Thoughtful Gifts For Valentine's Day & More

Thoughtful gifts can look like a lot of different things, for a lot of different people. I thought this would be a good place for me to share what Matt & I have given each other over the years because they have had so much meaning to us! Gifting to me, does not always mean spending tons of money. The best gifts can be simple things that confirm your love, make something know you’re thinking of them, and can be a lot of fun to get crafty too! I love anything that is meaningful, fun and unique. Here are some ideas that Matt and I have done for each other over the last 8 (UMM WHAT?) years!

Write Notes When You Are Apart

When Matt and I first started dating, he left for Spain for several weeks to do a YoungLife Basketball camp with some of his best friends. Because we had just started dating and I didn’t really feel like I needed to BUY him anything, but wanted him to feel special when we were apart, I wrote him some letters that he opened every several days (I had dated them) on his trip. He also wrote in a journal for me when he was gone, updating me on each day, since we couldn’t really talk much. He wrote about what he did, memories he was making, conversations he has with people about me, and just notes throughout the trip so when he got home he could gift it to me and I could read through his trip! Over the years we have done this in several different way; whether is it a note for each day they are gone, each day of the week leading up to their birthday, or just reminders to open when they need love & encouragement, this is always a favorite of mine.

Date Days Planned Out For A Year

Planning dates can be SO hard, for both the girl and the guy! Something we have talked about doing (I guess Matt sort of did this last year for me at Christmastime last year) is to plan some dates ahead of time and gift it to the person. He bought me concert tickets for a concert that wasn’t until May of the next year and it was honestly SO much fun to talk about it, listen to their music and just get excited about it months in advance. I love the idea of planning four dates out for the year, one every three months, and gifting them to your significant other on Valentine’s Day or Christmas or their Birthday, and just having those already planned out is so romantic and special! You could easily just plan the dates and put each one in a separate envelope and give them all tied together in a bow. Then when they open the envelopes you can label them Date #1, Date #2, etc and say what day each date is for!

Date Ideas:
• Concert of a band you both love
• Buy tickets to see a movie that isn’t out yet
• Reservations at your fave food spot
• Carnival or Fair in your home town
• Ice cream & games at home together
• Short road trip to try a new restaurant
• See a play
• Do a sip n’ paint night at a local studio
• Take a dance class together

Customized Jones Soda

Okay this is a super specific gift item BUT I had to share it because it is so unique and fun haha, and a gift that I got Matt for Valentine’s day one year we first started dating! I believe I was a Sophomore in college and he has just graduated and was living back home with some friends, so we weren’t going to see each other on Valentine’s day but had plans a few days after on the weekend when I went home. I was trying to think of what to get Matt because what the heck do you get a guy when you are in college and neither of you have a lot of money but you want it to be thoughtful? Jones Soda of course haha because WHO doesn’t love soda? I remembered that my Aunt had gifted my brothers & boy cousins custom Jones Soda bottle when they were in Middle School with a photo of all the boys on it.

I stumbled across their site where I saw that you can actually customize a words with the photo too - DONE. I added a photo from about 6 months after we started dating, it was at my cousins wedding. And then added some sappy cute words (that all are still true to this day) and ordered a 12 pack of the Berry Lemonade soda for $40. He ended up loving the gift and thinking it was super thoughtful and fun, and it is sort of the gift that KEEPS giving, because we obviously saved a bottle (Matt’s mom saved a bottle too which is in their living room to this day) and get to ooh and ahh over it every time we look at it on our hutch. I love that the memories of that time are so special and we have a physical memory that will always be special to us!

Make your own here: CUSTOM JONES SODA

Notes From Best Friends
& Close Family

For Matt’s 25th Birthday I gifted him a big book made from a bunch of envelopes full of notes from his best friends and family. By hole punching rings into the side of each of the envelopes I could tuck the letters away and have each “page” be an envelope of the book that has a different letter labeled on the front by who the letter was from. It was a really easy, really fun gift to put together as well because they either mailed it to me or emailed it to me and I printed it off and put them all together in the envelopes. I feel like 25 is a pretty big milestone year, so gifting something that can be filled with love, encouragement, advice, and memories is so special. You could do this for any Birthday and it would be really special for that person receiving it!

Cash To Take them shopping

The same Valentine’s Day I got Matt the Jones Soda, he handed me a little envelope with hearts on it and when I opened it there was $200 cash in there! And let me tell you, for a college student madly in love with a cute boy like Matt I was pretty darn excited about that $200. What he has planned was a shopping day (I still love him so much for this) where he took me to Seattle, we walked around together, and he helped me pick out some cute new things - and didn’t complain once might I add!! I thought this was such a fun way to have a shopping day, but doing it together was WAY better than just going to the mall and dragging you guy around with you. We went to lunch that he had planned out too, and had the best time.

I still remember feeling like it was $1,000,000 in that envelope because it was the gesture more than how much was necessarily in it. The amount doesn’t matter as much as it is spending intentional time together making memories, shopping together and just being together. I remember a black pair of booties I got from PacSun that he had picked out and every time I wore them I felt so cool because he had helped me choose them, and he always made it a point to be like, “I love those boots!”.

Plan A Picnic

We did this date several times in college & in our first year of marriage (and now I want it to be Summer again so we can go on a picnic right now!) and I always think it is the most fun idea. The idea of a picnic is super simple & really takes no time to plan, yet is so romantic and special all at the same time! If you are gifting this date to someone you could give them a blanket with a big bow and a note explaining the date, or two cute glasses, or something that alludes to the picnic. Whether you pick a date and place ahead of time, or wing it on the fly, it is going to be so fun, I promise.

You can pack your own food but it is sometimes fun to get it on your way, becausethen you get a variety and can get things you normally may not eat! We usually go to a grocery story, Trader Joes, QFC or somewhere where you can get a good mix of food, snacks, and drinks. It does help if some of the items are pre-packaged because then you just need a fork and you are good! I didn’t say it was super classy, I just said it was a lot of fun haha. We usually get a few different snacks and food items and a drink then head out! You can drive to the beach, a park, an open grassy field, under a big tree, by a river, or on a parking garage in a city! Whatever is a meaningful or beautiful spot to YOU two will be perfect. I personally like doing it by the beach because you can watch people and the waves and just feel super relaxed. All you need are two forks + your hunny!

Our Favorite Food Ideas:
• Cheese + Crackers + Turkey
• Chicken salad pre-prepared
• Salad kits or pre made mixes
• Watermelon or sliced up fruit
• Lemonade, Root Beer or LaCroix

Plan A Weekend Roadtrip

If you are gifting someone a weekend road trip, I would definitely suggest to plan a few stops along the way; whether it be for sightseeing or food, breaking up a road trip is always more fun. Of course, you will want a final destination to end up at and hopefully stay the night, but along the way you can look up fun places to eat or cool sights to stop and take in. Maybe there is a small beach town a few hours away where you would want to stay the night, a hike you want to climb but the drive would take a full day, or even a cool new restaurant you want to check out in another state. Why not road trip? Make a weekend out of it, make memories together, and take lots of pictures along the way.

Video Clips From Family & Friends

For my 25th Birthday last year, Matt surprised me with the best gift I think I have maybe ever received, honestly. It was so thoughtful and will be so sweet to look back on over the years. He woke me up on my Birthday to a video from all of my favorite people. He has asked them each to send a clip of themselves talking to me, sharing a memory or story, or just wishing me a good year, and combined them all together to make one giant video! It is like 15 or so minutes long because everyone talks for a few seconds and then when they are all pieced together it becomes this video of everybody I love wishing me a Happy Birthday and sharing all of the things they love about me, and it is honestly so unique and special!

Book A Last Minute Flight

You can do this one of two ways!

  1. If you have to take time off work to get days off, request the time off when you need to. BUT instead of taking time off and knowing where you are going, plan the trip like a few days or a week in advance before your time off starts. Matt and I did this in December and thought it was so much fun! Slightly stressful yes haha, but really fun too! Matt had taken a week off before Christmas thinking maybe we will do something but if we don’t plan anything than we can at least just relax and Christmas shop and it would be great regardless. On the 15th of December we decided to book a flight for the 18th to Palm Springs, California! It was helpful that he already had the days off because we could be more flexible with the days we could go.

  2. Once again, if you have to take time off work to get days off, request the time off when you need to. BUT instead of taking time off and knowing where you are going, plan the trip the DAY OF, in the airport. Yes, I am telling you to go to the airport with no travel plans, get on a plane, and make something happen! I realize this is not the most realistic, smart, or travel savvy bit of advice but I imagine there are some if you out there who probably travel a lot. And when you travel all the time, or have trips planned out for months to a year in advance, maybe what you need is some spontaneity! Get to the airport, pick a flight and GO. Don’t worry about what you packed, your outfits haha ladies I am looking at YOU, or what you will do when you get there; just make sure it is in your budget and you can get back in the time frame you need to.

Other gift ideas

• Book a stay for a nice hotel: If you live in Seattle, we loved (like, seriously were in love with this place) our stay at the Post Hotel in Leavenworth. It is only about a 2 hour drive from the city and was the most relaxing and peaceful two days. I have a full blog post recap here!

• 52 Reasons Deck of Cards: All you will need for this gift is a deck of cards, some cute paper, and a pen! Take a deck of cards and cover them each card (you will have 52) with a piece of colored paper, cutting the extra paper off so the card still holds it same shape. Label the front of each card with the numbers 1-52 and on the first one write “52 Reasons Why I Love You”. Use a hole punch and ring clips to hold the deck together; it will look like a small book. On each of the pages write one reason why you love your husband / boyfriend. It makes a super cute little book that you can decorate with photos or stickers and give as a thoughtful gift! I did this for Matt (don’t think I ever took a photo) the first year we were dating and it is still around somewhere!

• Make a reservation at a fancy restaurant: If you are a guy and you are reading this, and you don’t already know.. girls love to get dressed up for no reason ha! We love to be taken out to dinner and made to feel special. But guess what? Guys love that too! Okay, maybe your man isn’ dying to put on a suit and tie, but he is wanting to go out to a nice dinner with you and enjoy a romantic time together, promise. Imagine how fun it would be to try a new restaurant, get dinner and desert, and just take a slow evening together instead of rushing through dinner like usual.

• I love anything custom and unique, so if your guys loves his shoes like Matt does, you could always buy him a Nike giftcard and let his customize his own sneakers! He can pick from several styles of shoes and go from there - creating his own color way and design.

You ladies asked, and I delivered! Now tell me some of your favorite gifting ideas below!