The 13 Best Cheap Valentine’s Day Gifts (Mostly) Under $25
They say that money can’t buy love. Even so, February 14 is not a day to skimp on displays of affection. Luckily, there are many budget-friendly ways to impress your sweetheart. Here we list our favorite (mostly) under-$25 Valentine’s Day gifts for lovers, friends, and beloved family members.
Made in Italy for over 100 years, these maraschino cherries will seriously elevate anyone’s cocktail game.
Luxardo’s Original Maraschino Cherries are made in Italy, and they are light-years away from those neon versions you find floating in Shirley Temples. The fruit is soaked in Luxardo marasca cherry syrup, and through a process of pasteurization, time, and something akin to magic, these beauties are born. Sweet, tangy, and firm, Luxardo’s cherries are a mixologist’s go-to for cocktail classics like Manhattans. And the syrup makes a lovely non-alcoholic fizz when mixed with club soda.
The blunt, pointed blade on this French oyster knife is the perfect size and strength for prying open mollusks. It folds and locks neatly into the wooden handle when not in use.
The notion of oysters having aphrodisiac properties is suspect, but in our book, someone who can flip open one of those bad boys with ease has instant sex appeal. The Opinel Folding Oyster Knife
has a blunt-edged, 2½-inch stainless blade that’s strong enough for wedging between shells. It locks in place (to avoid nicked fingers), and it folds and locks into the wooden handle for storing or toting. Like all Opinel products, this classic French knife comes with a lifetime warranty. Obviously, the real key to an amorous evening would be to pair it with a half-dozen of the delectable mollusks.
This fill-in-the blank book for couples provides prompts, to reveal deeper connections and lovely-dovey sentiments between mates.
We’ve recommended these sweet, fill-in-the-blank books for grandparents
, but they are equally great for a romantic partner. In What I Love About Us
, prompts such as “We make the best …” and “I still can’t believe we …” generate loving, telling, and surprising reasons why you chose each other in the first place. Note that this is a tiny book, about the size of a men’s wallet.
When opened, this 5-by-7-inch card pops up into a colorful bouquet of flowers, made of interlocking cardstock, and there’s a removable notecard for sharing your truest sentiments.
When it’s closed, the Paper Love 3D Lovely Roses Pop Up Card
looks like a regular rose-themed greeting card (albeit a big one). But it opens to reveal an impressively large and detailed arrangement of red roses made out of paper. Because this card conveys affection without dropping a full-on love bomb, it’s a good gift for a crush or for someone you’re in an as-yet-undefined thing
with. The personalized part is detachable, so your recipient can display it publicly without exposing the heartfelt words you’ve written.
Although the on-off indicator light is confounding, the resulting 4-inch waffles are a true delight. For crispier, less-pillowy results, simply leave them for in a few extra minutes.
If breakfast in bed is part of your Valentine’s Day tradition, this cute little appliance is a must-own. The Dash Mini Heart Waffle Maker
delivers diminutive, 4-inch waffles in the shape of a heart. It isn’t on our list of the best waffle makers
, and the indicator light flickers confusingly during cooking (the manual says this is how the machine regulates temperature). But you can simply pull the waffle off when the machine stops steaming and your waffle reaches a desired level of crispiness.
This mask-and-serum set—containing glycerin, collagen, and niacinimide—stays put, even if you don’t, and it feels luxurious.
We’ve raved about the Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber mask
in our round-up of sheet masks
. And though we’re not here to extol the product’s long-term benefits, we’re big fans nonetheless. The two-step mask is fun and straightforward, yields excellent selfies, and leaves the skin soft and supple, if only temporarily. Step one involves smoothing a collagen- and botanical-rich serum on clean skin. And step two has you topping that with a pleasingly plasticky mask made of seaweed (to be left on for at least 30 minutes). The mask feels cool and works to aid absorption, and it helps the complexion feel quenched. Get two of them for a co-masking session: This would make a great stay-at-home date night—especially since testers noted that you can still sip a beverage while wearing the Dr. Jart+ mask (which can’t be said of most other sheet masks).
The 50 cards in this box suggest and illustrate different sexual positions, for maximum pleasure and enjoyment based on a couple’s anatomy and preferences.
Whether your intimacy is fueled by the sparks of a new romance or the warm embers of long-term compatibility, you both might enjoy The Sex Deck
, 50 descriptive, illustrated cards outlining novel sexual positions. It’s not just a silly gag gift: The diagrams are sensual but not raunchy, and the accompanying text offers helpful pointers based on a couple’s anatomy, flexibility, and preferences. (The deck was co-authored by a British National Health Service doctor.) At its best, this is a box of ideas, as well as a reminder of the many reasons you chose to fall—and stay—in love.
This semi-realistic plush human heart features the aorta, arteries, and veins, along with less realistic eyes.
For the lover who has everything except, say, an anatomically correct plush heart, may we suggest just such an item? As it turns out, there are lots of stuffed hearts on the market, but we like the GiantMicrobes Heart Organ Plush
. It’s accurate—pulmonary artery, vena cava, and aorta all accounted for—as well as adorable, thanks to the pink beady eyes and no mouth at all. This heart would be a great friend for a doctor or nurse, someone studying to be either of those things, or anyone with a soft spot for ridiculous inanimate companions.
Considering their budget price, these wired earbuds sound excellent, and they come with a three-button remote and microphone to control music playback and take phone calls. They lack any waterproof rating.
For the bae who can never find their darn headphones, an affordable extra set is a thoughtful gesture. In our guide to the best headphones
, the Moondrop Quarks
won out in the under-$50 category. Our testers found the audio pleasant and balanced through a wide range of musical styles, and they praised the three-button remote and built-in mic.
For people who are still just fanny-pack-curious or don’t want to spend a lot, this is a great starter bag. It’s sturdy, and it comes in plenty of colors and patterns. However, the main compartment lacks organization.
Fanny packs continue to be having a moment. Yes, really. If your gift recipient is a style maven (or entirely uninterested in style), they’ll be sure to love the hand-freeing convenience of toting stuff in the JanSport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack
. One of our favorite fanny packs
, the JanSport is spacious enough to fit small notebooks, sunscreen bottles, or snacks. And it comes in a range of colors, so you can find the perfect match to fit your valentine’s style.
These five cute ceramic kitties prop up chopsticks between bites.
If your sweetie’s idea of a great date involves tucking into a steaming bowl of homemade ramen or ordering in some good sushi, you can make the occasion feel more special with lovely chopsticks. We tested dozens of chopsticks
, and the Pearl River 10″ Red Wood Chopsticks
ranked among our favorites, thanks to their durability and versatility (you can eat and
cook with them). Add in these adorable porcelain cat rests
—and still come in under $25. The home-cooked dinner for two is up to you.
This lovely bath tray is easy to use and affordable. It isn’t adjustable, though.
The luxury of soaking in a hot bath becomes all the more lavish when you can easily access other self-care accessories (a candle, a glass of wine, a cellphone playing Frank Ocean). One of our favorite bath trays
for that purpose is the Mind Reader Bamboo Bathtub Caddy Tray
. This lightweight, slotted bamboo tray has places for a book, phone, or tablet. But it doesn’t adjust, so be sure your beloved bathing beauty’s tub is 30 inches wide or smaller.
This three-year journal poses a question a day, and couples answer with one sentence. This gift provides insight into a relationship and a lasting history of how things change or stay the same over the years.
For their third dating anniversary, senior staff writer Kaitlyn Wells gave her then boyfriend (now husband) the book Our Q&A a Day: 3-Year Journal for 2 People
. According to Kaitlyn, “He’s not very mushy, so I loved the idea of getting a gift we could both enjoy that wasn’t stereotypical for the Hallmark holiday.” The journal asks a question each day of the year and repeats it annually for three years. So not only do you get to discuss the question with your partner that day, but you can also look back to see how the answers evolved over time.