The Unexpected Lover's Gift Guide | Varyer
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The Unexpected Lover’s Gift Guide

Why be predictable when you could be peculiar?


Lil’ Mib

There’s a charming, intimate nostalgia to a voice message, and the Lil’ Mib (short for “message in a box”) is the perfect way to leave professions of love for your partner.

Valentine Bee cups

Everyone loves pollinators. These pink-and-red Bee Cups are a charming addition to any outdoor area to ensure bees, butterflies, and other vital pollinators are able to grab a drink at their leisure. (Add some native wildflower seeds for a perfect pairing.)

Le Puzz Freaky Deaky Puzzle

Is your partner’s love language quality time? If so, grab them a puzzle—and the time spent together to complete it. And, to avoid any potential squabbles in the process, make sure you’re following best puzzling practices.

Conversation Heart Pipe

We universally accept that conversation hearts are one of the world’s worst candies—while fun and silly, their texture and flavor leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of the original sweets, we suggest a playful pipe with a smoking-adjacent message.


If your partner partakes in 🌿 but has a more highbrow aesthetic, Seth Rogen’s Houseplant creates incredibly luxurious smoking accessories to spoil the stoner in your life. We particularly love the gloopy ashtray. Perhaps to pair with some Valentine’s flower?

Canned Critter

If you're confident that the recipient has a good sense of curiosity and humor (which we hope they do), you can give them a sweet stuffed animal in an unusual container: a can. They’ll surely love the feeling of cathartic relief they’ll feel that you have, in fact, not given them skunk meat.

Varyer Valentines

Don’t give Hallmark your hard-earned cash this year—we’ve got you covered with an exclusive early look at some of the best Valentine’s designs out there.

Cheesy as it seems, there’s just nothing better than getting a card from someone you love. That someone took the time not just to say, “I love you,” but articulate it in a personal way, maybe even with a little doodle? What could be more romantic? Also you can send handwritten love notes to your friends as well! It’s also free ninety-nine for lovers on a budget. ;^)


Movie Madness

A bit of a two-for-one with experience and thing here: show how well you know your love with the gift of a Criterion edition of one of their most loved films. Watch it together, and make sure to affirm your partner’s refined taste in media. (You could even throw in a poster from Deadly Prey as the cinematic cherry on top.)

Forever jewelry

We know that jewelry might be a bit predictable, but this is like a friendship bracelet for romance! Get a matching chain with your lover and be forever linked—and have a cute little date at the same time. (If you're so inclined, you can grab an equally enduring bouquet while you're there!)

Snack Haul

Show how well you know your Valentine by presenting them with not only their favorite snacks and other consumable items, but particularly the ones they might avoid for your sake. Do you hate the smell of popcorn? Would you rather not be around seafood? Too bad! Let your partner’s taste take the reins.

(Optional level-up: Snag a beloved, nostalgic food from iconic restaurants across the country—it’s super overpriced, which we know is an important component in letting someone know you love them. 💕)

Make it Real

Take stock in the prior year's photos of you together as a couple, your family, and shared memories, then print and lovingly assemble them in a photo book. This one’s great, because the real gift is the memories of all the things you’ve already done—tangible, present reminders that there has been a lot more to your lives each year than what you see / put / do on the internet.


Want to give your lover a break from . . . everything? We suggest a float session. The ultimate de-stresser for anyone who loves tuning out (or tuning in). From their website: It’s likely to be the most relaxing thing you’ve ever experienced. Who wouldn’t want that?

Crafty Collab

Look for a local art school and browse through the workshops—it’s always fun to make something unique in a shared experience. In Chicago, there’s Turning for 2 at the School of Many Questions and Date Night throw down at Lillstreet art center. Making a reservation to get pizza at Spacca Napoli (or their preferred pizza establishment) after will make them love you ‘til the end of time.

Fancy At-Home Din

Making a special dinner together is the best. Choose an old, loved recipe, or try something new. Make sure to have some lava cake in the freezer, buy some candles, and try to find a station you love on an actual radio (this experience will NOT WORK with MUSIC DICTATORS—proceed with caution).

Poignant PowerPoint

It’s like a PowerPoint party, but personalized and incredibly memorable. Design a slideshow that presents to them all the ways in which they are the most beautiful, intelligent, inspiring, and lovely person on the planet. Cut no corners in presentation—dim the lights, prepare a soundtrack, and memorize your speaker notes beforehand. At the end, present them with a carefully handcrafted achievement award for the honorific that suits them best. 🏆