Valentine’s Day.

That holiday that creates pressure to be uncharacteristically over-the-top romantic using red roses and chocolates.

Well, if you are ready to try something different you’ve come to the right place.

Here you will find enough unique gift ideas to get you through several Valentine’s Days and probably some anniversaries, too.

But first, please, no more cut flowers and roses.

I’ve been reading How Bad Are Bananas by Mike Berners-Lee and have completely changed my outlook on bouquets of flowers which just happen to be the universal symbol for Valentine’s Day.

According to Berners-Lee, a single, out-of-season rose (aka roses in February) effects climate change potentially as much as four and a half kilos of bananas being shipped from thousands of miles away.

Then if you think about the amount of land and resources being used to grow the roses; land and resources that could be growing food and you are talking a big impact in the name of romance.

And finally, when you actually buy the flowers, they are generally still wrapped in plastic that can’t be recycled.

Not so romantic now, huh?

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So, here are 17 alternatives that are still romantic, will last longer, and be more fun to receive.

2. What I Love About You Journals

Along the same lines as the handwritten bracelet, this is a handwritten journal that will be not only romantic, but potentially hilarious as you get a chance to show off your drawing skills. Stick figures, anyone?

A fun keepsake that the recipient can look at when she needs cheering up or is missing you.

3. A Love Map

Another unique Valentine’s Day gift that will last longer than a rose, the love map can be any significant place to mark a significant point in your relationship- where you met, first kiss, first “I love you’s,” cities where you’ve lived together, and so on.

4. Star Map

Again, with maps, but this time-maps of the stars. You give a date and time when your relationship started and you will see what the stars above may have looked like at that moment. The moment was written in the stars. Cheesy! But so romantic.

5. Have Your Song Turned into Art

Maybe you both have a song that you sing together, a song that reminds you of each other, or a song from a significant moment like a first dance. Whatever the song have it turned into a beautiful, contemporary piece of soundwave art that will remind you of each other when you see it, but give you an earworm as well.

Not all gifts need to last forever as a keepsake.

Making your own hamper can be as individual as your partner. You can spend as much or as little as you want. You can make it themed. Think of it as a Date Night In, in a box.

The box or basket can be something you already have and use scarves for the base and wrapping.

Assuming you pick goodies your partner will use up, this can be a great minimalist-style gift with little to no waste depending how careful you are at finding plastic free items.

Good thing you have this list!

6. The Cinema Hamper

Put in a DVD (easily found second-hand with no packaging) or a picture of your online rental along with some popcorn, a candy treat for each of you, and maybe a cozy, recycled wool blanket to snuggle in on the couch.

Order some take-away so no one has to cook (unless you want to). And you are set for a night in. If you have young kids, you both know how rare this experience is now!

Easily turn the gift into a night out with cinema vouchers instead.

7. The Relaxing Hamper

Create a spa evening for two by putting together some rose scented soap, yummy smelling heart-shaped bath bombs, some massage oil and either scented soy wax candles or a diffuser with some essential oil.

Relax in the bath, exchange massages, and see where it takes you. No aphrodisiac necessary.

8. The Saucy Hamper

This is similar to the Relaxing Hamper, but with a little extra something. Grab a Gin and Tonic Hamper, or Prosecco and Clementine and throw in a small (or big) bottle of the real thing. A Saucier version of the relaxing hamper, but since you’re home, no one has to drive so you both can let loose.

9. The Chef Hamper

Making a meal together can be fun. Lee and I used to cook together when I still lived in California. We’d pick a recipe and make it together. For me it was an early lunch and for him a late T. But it worked.

Find a recipe and maybe handwrite it on a cute recipe card to keep and make again.

Throw in some ingredients and maybe a personalised wooden spoon and a couple of aprons, and you both can cook up some love in the kitchen. How and where you decide to eat it is up to you.

10. The Inner Child Hamper aka Sundae Hamper

Find a couple of cute soda fountain glasses, tall spoons, an ice cream scoop, chocolate sauce, and any other toppings of your choice and you can have an ice cream sundae party for two big kids.

Ok, so maybe we want to be a little more adult for this holiday. And maybe you want to get out of the house.

Memories make the best presents, can cost as much or as little as you want and- if they’re good ones-will last a lifetime.

So here are some unique Valentine’s Day date ideas besides a “romantic meal” for two.

11. Chocolate Making Class

Why buy chocolates when you can make them together and eat them together?

Potentially messy fun and a sweet experience.

12. Make Rings

Instead of buying jewellery, make it! This could also be an interesting way to “pop the question” if you are so inclined.

Already married? This could be a fun anniversary gift and then renew your vows.

13. Winemaking

Sampling your creations along the way could call for a night out as well or at least a taxi. Lunch is included as well as a tasting of award-winning creations in case yours aren’t as stellar.

14. Stargazing

Get away from the light pollution to spend an evening under the stars. Peaceful, romantic, and a chance to cuddle if there’s a chill in the air.

15. Surf, Pizza, and Prosecco for Two

What’s not to like? A beach day, pizza, and prosecco! Unique Valentine’s Day gift for the win!

16. Canoeing for Two

Maybe you prefer to stay out of the water.

So, working as a team to canoe a canal could be fun and if you have a large meal after, you can enjoy it knowing you got some exercise in as well.

17. Swing Dancing

Dancing is so much fun. I took ballroom dancing for a year and a half and all walks of life were in there having a ball. Give it a try and you may have a new hobby to enjoy as well.

Experiences are only limited to your imagination. It’s a thoughtful gift and memorable.

They are my favourite to receive. They don’t have to be extravagant or expensive- taking a yoga class, or getting a couples massage are great choices for getting out and doing something besides dinner and drinks.

If these particular experiences aren’t in your area you can search Travelzoo, Airbnb, and Groupon for experiences by region and there are tons out there!

Hopefully you have found the list inspiring and made planning Valentine’s Day a little easier.

Oh, and if you get a card, avoid the glitter so it can be recycled.

Let me know in the comments below some of the best gifts you received for Valentine’s Day? How about the worst?