of do sometimes know what you’re gonna get, Forrest). Do you ever want something different? Something unexpected? Something out of the blue? Something that means more than the most expensive gift you have ever received?

If you’re lucky, you have received that type of gift. Some of the best gifts (okay, THE best) are those surprises, those special gifts from the heart. Whether you want to surprise your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day or you really want to rev up your romance or just enhance your relationship throughout the year, there are things you can do to really impart that special feeling. It doesn’t cost a lot of money either. Just time, a bit of effort, and a lot of heart. Here are some ideas based on my own experiences. Look at your own situation and listen to your heart to come up with more of your own.

A personalized gift

Oxford Dictionary with sticky note
Oxford Dictionary with sticky note | Source

Inside Knowledge - Something Important to Both of You

Do you have some kind of secret between the two of you, some inside joke, or even some special phrase that has special meaning only to you and your special someone? if you do, then incorporate it into a gift.

One of the first adjectives my boyfriend used to describe me was "swell." What a swell gal I am! So one year, after the English geek in me expressed to him how much I love looking through really thorough dictionaries, my guy bought me a huge, heavy Oxford dictionary for my birthday. I know, I know! Some girlfriends would be totally turned off by such a gift, but I was overjoyed. And what was ultra-romantic is the sticky note he had on the front of the dictionary, where he wrote "See page 1717." On that page was the word "swell"--and the definition. So sweet . . . .

And I love to give my guy stuffed bears. Funny. He loves stuffed bears. Funny for an older guy? I think it's endearing. I pick him up bears here and there throughout the year to give to him, even if they're from a garage sale. I look for unique ones that I know he will like. He loves getting them any time of year and has them spread throughout his house!

A teddy bear I gave my boyfriend

Special bear even with the scruffy nose!
Special bear even with the scruffy nose! | Source

Valentine's Day Gifts

What are your favorite Valentine's Day gifts?

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Give a Hand-Written Note

Write a note anytime of the year to express your feelings for someone you love. Whether it’s for your special valentine, a family member, or a special child, pour out your heart on a piece of paper or card. Say to the person things that are familiar only to the two of you.

Since the dictionary gift, my special guy has given me notes from time to time to say simply, “I still think you’re swell” or “You’re the swellest.” It makes me know that the feelings he felt for me in the early days of our relationship are still there. He can give me that note on Valentine’s Day, my birthday, on Ground Hog Day--whatever day--and I feel special.

Bottom line? He likes me. I’m “swell. His random gifts--just simple notes--remind me of that.

Each Day is Valentine's Day - by Ella Fitzgerald

Make Your Own Valentine Card

Another way to make your sweetheart feel special is to give a card at anytime during the year—for no reason. Just to say you appreciate the person. If you really want to give a special card, make one!

If you don’t feel too creative, cut out a picture from a magazine onto a piece of paper or construction paper, and just add a message to it. Think about the crafty cards that children make for their mothers that are kept and stored and cherished for years and years. It’s no less special for adults to give these to each other.

Sweet, homemade Valentine card
Sweet, homemade Valentine card | Source

Put Together a Special Photo Album

After my boyfriend’s beloved Buster dog died, we had a really hard time with that. At some point, I decided to put together some pictures I had in a little album for him.I took my label maker to put something on each special photo that I included. This photo album touched his heart. And it's still sitting prominently in his living room.

Take some pictures together or find some you have taken in the past. Put them together in a special photo album. It will be a hit for sure.

Give a Single Flower

I have said for years that I didn’t need flowers. They are expensive, and they die soon. I would always say that if you’re going to buy flowers, get the discounted ones from the department stores. $12.99 instead of $60 for a dozen roses.

I don’t need a dozen roses—for any price. Yes, they are nice. However, recently, after my boyfriend was going through a rough time and I had spent a lot of time at his place supporting him, listening to him vent, and perhaps even driving me a bit crazy . . . I went over to his place one night and he had a pretty, wrapped rose for me. A single rose. No explanation needed, but we both knew. These gestures are special throughout the year—Valentine’s Day or not.

A Single Rose. . . .

Single rose from my boyfriend for no reason, or maybe just for being supportive about something he had to go through.
Single rose from my boyfriend for no reason, or maybe just for being supportive about something he had to go through. | Source
My guy's personal message and charicature
My guy's personal message and charicature | Source

Draw a Picture

My guy writes me notes now and then for different occasions, maybe just a thank you for checking on his dog while he was away visiting. For over the decade that I’ve known him, he often sketches out his profile, okay, well a caricature of his face, particularly his larger nose that he continually makes fun of. I always laugh.

In this particular note, he also said to me, "You're still swell." There is that special word again that we have shared.

And note that the sketch is complete with hearts and flowers. What more could anyone want from that special guy or gal?

George Winston's "Autumn"

Take a Drive to a Special Place

Driving to a special place that you both enjoy is a sentimental gift for both of you to enjoy. Or a creative outing can be really appreciated any time of year. One year, I invited the guy I was dating out for a drive in beautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas, particularly Mount Sequoyah. This conference campus on the hill is gorgeous, a well-known lovely scene, particularly when the autumn leaves are changing colors. While we drove, I played in my car George Winston's piano music: the solo, "Autumn." My guy remarked what a thoughtful idea I had come up with.

Make a Heart-Shaped Meatloaf

I made a heart-shaped meatloaf for my guy last year.
I made a heart-shaped meatloaf for my guy last year. | Source

Make a Special Meal or Drink

My guy and I do this a lot. We cook for each other often, and we have some tasty dishes that are special between us . . . and have become sentimental.

My boyfriend is an egg guy. One of his specialties he has perfected is a cheesy omelet. Simply made but ultra tasty with a subtle Swiss or a strong white cheddar cheese, slightly fried in the pan. Oh, yeah! If he wants to cheer me up, he can always offer a cheese omelet.

In the heat of summer, he knows how much we enjoy homemade malts. So he will buy the stuff and make them for us. He's diabetic, so we go with the "no sugar added" ice cream, along with milk and malt, and these things are delectable. And special to us.

I do some special things myself, too! Last year, I even made a Valentine shaped meatloaf! But I make other meals for him all year long.

Make Every Day Special

Give your special loved one surprises every day, not just on Valentine's Day. Look at the picture below. My guy's self-portraits of himself with his exaggerated big nose show up now and then on notes to me throughout the year. And the thrill I feel is no less than it was the first time I ever saw his little sketches.

Little notes to remind the person you're thinking of them--any time of the year!
Little notes to remind the person you're thinking of them--any time of the year! | Source

© 2014 Victoria Lynn


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