Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Couple-Approved! - Bookshelf Memories

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Couple-Approved!

Some consider Valentine’s Day a creation of commerce, while others believe February to be the month of love. Whatever your take on the history of the occasion, there’s rarely an opt-out option for gifting on Valentine’s Day. A greeting card is customary, at least for the sake of peacekeeping in relationships. Digging into History.com we can learn that what’s celebrated today is different from bygone times. In the Roman era, before there was Valentine’s Day there was the Lupercalia festival held on February 15th. The middle of the month was the celebration of Februus – the God of purification, for which some bizarre rituals were a far cry from romantic!

Today’s version of Valentine’s Day is based on the martyrdom of “a” Saint Valentine (there were two) who at a time when imprisoned, sent a passionate letter to a lover that was signed off as “Your Valentine”. That wording is still used today on greeting cards. The story of St. Valentine is that he was jailed for performing secret weddings after the Roman Emperor Claudius II banned young men from marriage because single men made better soldiers.

Knowing that the historic variations of St. Valentine’s Day involve themes of love, appreciation, and before the fall of St. Valentine, purification, those give us three themes that can be explored to create the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for couples to celebrate the occasion together.

7 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Couples

1.     A pottery experience class

two people working together at a pottery wheel

Pottery has long been considered a romantic activity. If you haven’t seen the film “Ghost” (1990), it’s a classic romantic comedy best remembered for its pottery scene featuring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. Aside from pottery being a romantic activity that couples can do together, what’s extra special is that it’s creating memories and memorabilia that can be used as home décor. Planters, ceramic plates, tumblers are sculptures are all timeless classics and fantastic bookshelf decorating ideas that make conversational talking points among guests visiting.

Pottery studios are popular around the world and most provide studio experiences, usually between two to three hours. Have a look at what’s available near you and compare what classes provide. Some will provide the tuition class only and let you keep what you make, while others may offer to let you pick one to two of your creations and add a professional glazed finish for collection at a later date.

2.     Make a custom matchbox

Custom engraved matchbox with the words - The Perfect Match

Disclaimer: This image is generated using A.I.

Ever had the lights go out and struggled to find a lighter or matchbox in a junk drawer to get the candles lit? Make a decorative matchbox to display beside your candles and incense sticks so you’re never stuck for a flame again. Matchboxes can be made of cardstock or wood. With cardstock, you’ll need to be careful when placing it near candles, whereas wood has a higher combustion temperature making it the safer material. Matches only need friction to spark the flame and for that, just attach a strip of sandpaper along one of the edges. If you are working with wood and gifting the matchbox as a romantic gift, custom engraving of either a name, or initials of the both of you, or simpler is to engrave the words “The Perfect Match” – in literature, that’s called a double entendre. A phrase with two meanings.

3.     Make a coffee table book together

several photo books laid open on a coffee table

Coffee table books are simple to create and fantastic statement pieces. All you need is a theme to create the narrative and then pictures to put into an album. Couples can create tremendous memorabilia that acts as décor pieces most of the time, but remains a possible entertaining flick book for guests. For those at an age when grandkids are visiting, the coffee table photo books can give them a personal story of their family's history and help keep them off devices by engaging in conversation about the photos in the book. Work together to pick out the most memorable photos in digital albums to print and display in a book. Depending on how much effort you want to put into personalizing the project, it can be ordered from a photo print store, or you can DIY the whole thing including using any of the many DIY bookbinding techniques for a truly bespoke coffee table photo book that’s more of a presentation piece.

4. Plan Your Next Vacation Together Using Travel Brochures

couple sitting browsing through a travel brochure

Plan your vacations the old-school way. The next time you pass any travel agency, go in and pick up some of their free brochures. Build a collection of brochures detailing places that would be possible destinations to travel to. When preparing for a day or evening flicking through travel brochures, there’ll likely be places you’ll want to include that don’t have printed brochures available. Many tourist boards around the globe are cutting back on print costs by distributing digital brochures in PDF. Find and print the digital brochures to flick through because it’s all but guaranteed if you look through the digital versions, you’ll be carried off in a different direction and wind up watching YouTube videos of something entirely different.

The advantage of using official country travel brochures is that you get to learn what the official narrative is for different districts. For example, planning a trip to Tokyo, Japan, if you want to experience authentic Japanese wine, Kofu is the region to visit for that and jewellery. For history, and temples, and to experience ancient Japanese culture that’s shaped the Japan of the modern-era, Nara is the place to read up on and then experience. Want to see how the country has changed over the years, look through brochures of Kyoto – Japan's original capital city.  

For couples into photography and crafts, plan locations where shots can be taken to plan a 3D diorama. DIY book nooks can be created to replicate many scenes like Take-No-Michi (a 1.8km bamboo-lined path), which is a popular hiking location in Muku city. As you flick through travel brochures, think of the types of mementos you would like, or things that could be made to commemorate trips to accessorize your shelves with personal items that tell the story of your journey together.

5. Build 3D kits together that will work together as shelf décor

miniature 3D model kit of a train line with a train at a village station

Memories are shared experiences and mementos can be shared creations. Couples may have the same interests, yet have different skills and enjoy different pastimes. Woodcrafts are a pastime for many, and various types fall under the umbrella of crafts. One person could love nothing more than creating a dark academia book nook while another may find it more leisurely to use a DIY book nook kit to create a replica with a DIY Tokyo Alley book nook kit. Another person may be fascinated with vintage clocks so would have a more enjoyable experience building a 3D wooden Victorian-era clock puzzle. There are even kits for wood jeeps that can be created and hand-painted, making them perfect for commemorating a safari trip.  

Talk to each other and see what interests can be merged to create a theme of DIY model kits. For families, there are 3D puzzles for kids and others for adults. Most book nook kits for adults are for ages 14+ because electronics are involved to light up book nooks. Puzzles for younger ones will be made with larger pieces and be simpler to complete.

6. Consider a vision board kit

couple discussing ideas together

Vision boards aren’t something you can necessarily do in a day. A vision board kit as a gift is merely the suggestion of starting one. It opens up dialogue. Couple goals could be things like putting a summer house in the garden, finances like a bigger emergency fund, and a health and fitness category, such as taking a 30 to 40-minute walk daily regardless of the weather (unless it's dangerous to head out like when storm warnings are in place). When both partners are aware of each other’s goals, they can be better cheerleaders for them, helping them stick to the plan and reminding them of their goals. The benefit of being in a relationship is the everyday accountability partner who only wants the best for you and you and your family. Vision boards can help you both work together better.

7. Fun with a Fondue Pot

crusty bread being dunked into a cheese fondue pot on a table set with servings of white wine.

Fondue pots are mostly associated with melting chocolate and dipping marshmallows into the melted chocolate. That wasn’t the original purpose. Traditionally, fondue comes from the French and was popularized by the Swiss for the cozy winter evening comfort food of melted cheese and bread.  For a night of cheese fondue fun, bread alone would be boring. Spruce it up with a variety of dipping foods because there isn’t much that won’t go down a treat when dipped in a pot of melted cheese.

You can stick with the basics of butter or cream and toss in grated cheese or cuts of 1” cubes, or you could make it more flavorful by working with recipes to include a dry wine and seasoning with garlic, and other herbs. For the dipping foods, you can make an entire buffet. Things like sourdough bread cubes, baby potatoes, cocktail sausages, tomatoes, and various vegetables like cauliflowers and broccoli, apple chunks, pear chunks, meatballs, roasted brussels sprouts, and pickles. Seriously, for cheese lovers, anything is dippable!

The most important part of a Valentine's Day gift is that has some romance involved. Time spent together is often romantic enough.