Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Long-Term Relationships

Andrew and I will have been together for 8 years this March.  8 years is a lot of presents being exchanged! Valentine's day is always a little weird when it comes to presents, because it is so close to the present-exchange that is December (both of our birthdays and Christmas), and it is also the month before our anniversary.  Plus, neither of us are very interested in receiving traditional Valentine's day gifts of heart shaped boxes of chocolates or flowers. 

Valentine's Day 2015, when we coincidentally got each other the same cards.

Over the years, we have decided different things when it comes to exchanging gifts on Valentine's day.  Creating a plan or guidelines really helps once you are this many Valentine's days into a relationship.  One year, we decided to stick to a $25 budget each, which made for a more creative gift-giving/shopping process.  Last year, we decided the limit would be $100.  Setting a budget is a great idea for couples who have been through several of these Hallmark holidays already but still want to do something fun for each other besides going to dinner (especially if one partner's love language is gifts).  

This year, we haven't really discussed what we are doing for Valentine's day, even though it will be here before we know it.  I haven't even thought about getting him anything, which is unusual for me.  One idea we are toying with for this year's Valentine's day is both setting a smaller limit on the gift (around $25-50) and requiring that the gift come from a local store in our new SF neighborhood.  

Here are some of the gifts we have exchanged in the past: 

~ $100 BUDGET

Andrew's present to me: Gucci silk scarf (~$140, at the time, around $195 now)

Okay, he went over budget, but I'm not complaining! I love this scarf, and even though I basically only remember to wear it around Valentine's day, it could work at any time.  I'm planning to wear it as part of my Valentine's day lewk this year too! 

My present to Andrew: a bonsai olive tree (~$100 in CA where you can't order plants, but cheaper to ship to other states!)

This was one of the gifts I have been most proud of. I knew Andrew would love it, and it's something totally unexpected and he had no idea that I would get it for him.  A gift he never knew he needed!  Our bonsai was thriving up until we left our apartment for 2 weeks to go to Montana and didn't think to leave the bonsai with anyone.  Now, a year later, he is struggling, but we are not giving up on him! Bonsai trees are fun to watch and take care of, but they clearly need a lot of attention.  This tree requires showering just about every day, and it's really hard to pay attention to that or make sure that happens especially when you go on vacation.  We're thinking now that we have a balcony, he might be happier outside!

~ $25 BUDGET

Andrew got me: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is our favorite books, also written by Donna Tartt. We had been wanting to read her other books, and Andrew got me one for Valentine's day! Thoughtful! I read this book and while it wasn't as good as The Goldfinch, it was still enjoyable and I'm glad I read it. 

I got Andrew: a shoe shelf and workout socks 

This gift exchange was before we lived together, and we had separate apartments in LA. Obviously, Andrew's shoes were just everywhere on the floor because he had no one to keep him accountable and organized. I ventured to change that through a Valentine's Day gift, and it really did change the way his apartment looked.  We both really love shoes.  I added in the socks just to get to $25 because I like taking full advantage of budgets.


Cookie Good cookies

Andrew and I LOVE Cookie Good.  We both lived on the Westside of LA, and my first law firm was approximately 7 blocks away from their retail location. They have amazing flavors of cookies, all my speed, meaning they are "artisanal-ish" but actually delicious flavors (cap'n crunch berries is my favorite) and not like rosemary garlic or whatever some pretentious places try to do.  One Valentine's Day, Andrew was still in LA while I had already moved back to the Bay Area. He sent me a box of Cookie Good cookies to my office and it was a great treat!! 

MeUndies matching underwear

I don't quite remember if each of us got the other a pair, or if I got Andrew a pair and myself a matching pair, or what, but we own these. We both love dim sum and we both kept getting served ads for MeUndies, so this seemed like a funny gift.  Full disclosure, we don't really wear them and they are basically reserved for "last resort" underwear, or the truly last pair in the dresser before laundry HAS to happen.  Still a cute gift though! 


I can't really remember a lot of the gifts that we have exchanged over the years, but I think this year we will have a ~$50 budget. I can't say that these are gifts we exchanged, but these are ideas I have for gifts I could get A, and what he could get me, based on shopping our local businesses on Fillmore.

Potential Local SF Gifts for Andrew

Vintage Herb Caen San Francisco book (~$80) 

Andrew has already indicated to me that he likes this author and that he's a classic SF writer.  One of the small boutiques appears to carry a bunch of these vintage books, although they clearly come at a price.  This will probably be more of a last-resort gift.  While I do like giving books as gifts, this one is expensive, but it is also more sentimental.  I might just stop by Browser Books and see what else is available that can be under $50.

Aesop Hand Sanitizer and Soap ($10, $38, respectively)

Andrew loves bougie scents. We have the DS&Durga Big Sur After Dark hand sanitizer, but in only comes in a huge spray bottle that he can't keep in his pockets.  Getting a small Aesop version seems like a good compromise for him. I might pair it with the hand soap (which we've already used in the past and love) or maybe I'll pair it with a random book from Browser Books.  The only bad part about the book gift is that Andrew rarely reads and he was already given approximately 3 books for Christmas that he has yet to crack open. 

Verve Wine: The Grand Tour subscription (1 month = $95)

Okay, yeah, this is not in the price range.  However, we have been wanting to join this wine club and half of the enjoyment is going to be for me, so it feels a little bit like it could still count.  Since we live close to Verve, I'm not interested in paying for the subscription and also having to pay for shipping, when we could just go walk over and pick it up. I might have to call and see how to arrange that, but this is another good option for a gift.  Unlikely, given the price points, but still possible. 

Possible gifts for me: 

Anything from Jonathan Adler's under $50 gifts, but especially the playing cards set and puzzles

I love Jonathan Adler anything, basically.  Almost everything in the store is something I wouldn't necessarily buy for myself, but I love.  I love the whimsy and playfulness but overall chicness of everything in the store, but everything is just a little too expensive for me to just buy. That's what makes them such great gifts! 

Gorjana Short Lariat Necklace

I'm not a huge necklace wearer, but I want to be! I'm loving how necklaces look over plain crewneck tops on Zoom. I think this one could look good under a button up shirt or on top of a crewneck sweater!

"Not a Marina Girl" Intentionally Blank hat via Isalis ($38)

I'm a Pac Heights girl, not a Marina girl. This is a silly purchase but I like how specific it is to SF neighborhoods.  

Since Andrew probably will never read this, who knows what he will end up getting me for Valentine's day.  I will keep you all updated!



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