March 3, 2024

If you’re in the beginning stages of something that could maybe become a relationship and/or the throes of a full-on crush, whether or not to get that person something for Valentine’s Day can be a difficult decision. You don’t want to assume anything or make things weird but you also may want to let them know that you do, in fact, spend time thinking about them.

If you’ve debated the pros and cons and landed fairly solidly into the pro column, here are a few non-cheesy Valentine’s Day gifts to get your crush without (hopefully) embarrassing yourself.

First, don’t spend too much money. And absolutely no stuffed animals. Keep the gift lighthearted; maybe something that relates to an inside joke of shared interest.

If you’re a baker, a homemade cake or cookies may be the perfect way to let someone know you like them. My holiday baked goods of choice are always hard cider cupcakes with a whiskey frosting or a chocolate pound cake with whiskey cream. Obviously, whiskey is a prevalent theme in my baking which segues perfectly into my first two gift suggestions.

Distillery Tour or Wine Country Excursion

Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn, New York offers tours chock full of history and tastings, the perfect way to spend an afternoon with your crush. If wine is more your speed, book a half-day wine country excursion near San Francisco.

Half Day Wine Country Experience

The tour includes tastings and an exclusive estate tour. 

Hu Chocolate Bars

Hu Chocolate Bars

You can’t really go wrong with heart-shaped boxes filled with candy as a Valentine’s gift. The only problem is that they’re not all that original. Instead, consider gifting a Hu chocolate bar pack. They’re organic, gluten and GMO-free, vegan, and made with fair trade dark chocolate, checking all potential ethical and dietary boxes.

See's Candies 8 oz Valentine's Day Be Mine Heart

Conversation Hearts

Branch's Tiny Conversation Hearts

Or, you can go completely old school and simple with a box of tiny conversation hearts. There’s nothing wrong with old school and simple. Pair them with a handwritten letter from The Inky Heart on Etsy – though you’ll need to provide the words.

Personalized Handwritten Love Letter

If you don’t know exactly what you want to say, you can get a ghostwritten love or like letter based on what you want to say (but don’t know how).

Ghost Written Letter

Ghost Writer for Hire

​​For $13.52 per 50 words of text, Inky Letter will craft you a custom love letter. Just provide the details and gist of what you want to express, and they’ll do the rest.


You are Awesome, Keep That Up candle



A candle always makes a good gift because who doesn’t love an open flame? This one comes with the proclamation, “You’re awesome, keep that shit up” keeping this particular candle in the lighthearted zone as opposed to the sappy romantic.

More Experiences

Gifting an experience of a shared interest is a great way to spend time with your crush on Valentine’s Day. It’s best, of course, to choose something that isn’t a romantic dinner – like a speakeasy and secret bar tour in New York City or an excursion to some beautiful, hidden stairways of San Francisco – both of which are especially apropos of history lovers.

Speakeasy and Secret Bar Tour

This experience lasts three hours and includes visits to three different speakeasies in the city complete with short history lessons of each.

Hidden Stairways of San Francisco

Lasting two hours, this excursion consists of a two-mile walk around San Francisco where you’ll see lovely, mosaic-tiled steps – perfect for art-loving history buffs.

Coffee with Favorite Human Bean Card

Coffee Valentines Day Card

A package of organic, fair trade, double chocolate ground coffee from Jim’s makes an excellent gift for your caffeine-loving crush. Add a “You’re my favorite human bean” card to seal the deal.

Jim’s Organic Coffee – Double Chocolate

Jim’s Organic Coffee


Coffee Mug

11oz Coffee Mug - Funny Gift Idea for Valentines Day

Speaking of statements and coffee, this “Turns out I like you more than I originally planned” mug from Klubi makes a great gift for that friend who is turning into something more than, despite your intentions. 

Running or Cycling Accessory

Running, cycling, and other fitness clubs with group outings are a great way to meet people. I personally have quite a few friends who ended up with their partner thanks to both of them being members of NBR in Brooklyn, New York. If there’s someone in your fitness group that raises your heart rate even when you’re standing still, consider a gift of your favorite activity-related accessory.

Something like this brilliant tyre glider that makes changing flats on a bicycle infinitely easier:

Tyre Glider

(I know this doesn’t seem very romantic but, believe me, nothing says you care like making sure your crush doesn’t freeze while trying to change a flat bike tire on a chilly February day.)

For your running buddy crush, a gift of the Runner’s Kitchen Cookbook is an excellent choice. Plus, you can try out the recipes together.

Runner’s Kitchen Cookbook

The Runner's Kitchen: 100 Stamina-Building, Energy-Boosting Recipes

For after-work hangouts, give your crush a set of wine or rock tumblers with an IOU inside for filling them. These from CamelBak are insulated stainless steel and include lids.

CamelBak Wine Tumbler

CamelBak Horizon 12 oz Wine Tumbler - Insulated Stainless Steel

Available in multiple colors, these wine tumblers are bowl-shaped to insure you and your crush get the full aroma and flavor of your wine of choice.

CamelBak 10 oz Rock Tumbler

CamelBak Horizon 10 oz Rocks Tumbler - Cocktail Glass - Insulated Stainless Steel

These vacuum-insulated tumblers are perfect for all kinds of beverages and all sorts of situations. Give them to your hiking friend who you wish was more (than a friend) and suggest you break them in together after your next adventure.

Music – USB Mix Tape

The Original MASHTAPE--Retro Mixtape Design, Cassette Tape USB Flash Drive 8GB



As a member of Generation X, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a personally curated mixed tape. I may even still have a stash of them in a drawer. This retro cassette tape is actually an 8GB USB drive that you can fill with music for your crush – or videos or photos.

Movie Night Popcorn Set

Movie Night Popcorn Set


If your shared interest includes movies, this popcorn set is ideal. It includes three types of popcorn and five different seasonings to spice up your next movie night.

Baking Gift for Travel Lovers

Culture Cakes - Baking Kits for Travel Lovers

If the one who makes your heart skip a couple of beats loves to travel and experience new things, a culture cake-baking gift box makes for a unique gift. If they’re into the cake bit but not the baking, let them know you’re more than happy to help them with the preparation.


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