Skip the flowers and chocolates and go with a more personalized gift this Valentine's Day
Credit: Flickr /

Skip the flowers and chocolates and go with a more personalized gift this Valentine's Day

It's hard to go wrong with chocolates and flowers, but something a little less generic can turn an average Valentine's Day into a true love fest when you surprise your sweetheart with a gift that says they're worth the time and effort it took to find something unique. A pampering spa treatment, a special night out, a home-cooked meal or a carefully chosen book tells your love that you have been listening to their wants and needs. Here are some ideas to get you started on your quest for the perfect Valentine's Day gift.

Make Her Dinner
Credit: Flickr / whitperson

Make Her Dinner

It's so obvious and yet so appreciated. A homemade meal is a romantic way to surprise your lady on Valentine's Day, and a nice break for her if she usually does the cooking. Go big and do an appetizer or salad to start, woo her with some wine and then bring on the main course.

If the kitchen is foreign territory, try something simple like a hearty pasta. Add some spices and fresh herbs to turn an everyday dish into a gourmet meal. Regardless of what you make or how adept you are in the kitchen, the gesture won't go unnoticed.

Treat Her to the Spa
Credit: Flickr / Diamondduste

Treat Her to the Spa

The year has just begun and with it the stresses of everyday obligations. So give your lady a break and treat her to a spa day. Let her loosen her tense muscles with a massage or pamper herself with a mani-pedi. Daily deal sites often have fantastic offers on spa treatments, and if you want to make it extra special, you could opt for a spa that offers romantic couples' treatments.

Find Her a Local Gem
Credit: Etsy / Beazuness

Find Her a Local Gem

Jewellery is a classic gift for women no matter what the occasion. But how do you take this go-to gift idea and make it special? You go local and you personalize it. Etsy.com, an online marketplace for handmade goods, lets you search for local jewellery artists like Beazuness and Moo and the Bear. Browse their personalizable designs for something as unique as your love.

Mail Her a Sexy Surprise
Credit: iStock / ConstantinosZ

Mail Her a Sexy Surprise

Lingerie for Valentine's Day might be nixed by the thought of having to step foot in a lingerie shop, but what if you could order by mail? Panty by Post ships a luxury pair of panties to lucky recipients every month. Choose from hipster, thong and string styles in a variety of colours, patterns and fabrics from playful to sultry. It’s the gift that keeps on giving - choose packages that range from a single panty for $25, to a whole year's supply of luxury lingerie to keep the love going all year long.

Get a Room
Credit: Flickr / thomasheylen

Get a Room

Going out for dinner is a nice way to spend Valentine's Day, but if you live outside the city that usually means someone’s driving, you're not drinking and depending on the commute, it might be an early night. Rather than skipping the wine and rushing your romantic evening, get yourselves a room for the night and enjoy the special occasion at your leisure.

Make Her a Personalized Playlist
Credit: Prezzy Box

Make Her a Personalized Playlist

What better way to chronicle your love story than with a compilation of all the songs that have marked the moments along the way. Suck UK has updated the old-school mixtape with a nostalgically packaged USB version. Trigger the memories with one of its six vintage cassette tapes that each cleverly hides a USB stick with space for up to 900 minutes of high quality music. All sticks are MAC and PC compatible.

Treat His Sweet Tooth
Credit: Flickr/ Adholmes

Treat His Sweet Tooth

One way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so bake your guy something special to sweeten the occasion. Try a classic red velvet cake or jam sugar cookies. If chocolate is his treat of choice, whip up a raspberry ganache tart or Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies to make him swoon. Whether elaborate or simple, your festive dessert will be a delicious gift.

Or, you could make it a joint effort: have your man make dinner and while you take care of dessert. This way you can both get involved and share in the experience.

Upgrade His Sipping Style
Credit: Flickr / peripathetic

Upgrade His Sipping Style

Every whiskey lover knows a splash of water can help bring out the rich aromas and flavour, but too much takes a grade A scotch down a notch. So instead of settling for warm whiskey, get your guy a set of Whiskey Stones to keep his beverage at prime drinking temperature. These clever little rocks act like ice cubes but won't dilute or disturb the taste of the whiskey.

Take it a step further by including a tasting tumbler to enhance the whiskey experience. Narrow at the rim and wider at the base, these glasses serve to properly channel the aromas.

Buy Him a Good Book
Credit: Flickr / Neeta Lind

Buy Him a Good Book

Books can entertain, inform, excite and inspire, which makes them great gifts especially for Valentine’s Day. Go for a classic author like Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Dostoevsky or Hemmingway for some age-old tales of valour, struggle, adventure and growth. Or pick something newer like Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone or Patrick deWitt’s western inspired The Sisters Brothers. Biographies can be some of the most interesting reads – Ali, Kennedy, Jobs – the past and present successes of well-known men are sure to inspire. Or try a graphic novel like Robert Kirkman’s zombie hit The Walking Dead. If he’s more of a casual reader, a magazine subscription – whether for his iPad or in print - to a title like The New Yorker, GQ, Times or Esquire might fit the bill. Personalize it by scribbling a little message inside the front or back cover to make this classic gift a special memento.

Give Him the Ultimate Workout Watch
Credit: Nike

Give Him the Ultimate Workout Watch

Whether hitting the courts, the track or the gym, if your guy is athletic he’s bound to love the Nike Fuel Band. It’s the watch that does more - keeping tabs on every step you take and every calorie you burn to help track progress on your goals. Available in white, black or black ice, this sleek, discrete workout monitor also syncs to your iPhone or computer to help you understand your activity patterns and monitor your improvement. Pick one up for $149.

Take Him to a Game
Credit: Flickr / miss604

Take Him to a Game

Now that hockey is back on track, why not pick up two Canucks tickets for you and your guy to get back into the spirit. The players have finally returned to the ice and the fans are back in the stands - so don your jerseys and be a part of the celebration.

Or, if the lockout gave your guy a new appreciation for Vancouver's other teams, pick up season tickets for the Vancouver Whitecaps. With a steady schedule of games from March to October you can avoid hockey altogether and still get your sports fix.

Update His Wardrobe
Credit: Flickr / Neeta Lind

Update His Wardrobe

Rather than watching him throw on the same old shirt he wears every time you go out, give your guy a style update with some of the hottest spring looks for men this season. Cozy cashmere, a crisp collar, a versatile watch and some dark suede boots will have him looking as good as you do. Even if you already approve of his style, a few classic wardrobe staples will freshen up his look.

Sweater: J Crew Cashmere Two-Tone Sweatshirt - $298

Dress Shirt: H&M – $34.95

Leather Boots: Banana Republic Phillip Boot in Chocolate – $158

Watch: Fossil Grant Leather Watch in Black – $95