A recent Zagat survey revealed that the price tab for Valentine’s Day can ring in at over $200, with the majority of romantics planning to spend an average of $147 on dinner out, plus $88 on gifts! That’s a lot of money potentially spent on something your man doesn’t particularly need or even want. Whether you’re willing to spend that kind of money or want to keep things a little more economical, the V-Day gift you choose for your man should mean a lot to him. I asked my partner, Joseph, to weigh in on the topic and help me round up some unique, fun gifts with a variety of price tags. Here’s what he came up with.
This was a pick that I never would have thought of myself. If you give your man a shaving kit, are you telling him he’s not doing a good enough job with his appearance? Absolutely not, says Joe. “It’s an indulgence,” he explains. “You’re made to feel like a gentleman.” Soap.com’s Edwin Jagger Four Piece Shaving Set ($94.00) fits that bill—it looks like something Mad Men’s Don Draper would use for his daily grooming routine, and comes with a brush, razor, shaving stand, and soap bowl.
Join the Club
This one is test-driven and Joe-approved. One of his all-time favorite gifts was a present from my mom for Father’s Day: the Beer of the Month Club from Amazing Clubs. Starting at three months ($101.85 total) and going for a full year ($383.40), this really is the gift that keeps on giving. “It’s an unexpected surprise which breweries are chosen. I look forward to exploring and discovering new and interesting beers,” raves Joe. If beer isn’t your man’s particular bailiwick, Amazing Clubs offers a wide range of monthly clubs—everything from cigars to neckties to jerky!
There’s something very classic about personalized photo gifts. I love seeing Joe start his day off with coffee in the mug I had made for him on Shutterfly.com — it’s decorated with photos of our son and Joe’s children from a previous marriage. As my stepson Donal said, “It’s a mug of memories.” Joe concurs. “It instantly takes on heirloom status,” he says. “And I wouldn’t dream of using a different mug in the morning.” Shutterfly offers different romantic, customizable photo gifts for your Valentine—from mugs to sketchpads to calendars, all in a price range that won’t break the bank (starting at $13.99).
“Valentine’s Day” can bring to mind the image of a woman seated amidst red roses, chowing down on a box of chocolates. But there’s something about a heart-shaped box of sweets that seems distinctly feminine. The male equivalent if you’re married to a foodie has got to be a basket of treats, hand-picked by you. Hitting your local gourmet shop can be just the ticket (especially if you’ve waited until the last minute and can’t be at the mercy of your UPS delivery guy); don’t be afraid to ask for help. Explain that your man loves cheese (or dried meats, or pickles, or hot sauce) and put together an assortment that’ll have his mouth watering as he unwraps it. Decorate with ribbon and stickers to make it truly Valentine-worthy. If your inclination is to shop online, Zabar’s has a great selection that starts at $10.00, like the Zabar’s Story Tote, which comes with babka, cinnamon rugelach, and “The Zabar’s Story” (a history of the famous New York gourmet-lovers paradise) ($24.98). As Joe succinctly puts it, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, remember?”
Love Don’t Cost a Thing
Have you considered a special night at home for V-Day? Candles, your guy’s favorite dinner, and some good old love and affection? After all, ask any red-blooded male what he wants for Valentine’s Day, and he’ll most likely get a gleam in his eye. You can spend all the money in the world on dinner out, but romantic time with the woman he loves is first up on any man’s wish list. “That’s the most any guy really wants for Valentine’s Day,” says Joe. Awww.