Valentine’s Day Etiquette: Gift Giving Do’s and Don’ts 

Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14th (yes that was your reminder!), is a day dedicated to expressing love and affection towards those who hold a special place in our hearts. While exchanging gifts is a common tradition, gift-giving with thoughtfulness and consideration is what matters most. It’s also important to understand when it’s appropriate (and not!) to gift on Valentine’s Day. Here’s a guide to the do’s and don’ts of Valentine’s Day gift etiquette:


  • Consider Your Relationship: Take into account the nature and stage of your relationship when selecting a Valentine’s Day gift. Tailor your gift to reflect the level of intimacy and commitment you share with your partner.
  • Personalize Your Gift: Choose a gift that reflects the person’s interests, preferences, and personality. Personalized gifts, such as a handwritten love letter, a custom piece of artwork, or a thoughtful experience, demonstrate thoughtfulness and effort.
  • Plan Ahead: Avoid last-minute scrambling by planning your Valentine’s Day gift in advance. Consider your partner’s schedule, preferences, and any special arrangements you’d like to make to ensure a memorable and enjoyable celebration.
  • Chat it out: It sounds basic, but it’s important to speak about it with your partner to understand expectations and preferences regarding Valentine’s Day gifts. Discussing gift-giving thoughts openly can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that both parties feel appreciated, and valued and prevent disappointment (i.e. he thinks planning a nice walk in the park while she has been shopping for two weeks).
  • Focus on Experiences: Consider giving the gift of experiences rather than material possessions. Plan a romantic dinner, a weekend getaway, or an adventurous activity that allows you to create lasting memories together.


  • Overlook Budget Considerations: Be mindful of your budget when selecting a Valentine’s Day gift. Avoid overspending or going into debt to impress your partner. Remember, it’s the thought and sentiment behind the gift that truly matters.
  • Pressure Your Partner: Avoid pressuring your partner into exchanging gifts if they’re not comfortable or if it doesn’t align with their beliefs or preferences. Respect their boundaries and find alternative ways to express your love and appreciation.
  • Anonymously Gift: Use caution when playing Cupid. It may seem romantic to leave chocolates on someone’s desk at work, but be careful it’s appropriate to do so. For example, HR may see certain admissions of love as harassment in the workplace- so proceed with caution here! 

When Is It Appropriate to Give a Gift?

Valentine’s Day gifts are typically exchanged between romantic partners, spouses, or individuals in a committed relationship. However, friends, family members, and even coworkers may also exchange small tokens of appreciation or gestures of friendship on Valentine’s Day.

How Long Should You Date to Give a Gift?

There’s no set timeline for giving Valentine’s Day gifts, as every relationship progresses at its own pace. However, if you’ve recently started dating someone, consider the level of intimacy and connection you’ve established before exchanging gifts. It’s perfectly acceptable to acknowledge the occasion with a thoughtful gesture or a heartfelt message, even if you’ve only been dating for a short time. Do however, be careful not to gift cards with too intimate of messaging too early, for example, an “I love you” card after 2 dates is likely going to come off as disingenuous. 

Valentine’s Day gift-giving should be guided by thoughtfulness, consideration, and genuine sentiment. By selecting personalized gifts, communicating openly with your partner, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can ensure that your Valentine’s Day celebration is a meaningful and memorable expression of love and affection.

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