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Ask the Edit: Valentine’s Day Gifts for Men

Contrary to popular opinion, Valentine’s Day should not be a one-sided holiday.  But what do you buy for the man in your life?  I asked the man in mine, and (of course) he had plenty of thoughts on the topic of Valentine’s Day gifts.

Dear Abra (maybe Kyle),

For the first time, I’m in a real relationship for Valentine’s Day.  My guy and I have been together since summer, and I navigated the Christmas waters well, but I’m clueless as to what to get him for Valentine’s Day.  I’m gravitating towards heartfelt and sincere card, but I’m sure he will get me something significant.  I also thought about lingerie, but isn’t that really more for me?

Please help! Margaret

Kyle and I don’t exchange Valentine’s gifts.  Actually, we don’t exchange gifts at all anymore.  He decided against gift-giving for one holiday, and it just stuck.  But, as you might imagine, he has some thoughts on what to buy for the man in your life.

I’ve always thought about Valentines day as one-sided gift holiday. Careful Margaret, you might upset a few people by rocking this age old apple cart.  But all jokes aside, this will be very well received by guys everywhere.

There are three routes you can go with a Valentine’s Day gift.  One, give your man a few small, thoughtful gifts throughout the day.  Two, one large gift that he isn’t expecting.  Three, coordinate on one gift that benefits both of you, like a trip or an activity you’ve wanted to try.

While I always lean towards one great gift, I know a number of friends who have really enjoyed the small gestures.  And having an excuse to do something fun with your partner is always nice.

Before we start, let’s address the elephant in the room: lingerie.  I don’t want an angry mob of my bro brethren at my door, so I’m not going to argue against lingerie as a gift.  Yes, it’s technically a gift for you, but obviously we really do enjoy it.

The reciprocal of lingerie for men might be a new bottle of cologne. This is for him but it’s also for you, which means its also for him…well, you get the picture.  (I buy all of Kyle’s cologne at stores like Nordstrom Rack.  Never pay full price, they always have it.  He wears this Burberry fragrance.)

Nobody is going to tell him this, but if he’s rocking Axe Body Spray, his coworkers are making fun of him. Don’t continue to be culpable in this crime against their olfactory glands.   If your guy has a (non-offensive) scent he likes go with it, if you’re looking for a potential change up. I would suggest Mont Blanc, Versace Blue, or my personal favorite Burberry.

Valentines day is the same for guys as it is for girls, an expression of love. And love is knowing the person you’re with. Get them something that lets them know you get them on level most people never will.   Don’t over think the small gifts, but for god sakes, Do.Not.Buy.Him.A.Stuffed.Animal. Lean into the curve on this holiday, whatever he is really into…..follow that vein.

Some good small gifts would be a nice tie clip, a pair of novelty boxers, a paper time capsule of your relationship, or phone accessories.  Other more personal gift ideas include his favorite coffee, breakfast, snack foods, or even a newly washed car with a full tank of gas.  (When I need a small gift for Kyle, it’s either a quad espresso for a 3:00pm pick me up, a thing of Trolli sour worms, or a pair of socks.)

For a large gift, focus on something that he wouldn’t buy for himself.  Tickets for the sports guy (bonus points if you make it clear he can use them to take someone other than you), wine for the foodie, Cubans for the cigar lover, etc..  Sometimes it helps to ask a friend if you’re hurting for ideas.

If you are looking to splurge and really create that “wow” moment, I can’t think of a more universal home run than a watch. It’s the little box all guys want to see slid across the table at them. (I wasn’t aware men had this fantasy; you’re not getting a watch for Valentine’s Day, Kyle.)  If you’re going the luxury route, you can’t go wrong an IWC or a Rolex. (I don’t know where Kyle thinks you ladies work that $8,000 watches are on the table, but not my post.)  If you’re looking for something a little less expressive (little?) but with the same amount of style, try this Burberry watch or this Movado.

Because Christmas and Valentine’s Day are so close together, a lot of people try to celebrate the holiday later on.  Why not book a trip for an April weekend or look for an activity you can do together on another weekend?  Just mutually agree to do something small on the actual day (card, dinner, etc.), and find another day later on.

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  1. Monica T says:

    You guys are adorable, seriously! Great suggestions, and yes, always hated the idea of a one-sided holiday, so we celebrated our anniversary and not V-day since it’s about both of us.

    February 6, 2018/Reply
  2. Ree says:

    Valentine’s Day is definitely a lopsided holiday in our house because it’s also my birthday, haha!! I realize most guys would be like, YES! Two-for-One-Holiday!! and my husband thought this at first too buuuuuuut…. it is so close to Christmas it actually makes it harder to have essentially the three of the four gift giving holidays in our lives all within 6 weeks of each other. So he now is lobbying for me to celebrate my half birthday in August instead!

    As for what I give him, I actually generally default to his favorite bottle of semi-pricey bourbon or whiskey. Along with a note that I hope this bottle of alcohol will soothe the pains I put him through throughout the year 😉

    He brags about it to his buddies and they always think it’s a really cool gift.

    February 6, 2018/Reply
  3. Janine says:

    I enjoy reading all of your posts, but the ones that have bits about your relationship are a little extra enjoyable because you just seem to balance each other very well.

    My husband and I aren’t fans of Valentines Day in the flowers-gifts-and-dinner-reservations way, but we do recognize it. We generally splurge on some fancy ingredients for a homemade dinner and sometimes gift a small favorite to each other. My go-to’s for that are a bomber of one of his favorite beers or a fancy container of his favorite candy.

    February 6, 2018/Reply
  4. Margaret says:

    Thanks Kyle & Abra! Super helpful.

    February 6, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      You’re welcome, he LOVES writing posts, which is fun for me. So if anyone has any men’s questions, send them on!

      February 6, 2018/Reply
  5. Kayla says:

    Because our anniversary falls the week after Valentine’s Day, this year we decided not to do gifts for either but instead we rented a cute cottage in a neighboring town that has amazing wine tasting rooms. An experience weekend made more sense for us, especially since it feels like we just did Christmas.

    February 6, 2018/Reply
  6. Sara says:

    I love Kyle posts!

    February 7, 2018/Reply
  7. Cait says:

    Love this post.

    We made it a rule early on to not go out to dinner on Feb 14th…it always seemed like the menus and tables were cut in half with poor service, even at tried and true favorite spots.

    February 8, 2018/Reply