8 Twists on Traditional Valentine's Day Gifts
Traditional Valentine's Day gifts tend to get a bum rap for being cheesy and impersonal. When you really think about it, most of these gifts aren't bad — I mean, who doesn't like chocolate or flowers? — but they do feel overdone. This year, take those traditional ideas to the next level with a personalized touch. Here are eight new takes on the usual Valentine's Day gifts to try for your sweetie.
Instead of a Box of Chocolates...
...Try Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes. Sure, the typical box of chocolates is tasty, but it can also be used to make something even tastier. Whip up a batch of these Neapolitan cupcakes, and top them with your Valentine's favorite bonbons.
Make This: Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes Recipe
Chocolate Brownie Pudding
This super chocolatey treat is sure to satisfy your sweetie's sweetest tooth. Is it a brownie? Is it pudding? We're not sure. All we know is that it's sinfully delicious. Get the recipe.
Cupid's Arrow Hot Chocolate
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cookie Truffles
You're probably familiar with classic chocolate truffles. But these beauties mix chocolate sandwich cookies, cream cheese and fresh strawberries for a treat that's seriously irresistible. Plus, you can use a heart cookie cutter and hot-pink sprinkles to make them even more delightful. Get the recipe.
Conversation Heart Cookies
This year, swap those traditional candy conversation hearts for something homemade and customized. Make vanilla sandwich cookies and use a custom stamp-setting kit and food-safe decorating pen to create personalized and scrumptious messages right on top. Get the recipe.
Heritage Red Velvet Cake
You don't need any special supplies to make this sweet, heart-shaped cake. Just create a hand-drawn template and cut out the heart with a knife. If you can resist eating the cake scraps, crumble them and coat the cake for a soft, crumb layering. Get the recipe.
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
Nothing goes together quite like chocolate and strawberries, but here's a combination you probably haven't seen. Chocolate shortcakes give this traditional dessert an unexpected twist. Get the recipe.
White-Chocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookies
Surprise your valentine with a special delivery in the form of white-chocolate-dipped fortune cookies packaged in a personalized Chinese takeout box. Get the recipe and how-to.
Make your favorite muffin recipe extra-special for Valentine's Day by using heart-shaped muffin tins. The sweet results will surely surprise your significant other. Get the recipe at DIYNetwork.com.
Chocolate Mint Dessert Smoothie
You can still be naughty while remaining health conscious. Ingredients like pear and avocado make this healthy, but add in the cacao powder and dairy-free chocolate chip ice cream for a perfect after-dinner treat. Get the recipe.
Champagne-Glazed Fruit Tarts
Does your sweetheart prefer something a little less rich? These fruit tarts feature a mix of fresh fruits on mini tart shells with mascarpone cheese. The champagne-apricot glaze is the perfect mouthwatering finish. Get the recipe.
Cupid's Crispie Treats
Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Instead of going out for ice cream, why not treat your valentine to a night in with a homemade recipe? It's easier than you think, and you only need six ingredients. Get the recipe.
Strawberry Milk Whoopie Pies
These colorful whoopie pies might be too pretty to eat! Strawberry milk gives these pink sandwich cookies their sweet color and flavor, while vanilla icing and rainbow sprinkles embellish the exterior. Get the recipe.
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies
Imagine a dessert with brownies, cheesecake and a variety of chocolate chips all mixed together. This dream treat does exist, and your sweetheart won't be able to resist. Get the recipe.
Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Make your beau this royal-inspired chocolate cake made from tea biscuits, lots of chocolate and cinnamon. FYI, it was Prince William's groom cake, and it's simple to make, too. Get the recipe.
Chocolate truffles are the perfect bite-size treat to satisfy any sweet-tooth cravings. Plus, they're easier to make than you think. Customize the fillings with extracts or flavorings, cookie pieces, dried fruit and other add-ins. Your sweetheart will love the thoughtful, homemade mix. Get the recipe.
Orange and Cranberry Bread Pudding
Oranges, cranberries, cinnamon and cloves combine to form a sweet bread pudding that's perfect for a mouthwatering breakfast or as an after-dinner treat. Get the recipe.
S'mores for Two
Bundle up and head outdoors with a cooler packed full of just enough marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to make s'mores for two. Pull out all the ingredients once the fire's crackling. See more at DIYNetwork.com.
Instead of a Bouquet of Flowers...
...Try a Succulent Garden. It's low maintenance and will last way longer than cut flowers. You can even get them in a heart-shaped pot for a romantic touch.
Instead of Conversation Hearts...
...Try Conversation Heart Cookies. Skip the chalky, store-bought candies and customize your own conversation heart cookies. Use a stamp-setting kit and food-safe decorating pen to create personalized messages on top of vanilla sandwich cookies.
Make This: Conversation Heart Cookies Recipe
Instead of a Stuffed Animal...
...Try a Personalized Heart-Shaped Pillow. Stuffed animals are cute, but most of us will likely just stash them away in a closet post Valentine's Day. Get the same snuggly appeal with a colorful, custom pillow that can be showcased all year round.
Make This: Heart-Shaped Phrase Pillow
Candy Necklace Valentines
Let kids make homemade valentines this year using strawberry licorice laces and gummy ring candy, creating edible necklaces their friends will love to devour. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Easy Hand-Knit Kids' Scarf
Keep your little one nice and warm this season with a hand-knit scarf that's perfect for beginning knitters. Add a plush fabric heart pin for that extra-special touch. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Heart-Shaped Phrase Pillow
Dress up the sofa or bed with a pillow that says "I love you" all year round. Use patterned fabric and a stylish embellishment to make a special decor piece that pops and makes a statement. Get the step-by-step instructions.
String Art Heart
Say those three magic words with a handcrafted string art heart. The best part? Your gift recipient can display the artwork in their home year round. Get the step-by-step instructions.
DIY Takeout Treat Box
Surprise your sweetheart with a crafty Chinese takeout box full of white chocolate-dipped fortune cookies covered in candy heart-shaped sprinkles. That's better than real takeout any day. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Use inexpensive chipboard or wooden letters to spell out a sweet word for your valentine. Colorful, patterned scrapbook paper dresses up each letter, creating a memorable, year-round mantel or wall display. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Spice up a romantic tablescape with customized etched glasses that feature pet names, inside jokes, hearts or phrases just between the two of you. That's definitely a gift you can't find in stores. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Upcycled Heart T-Shirt Dress
Turn two old t-shirts into a child's play dress. Use a heart stamp and fabric ink to add a holiday-inspired pattern she can wear for the big day and all year round, too. Get the step-by-step instructions on DIYNetwork.com.
Countdown Paper Chain
Count down the days until Valentine's Day with a pink and red chain made from paper hearts. Starting February 1st, tear off a heart each day until the 14th. Get the step-by-step instructions on DIYNetwork.com.
Play Dough Valentines
Skip the cheesy, store-bought valentines this year, and give these homemade gifts a try. Use a simple play dough recipe and a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and package each individually in glassine bags. Kids and classmates will love their crafted surprise. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Pretty Paper Flowers
Use color and patterned paper flowers add style to Valentine's Day gifts, attire and hairpieces. All you need is paper, scissors and a hot-glue gun to churn out these blooming beauties. Get the step-by-step instructions on DIYNetwork.com.
Doily Dream Catcher
Use meaningful, secondhand pieces to create a one-of-a-kind dream catcher for a loved one. Pretty decorative accessories, like feathers, stones and heirloom jewelry, will make the perfect customized gift. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Playful Cupcake Toppers
Give homemade cupcakes an even sweeter touch with personalized toppers. Cut out heart shapes, add a message for your valentine and embellish with rhinestones, glitter or ribbon. Get the step-by-step instructions.
Instead of Heart-Shaped Jewelry...
Try Heart-Shaped String Art. For the Valentine who already has plenty of bling, try adding some sparkle to her home with this easy DIY string art. Metallic thread against a bright pink backdrop makes a major statement.
Make This: Modern String Art Heart
Instead of a Store-Bought Card...
On the Line
Transform a blank wall into a drying rack with red and white kitchen twine, origami hearts and clothespins. Write the name of each guest onto heart-shaped pieces of card stock, and hang on the line to identify everyone's work. Completed valentine cards display beautifully and create a playful backdrop as they dry.
...Try a Handmade Card. Get crafty and decorate cardstock with Scrabble tiles, Bingo boards, glitter and more. If it doesn't turn out perfect, that just adds to the charm. Browse the gallery below to find more DIY card ideas.
Covered in Glitter
Made + Remade blogger Emily Fazio says, "while an unofficial poll of six year olds tells me that store-bought packs of cards are the way to go in the public school system, I still think our friends and family really appreciate and adore our DIY efforts." We love them, too!
Instead of Store-Bought Valentines...
...Try Homemade Play Dough Valentines. The kids will love helping you make these fun Valentines that are sure to impress their friends and classmates.
Make This: Homemade Play Dough Valentines
Instead of a Spa Gift Card...
...Try a Romantic At-Home Spa Day. Everyone loves a day at the spa, but for something a bit more personal, try setting up a romantic spa date at home. Pull out all the stops with candles, essential oils, cucumber water and light snacks.
Roses Aren't Always Red
This romantic holiday wouldn’t be the same without cupid’s favorite flower. Stop by your local flower market, and pick up a bundle of white roses. Pick out a few stems to place in a white or clear vessel for a clean decorative touch. With the remaining stems, gently pull the petals from their buds and set aside in a bowl by the tub.
Add infused salts and essential oils to the running water to create a therapeutic bath for you and your Valentine’s date. Once dissolved, they’ll ease tension, relax muscles and melt away stress. Not only will you create a spa-like experience — you’ll also be left feeling supple and replenished fresh out of the tub.
Spend some quality time with your special someone by offering up relaxing spa treatments. Use essential oils or your favorite body lotion to treat your honey to a neck, back or foot massage. Simply place a dime size amount in the palm of your hand and, using kneading motions, move in the direction of the heart to stimulate blood flow. Who knows, they might just return the favor!
Happy and Hydrated
There’s no better way to celebrate than with a delicious libation. A refreshing cucumber cooler will help authenticate your at-home spa date with its hydrating qualities. Plus, it could not be easier to make! Combine ginger vodka, lemon juice, a touch of agave syrup and cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the cucumbers slightly to release their maximum flavor, and then shake, shake, shake! Pour the cocktail into low glasses, top off with sparkling water, and enjoy!
Fresh and Clean
For a light, palate-cleansing snack that’s super healthy and easy to prepare, serve up a plate of radish and lemon aioli tea sandwiches. Just cut the crusts off of thin, white bread, spread a light layer of lemon aioli on the slice, then place thinly sliced radishes on top. Garnish with cilantro, then cut the slice on the diagonal to create perfect triangular tea sandwiches.
To really round out the full spa experience, indulge in this guilt-free twist on a main course. This satisfying roasted veggie, bean, and herb salad can’t be beat. Not only does the salad fit the good-for-you bill, it’s also colorful, pretty and delicious!