Shopping for the men in your life is difficult on most gift-giving occasions, but Valentine’s Day feels especially high-pressure. What’s a sentimental, personal gift that you can get the guy who “doesn’t want anything” or whose tastes are ultraspecific? Here, we consulted a dozen New York City men directly about the gifts they’d be happy to receive from their valentine, all of which are shoppable now (and might guide you toward finding that extra-special present). If you need even more inspiration, see our Valentine’s Day gift guide for every type of man, with gifts you can find on Amazon.
“The best gifts are ones I can brag about on Instagram, like great seats at a Knicks game. Tickets to an art exhibition or a show at a trendy Bushwick venue would also make for good optics. For a cute night in, I would be very happy with a digital copy of the new Blue Planet II and my partner’s company.” —Kevin Boonruang, freelance film production
“Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, so I’m a bit of an abnormal case, but what I’d really like is to go out to a good meal and take it easy. As far as a gift, maybe I’d actually like some flowers. There’s never anything living in my apartment besides humans and a cat, so I think having flowers would be wonderful for a change.” —Evan Tyor, musician
“Talk to any of my friends and they will tell you I have a perfectly healthy obsession with scented candles (preferably of the Diptyque and Yankee Candle variety). I work in beauty, which means I rarely spend more than ‘free’ on anything cosmetics-related, but the Cire Trudon store in Nolita is on my way to the subway every morning, and I’ve developed an odd affinity for their wax-candle ‘busts’ (specifically Monsieur Napoleon). I would never buy it for myself, but Billy — my boyfriend — if you’re reading this, take note.” —Andrew Favorito, beauty manager at HL Group
“This dandelion art from the MoMA store — I’m obsessed. If you’ve ever seen it in person, it’s the most beautiful thing. And as a kid I used to blow on these and make a wish and all that, so it’s kind of sentimental for me. My girlfriend loves flowers, and I love getting her flowers for Valentine’s Day, but flowers go bad. This is something that’s like a flower that you can always have as a reminder.” —Dakota Sica, owner of the Java Project and director at the Leslie Feely Gallery
“This will be my first Valentine’s Day celebrating as a married man! My wife and I are notoriously always traveling in different cities, and I would love nothing more than to spend the weekend with her at the beautiful Scribner’s Catskills lodge. If she chooses to splurge on a gift for me, these wireless earbuds would be great for when I’m running around the city (literally or just to meetings). Oh, and a Headspace annual plan. Meditation is an incredible way to start the day.” —Carl W. Rivera, co-founder and CEO of Tictail
“It can be a little too easy to simply restock a favorite fragrance as a gift and call it a day. Instead, it’s always worth your time to find what we in the biz call ‘ancillary’ products. Frédéric Malle has a scent in his collection called Musc Ravageur that I’ve been wearing for almost ten years. Its cinnamon-clove-vanilla cocktail evokes, for me, unbuttoned Italian dress shirts and tufts of chest hair. If Beyoncé has a ‘Freakum Dress,’ consider this my ‘Freakum Scent.’ Late last year, Malle delivered a shower cream and a body and hair oil of the scent that has now become a very luxurious ritual for any special date night.” —Phillip Picardi, chief content officer for Them and Teen Vogue
“For Valentine’s Day, I’d probably want hue lights that can sync with my Echo Dot. One of my friends has them in his apartment and they’re super cool. Like, you could say, ‘Alexa, turn on the blue lights in the living room,’ and it would change colors and intensities. It can even sync up to your thermostat. I’d also like to use them for parties, because right now I have multicolored Christmas lights and I’m getting tired of them.” —Preston Cotnoir, casualty broker
“If you ask me, a good fragrance goes so much further than extravagant plans and surprises. Maybe it’s not the most groundbreaking idea, but I think romance is really for every day, so there’s no reason to make V-Day especially complicated. I’ve always loved scents that feature a unique blend of woodsy and spicy elements, and this one is the epitome of that mix. Vanilla, in particular, has always been my favorite note, and By the Fireplace bursts with that smooth sweetness — you really feel like you’re roasting s’mores by the fireplace.” —Jovel Roystan, fashion blogger
“I’d like a pair of the latest Adidas UltraBoosts; they’re my favorite and so hard to get because they sell out really fast. If they end up being impossible to get, I’d like a Truman Set from Harry’s. It’s really more of a gift for my wife, who prefers me clean-shaven and will benefit from the lack of beard burn in her life. I’ve heard great things about their high-quality razors and would like to check them out, this kit seems like a good way to give them a try.” —Rich Fulop, co-founder and CEO of Brooklinen
“I’m being totally honest, all I want for Valentine’s Day is a fucking sandwich. My husband and I don’t really buy into the conventional trappings of love — like flowers, chocolates, and Champagne — which can be a genuinely romantic gesture on any day other than February 14. Our tradition is Katz’s Deli to share a sandwich, with no pressure and no reservations needed.” —Adam J. Kurtz, artist and author of Things Are What You Make of Them
“I always like getting a new dress shirt and nice jeans. I spend a lot of time in casual chef clothing, so it’s nice to dress up a little when I’m not at work. I like Breyburn shirts from Nashville, and they deliver all over the country. My favorite jeans are from Imogene + Willie, another Nashville brand that makes their own jeans. They are high-quality and fit great!” —Matt Hyland, executive chef and co-owner of Emily and Emmy Squared
“Since I’m a meditation teacher, it may surprise people that I love to box. More often than not, I’ll take an experience as a gift over a physical object any day. I’d love to receive private boxing lessons for me and my fiancée at my go-to studio, Overthrow. For a couple, there’s a slew of ways to work through aggression, but sitting with it on the meditation cushion or letting some of it out on a heavy bag feels a lot healthier than snapping at one another! And maybe I should reciprocate and go to Pilates with her …” —Lodro Rinzler, author and co-founder of MNDFL Meditation Studio
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