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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

With the Holiday season finally coming to a close, it is easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking our Santa-like duties are over. In fact, it is quite the opposite! Valentine’s Day is also a day of giving; a special time where we get to show our partners and loved ones how much we care about them. Money or material value is of little importance in a Valentine’s Gift, which ultimately acts as an expression of love and attention to your partner.

The journey to finding the perfect gift for your partner is not an easy one, however. A lot of things need to be considered in curating a meaningful gift, from budgeting and logistics to the thoughtful and creative aspects that are unique to your partner. The secret to a perfect gift comes in the careful attention to the needs of your partner, entailing an understanding of what you can do to make them feel loved and appreciated. Such an undertaking can seem daunting at first but there are many theories of love and relationship dynamics which explore how individuals like to receive their love.

One such theory, perhaps the most famous of which, is Gary Chapman’s the 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. In his ground-breaking book, Chapman highlights 5 ways in which people generally recognize love and contends that relationships flourish when partners deliver love to each other in a way that attunes to their individual love language. These love languages are as follows: words of affirmation – for the person who feels loved through encouraging words from their partner, acts of service – for those who feel most loved when their partner takes care of them through their actions, quality time – for the person who feels loved through their partner’s presence in everyday activities, physical touch – for those who feel loved through physical contact with their partner, and finally receiving gifts – for those who feel most loved when receiving a heartfelt token or gift. Valentine’s Day provides us with the perfect opportunity to show our partner’s how we love them, in accordance with their love language, or the way that they most appreciate your affection. Below is a Gift Guide for each of the 5 Love Languages to help create the perfect gift for a perfect Valentine’s Day!

Unsure of your partner’s love language? Read more here! Or have them do the Official Love Language Quiz.

For the Partner that Loves Quality Time

  • Plan a date: This one seems pretty obvious, but a thoughtful date night can go a long way in terms of making your partner feel special. Start by thinking of your partner’s favourite things to do! Do they love film and tv? Incorporate a movie night or drive-in movie into your date. Do they love nature and adventure? Research new hiking or nature trails for you to visit together, or take them to an unfamiliar park or landscape for some exploring! If your partner is a foodie, take them to their favourite restaurant or to a new food spot. Another good way to show your person that you care is to recreate your first date or incorporate its elements into your valentine’s outing.
  • Date Jar: If you want to take it a step further, think of several date activities that your partner would enjoy! Write these up on sticky notes, origami hearts, or popsicle sticks and stick them in a cute mason jar or container for your partner to pick at whenever you two need some quality time. There are countless date jar ideas and several affordable pre-made jars that can be found on Etsy or Amazon.
  • Build a Blanket Fort: Create a cozy home camping experience for your partner! Grab all the blankets and pillows in your house and find your inner child and arrange a comfy spot for you and your partner to watch movies, have a small picnic or just unwind!
  • Air BnB Gift Card or Travel Jar: If money is not an issue, an Airbnb gift card is a great option for future travel and date nights in fun and new locations! For those who do not like gift cards, or prefer a more affordable option, a Travel Jar can serve the same goal. You can put your Valentine’s budget in a cute container or mason jar and you and your partner can slowly save that money for the vacation of your dreams (just like the cute couple in Up). Either option allows you to spend time with your partner in planning the perfect outing!

For the Partner that Loves Physical Touch

  • Spa-Day: If your partner loves being close to you or being touched by you, giving them a relaxing spa day is a great way to show them you care. Break out all of the spa day essentials in their favourite scents: body lotions, hair masks, face masks, massage oils and anything else you can think of! Give them the pamper night that they deserve.
  • Couple’s Massage: If your budget allows, you can also treat them (and yourself) with a relaxing couple’s massage!
  • Big, Cozy Blanket: For those who love physical touch, cuddles are always on the table! A comfy and fuzzy blanket is a good way for you and your partner to enjoy each other’s warmth and company, and there are a ton of options to choose from!
  • Love & Intimacy Coupons: For a more personalized gift, think of all the ways you can make your partner feel loved through your warmth, touch, words or actions. Show your creativity through creating a little book of coupons for your partner to redeem! There is tons of inspiration online and even pre-made ones on Etsy.
  • Long Distance Couple: For couple that craves physical touch and intimacy but is separated due to school, work, or life, there many ways you can still make your partner feel loved without being physically with them. Some examples include: Mail your partner a hug, or a hugging pillow, or a touch long distance lamp.

For the Partner that Loves Words of Affirmation

  • Affirmations Jar: Show your partner you love them through creating an affirmation jar. Think of the things you love about your partner and write them down in sticky notes or origami hearts so your partner can feel loved by you whenever they need! You can also write encouraging messages, thoughtful memories, inside jokes or anything your partner would appreciate. There are a variety of styles to these jars that are available for purchase and customizable. Check out this cute one on Amazon!
  • Journal of Why I Love You: You can also opt to express your love through a bullet journal or through prompts in a pre-made journal or book.
  • Personalized Jewellery: Custom jewellery is a great option for those who love words of affirmation, as personalized engravings can give your partner a physical token of your affection in a way that they love to receive it! A simple key chain or necklace with your initials or a symbol of your relationship can also serve as a thoughtful reminder of your love.
  • Word Portrait: This is a great way to take any words of affirmation and create a beautiful portrait using your favourite picture! You can find several options for this on Etsy.
  • Get Creative: Write a poem, short story or thoughtful letter for your partner.

For the Partner that Loves Acts of Service

  • Help them with a Task: For the partner that feels loved through acts of service, helping them with a task that has been causing them stress, whether it be laundry, cleaning, homework, or cooking, can make them feel so special! Think about your partner’s daily routine and ways in which you can take care of them, make their life easier, and show them your love.
  • How Can I Help You? Bank: If you are unsure of the ways that you can support your partner, get them involved! Find a pretty container or box and ask your partner to put in suggestions or tasks that they need to do each week and you can pick a task at random whenever you want to show your partner some love!
  • Give them a Massage or Spa Day: You can take care of your partner through a fun pamper night. Just like with those who love physical touch, you can incorporate your partner’s favourite spa day essentials in their favourite scents and give night of rest and relaxation.
  • Breakfast in Bed: Show your partner you love them buy cooking their favourite breakfast on valentine’s morning! Wake your partner up with a kiss and serve them all their favourite breakfast dishes in bed and make sure to handle the dishes afterward!

For the Partner that loves Receiving Gifts

  • Gift Basket of their favourite things: Think about all of the things your partner loves, their favourite treats, candles, fragrances, pamper-day essentials, stationary items, anything you can think of, and create a personalized gift basket! If they like warm things, add some fuzzy socks or a small stuffed animal. If they love sweets and chocolates, make a candy platter! Try to personalize your basket with your partner’s current obsessions in mind.
  • Scrapbook of your favourite memories: Print out some of your favourite pictures of you and your partner and create a fun scrapbook for your partner to flip through. This gift is always a hit!
  • Objects that remind you of them: Though it is true that your partner will love any gift that you put thought into, partners who love receiving gifts cherish physical tokens of your love. Get your partner anything that reminds you of them or of your relationship! Personalized jewellery is always a good option, matching couple’s jewellery, a book or game or puzzle that they have been wanting, or any other token of your affection!
Nashita Junaid

McMaster '23

Nashita is a third year Arts & Science student at McMaster University. She hopes to use this platform to spread awareness and positivity. Aside from her academics, she loves to bake, journal, and listen to Taylor Swift!