Remember that episode of The Office where Kelly and Ryan hook up the day before Valentine’s Day, and it’s weird and awkward afterwards? That kind of thing happens more often than you think. People start new relationships in late January or early February, and then feel a little awkward when they come up to Valentine’s Day. Your relationship is still new, but you’re surrounded by all these decorations and trappings of the most romantic day of the year, and that puts a ton of stress on any new relationship.
Starting a new relationship right before Valentine’s Day is stressful, because you never know what gift is appropriate to give on such a romantic holiday. A big lavish gift may not be the right play, because you guys are still getting to know each other. Perhaps you don’t want to appear clingy or more invested in the relationship than he is. You may not be at the “I love you” stage yet, or even at the stage where you’re using a term like “boyfriend” to describe your relationship. A card may seem too impersonal. What you want is a small gift, thoughtfully chosen, and not overly romantic.
Whether you are at the stage where you call him “boyfriend” or you’re still trying to decide if you even like this guy, we’re here to help you out. Our gift guide is packed with Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your new boyfriend, FWB, or on-again-off-again guy. We’ve tried to stay away from cliched, overly-romantic gift ideas. If you want to get him a gift, but are worried about coming on too strong, these offbeat gift ideas are a way to show you care without losing your chill. Every relationship is different, and every person has different needs. Use your best judgement when selecting a gift from our guide below. About half of the gifts below are $30 or less, while the rest of the gifts are slightly more lavish. The $30 and under options are good for a very new relationship or a more casual relationship, while the over $30 options are ideal for slightly more serious and long-term relationships.
Want more help finding Valentine’s Day gifts for your significant other, family members, work friends, or bestie? Check out our guide to the best gifts for men and the best gifts for women, both of which have 125 cool gift ideas. You can also visit our Valentine’s Day tag page to see all our V-day gift guides in one place.
1. Studio by Godinger Whiskey Decanter Set
Here’s a surprisingly cheap gift that just looks extra fancy. If he’s into scotch or bourbon, this handsome decanter set is a steal under $25. It’s glassware, which is not an inherently romantic gift, making it perfect for those in new relationships where nobody has said, “I love you” yet. If you want to go the exztra mile and bundle this gift with a bottle of his favorite liquor or a set of whiskey rocks, so much the better. Check out our guide to the best gifts for bartenders for more gift ideas in this vein.
Buy the Studio by Godinger Decanter Set here.
2. Chefman Belgian Waffle Maker
This gift is not overly romantic, but it’s not totally unromantic, either. The subtext here might be, “Hey, here’s a thing for your kitchen. Maybe if we have more sleepovers, I’ll make you waffles the morning after.”
A lot of people might be tempted to go the heart-shaped waffle maker route for a Valentine’s Day gift, but we prefer a standard round iron for two reasons.
Firstly, it’s a lot less cutesy than heart-shaped waffles. Secondly, in the Good Eats episode “The Waffle Truth”, TV personality and food expert Alton Brown recommends round waffle irons to get the best texture and uniform doneness throughout. While Brown doesn’t explicitly recommend this exact model, it’s a really cool design.
These “volcano” waffle irons are really interesting because they have an anti-leak system where you pour the batter in the top through a small opening, eliminating the problem of batter overflow. Inside, the waffle grid is shaped like the dome of a volcano, which ensures the batter gets evenly spread across the whole surface of the iron. Simply twist open the pour-spout and fill the iron with batter, and you’ve got waffles with the same great taste, but way less mess. You also get the fun of watching the batter bubble through the top opening.
Upgrade his gift by including some fancy pants maple syrup aged in bourbon barrels, so he can have extra-decadent waffles. This is a great gift for the guy who is totally obsessed with brunching and breakfasts.
Buy the Chefman Belgian Waffle Maker here.
3. Bricktown Jerky Traditional Style Beef Jerky Gift Basket
This sampler of beef jerky is perfect for the manly man who loves meat. You can’t go wrong with giving meat to a carnivore. Each box includes four different flavors: Original Beef Jerky, Peppered Beef Jerky, Teriyaki Beef Jerky, and Hot Beef Jerky. Insert your own Valentine’s Day “meat stick” joke here, you clever fiend.
Buy the Bricktown Jerky Traditional Style Beef Jerky Gift Basket here.
4. ‘Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything’
Looking for a clever gift for a bookish, science-minded sort? This awesome book is perfect for the guy who loves thinking about how things work. It’s got a great blend of hard science and humor, making it approachable and highly re-readable. This is a particularly great gift for fans of the popular web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, since creator Zach Weinersmith is one of the co-authors of this book. Co-authors Kelly and Zach are married, which means this gift does have a low key romantic angle, too.
Price: $16.32 (46 percent off MSRP)
Buy Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything here.
5. Stower Candle Charger
This wacky gift is actually super useful if you’re dating a guy who loves to go camping. This “candle charger” provides emergency light and power using a small Fuel canister, and is safe to use indoors. This clever device has enough power to recharge the average smartphone twice. If you’re dating a guy who loves the great outdoors, or someone who lives in an area where natural disasters are always looming, this is a really thoughtful gift. The price point is a little higher here, but if you guys are feeling strongly about each other early in your relationship, the price may not sting so much to you.
Buy the Stower Candle Charger here.
6. “Awaken, My Love!”
This new album from Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover of Community and Atlanta fame) is a banger. If he doesn’t already own this Grammy-nominated album, get it for him. No question. Whether he only knows Glover’s music, or appreciates his talent from his acting or writing work, any Donald Glover fan would be pumped to own this awesome album. We recommend picking it up on vinyl, for maximum cool points.
Price: $9.99 on CD, $19.98 for vinyl
Buy this album here.
7. Roadie Automatic Guitar Tuner
Dating a musician? Wow him with this little luxury, a guitar tuning that automates the tuning process. It’s another splurge of a gift, but it may be perfect for the musician who makes your heart skip a beat. It boasts eight pre-set alternate tunings for guitars, and also offers the ability to create custom tuning. The Roadie tuner works with traditional guitars, as well as seven string and 12 string models. It also works on ukuleles and banjos that have standard guitar pegs. Tuning is a pain, so this labor-saving device will definitely appeal.
Buy the Roadie Automatic Guitar Tuner here.
8. Click & Grow Indoor Smart Fresh Herb Garden Kit
This self-watering, smart herb growing kit is an awesome gift for any foodie. If you’re dating a guy who loves fresh herbs and cooking from scratch, this is the perfect gift for him. It comes with three basil “cartridges”. These tidy cartridges have growing medium and seeds packed inside, making them a practically idiot-proof way to start a garden without any horticulture experience.
Price: $49.95 (17 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Click & Grow Indoor Smart Fresh Herb Garden Kit here.
9. DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker
There’s definitely nothing overly romantic about a label maker. It’s not the first gift that comes to mind when you think about V-day. That being said, it may be a really good gift idea for a particular type of guy. It’s a great idea for any guy who is obsessively organized, or maybe just really needs to get organized. It’s also a tongue-in-cheek gift idea for any Seinfeld fan who remembers the classic episode, “The Label Maker”. If you’re trying to give a Seinfeld-inspired V-day, channel your inner George Costanza and pair the label maker with this funny “Human Fund” gift card.
Price: $16.40 (64 percent off MSRP)
Buy the DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker here.
10. Lifetime Jewelry Cuban Link 24K Gold Overlay Chain
Even if it’s a new relationship, sometimes you just know it’s special early on. This 24K gold overlay chain is a great gift for the man who wants to make a statement. It’s flashy, and heavy enough to feel impressive, but because it is made with gold overlay instead of pure gold, the price is much more affordable.
Buy the Lifetime Jewelry Cuban Link Chain here.
Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.