Valentine’s Day, and even the entire “love month,” is not only marked by spending moments with a special someone or with friends or family, but also with giving gifts or tokens of appreciation.

It might be quite difficult, however, to figure what present to give on this special day — especially for those who have just started dating. Even for those who have been together for long, or between family members and relatives, choosing an item to give is somehow an arduous task.

Maralee McKee, an etiquette expert and founder of the Etiquette School of America, recognizes how tricky buying gifts can be. On her website, Ms. McKee shared a few recommendations on what to give, based on the level of relationship.

For those who had a few dates and do not yet have a mutual commitment to date only each other, Ms. McKee suggests a book or two, a couple of best films of the favorite actor of one’s date, something representing a favorite sports team, a gadget, a pen or portfolio for work, or a new gym bag (at least for the active).

If these suggestions don’t fit, however, couples can start coming up with a list of what each partner likes, as comparison website Finder suggests. “Think of his or her interests and then search around for a present that reflects those things,” Finder wrote on its website.

For those in a boyfriend-girlfriend level, Ms. McKee suggests giving tickets to an upcoming concert or sporting event (many of which are likely virtual and some are free), as “this shows you hope to be in the picture in a few months when the event’s date rolls around”.

A nice addition to a collection (if the partner is a collector) is also suggested, as well as something one-of-a-kind like a piece of art, an antique store item, or a piece of jewelry (as long as it is not a ring).

Finder, meanwhile, advises long-time couples to put more of a personal touch on their gifts since they “probably know their other half like the back of their hand”.

“To pick that perfect gift, think of special moments you’ve shared, items you’ve promised them (even jokingly) or a quirk you adore about them and buy a gift that represents that,” the platform’s article read.

For married couples, especially those with kids, Ms. McKee leaves it to husbands and wives to decide how they would spend Valentine’s Day, either by giving extravagant gifts or without the cards and gifts and enjoying a dinner with their children instead.

“The carefree long weekends away you enjoyed before the kids came might disappear for the next two decades,” Ms. McKee wrote. “Every year have a quick conversation about what you want Valentine’s Day to be. It’s okay to change it up or keep it the same year-to-year, as long as it’s a mutual decision.”

In addition, Finder recommends partners to have shared gifts, considering what the couple likes doing together or thinking of something that they have constantly talked about doing.

Ms. McKee added that one should not go to what they know their partner always like or something they will buy for themselves, like a gift certificate from where she buys most of her clothes.

“It’s a nice thought, and she certainly won’t mind the gift, but the best gifts make memories. Instead, buy her a gift certificate for something she normally wouldn’t treat herself to, like a spa treatment,” she said.

Kids must not be forgotten, Ms. McKee continued. “It’s important to give a card, a small gift, and a huge hug, and to talk about what this day is about, the history of it, and how your child(ren)’s words and actions make others feel about themselves,” she wrote.

Giving bouquets

As a traditional and worthwhile Valentine’s gift, flowers will always be a nice gift, even to individuals other than your significant other. It is just a matter of picking the appropriate bunch and avoiding the monotony.

“Consider buying a big bouquet of carnations or other flowers, and tie a bow around each stem. Hand them out to friends, coworkers, and total strangers,” Ms. McKee said. “It’s a sweet and inexpensive way to be someone’s Valentine.”

Picking the fitting flower matters. Roses are typically associated with romantic love, so using a different flower or mixing roses with other flowers is much better for friends or other recipients. Sending flowers to work is also recommended so that recipients can enjoy seeing them all day.

To make the bouquet more different, why not replace the flowers with something else, as some stores have done recently? Chocolates, another usual treat on Valentine’s, can be a good replacement, as well as a bunch of snacks like chips and sodas, or a selection of fast-food favorites. One can also try arranging vegetables, fruits, cookies, or essential items like face masks, alcohol, inhaler, balms, and ointments. — Adrian Paul B. Conoza