It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, and you don’t know what to do. As the day for romance approaches, individuals around the world face the same predicament: how to find the perfect last-minute gift.
To be fair, shelter-in-place isn’t the most conducive to being in intimate relationships or getting to know someone new. Still, now is not the time to lose hope! Especially during a pandemic, reaching out to show someone you care means a lot. We’re starved for social contact, isolated and glued to our screens—at this point, those elementary Sweetheart candies and heart-shaped scented stickers would suffice.
That said, sometimes the answer lies in simplicity: something tried and true, genuine and you. It doesn’t have to be grand or expensive; sometimes the little gestures mean the most. Here are five pandemic-safe last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts in ascending order of intimacy.
From long-standing relationships to shy crushes, you can’t go wrong with the good old flowers and a card. Write a sweet message, handpick some blossoms and leave it on his or her doorstep for a simple, meaningful gift. You might not even have to risk going to the store—the perfect flowers might be in your backyard or neighborhood! Elevate a card with hand-doodled decorations, and don’t worry if you’re not Picasso. It’s the thought that counts.
Sometimes, the key to the heart is through the stomach. If you’re up to baking, a treat fresh from the oven is always heart-warming on a cold winter day. Try a short cookie, brownie or muffin recipe and have your gift ready in less than an hour. Alternatively, if you don’t have a keen sense in the kitchen, pick out some of your significant other’s favorite snacks or sweets to show that you’ve been paying attention.
Better than any cheap gift is a lasting memory. Instead of a physical item, give your significant other a few hours of your time. While going out to dinner isn’t a viable option, there are some pandemic-friendly alternatives! Whip up a home meal and have a socially-distanced afternoon picnic. Hold a FaceTime call over takeout food. Drop off some popcorn and share a movie night together over Zoom. If you’re too pressed for time, it’s not worth the stress; instead, take the day to relax with your special someone.
Relationships are made of memories, and now’s the time to celebrate the best of them. Pull up your camera roll and find those hidden gems to create a collage of your favorite moments together. Print these out for a physical poster, string them together as polaroids, edit them into a video, frame them or just message them online in a nostalgic package that’ll make your significant other smile. Short on photos? Put together a meaningful compilation of songs on a modern version of those old-school mixtapes. This could be a CD, a flash drive or a boombox playing outside his or her bedroom window—hey, it complies with social distancing!
Ladies, prepare your handkerchiefs. Long ago, such a white cloth—better yet, a monogrammed handkerchief—was a precious token of affection for suitors or officers going to war. Now, handkerchiefs aren’t quite so common, but a similar token or memento of affection will do. For those willing to go the extra mile for a loved one, to truly show that you care, the sacrifice of your favorite personal garment is the epitome of intimacy. This might be a T-shirt, sweatshirt or accessory such as a baseball cap or scarf with which you’re willing to part. Either way, it doesn’t cost a cent, and it comes from the heart, just as any Valentine’s Day gift should.