valentines day 2023

67 Valentine’s Day Gifts (Under $50) for Every Type of Person

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers

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With Valentine’s Day next week, now’s the time to buy presents for platonic pals, cuffing-season contenders, and long-term romantic partners. To help you find something special that won’t break the bank — or that can help form a multipart gift — we’ve rounded up 67 suggestions under $50 for all types of valentines, from traditional tokens of affection like chocolate and stuffed toys, to books and board games, to art supplies and beauty products. Included here are some longtime Strategist-staffer favorites — like the silk pillowcase our beauty writer swears by, a bottle of lube that resembles expensive perfume, and status candy that they’ll know you didn’t pick up last minute at the drugstore. We’ve added a pop-star-approved book of poetry, pink rolling papers, and a few candle suggestions for different moods. Not to mention a vibrator that’s boyfriend-approved, the cutest Le Creuset pot ever, and a pink fountain pen that’s perfect for writing love notes. Although time is definitely running out, if you act very quickly and select Amazon’s fastest shipping option, the vast majority of these gifts should still arrive by February 14.

Beauty and self-care

For the valentine you share bathtime with

These mineral powders will make your tub smell like a Japanese onsen.

For the valentine who prefers a scrub over a soak

One of our favorite body scrubs for a reason, this statusy one from Aesop smells fresh and won’t over-exfoliate.

For the bearded valentine

Experts have told us that Baxter’s blue bottle of botanical extracts represents the “next generation of beard oils,” because its primary moisturizing ingredient is squalene, which moisturizes skin as well as beard hair.

For the valentine who already has a jade roller

These “teeny-tiny wands” have liquid-filled globes at one end; after popping them in the freezer and applying them to her cystic zits, our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton found they visibly reduced the size of her pimples in minutes. She said the magic globes are great for de-puffing her face and eyes and for soothing headaches.

For the valentine who’d rather celebrate 420

A 50-pack of perfectly sized pink cones? That’s romance.

For the valentine who kisses in lipstick

This makeup artist–recommended lipstick top coat, which has a cult following for its compatibility with other lipstick brands, will seal their favorite color and keep it from budging during make-out sessions.

For the valentine who collects status candles

This candle from the Black-owned brand Harlem Candle Company is a favorite of TikTok’s global head of creator marketing, Kudzi Chikumbu (@sircandleman). The candle has notes of bourbon, palo santo, and smoked incense, and Chikumbu says “it feels and looks luxury, even from the box. It’s the kind of candle you would want to have out.”

For the valentine who loves to travel

A silk sleep mask helps to block out unwanted light, making in-flight naps a little more glamorous.

For the valentine who loves to travel (but hates to pack)

A set of packing cubes is the best solution we’ve found to this perennial problem, and the nylon experts at Baggu make some of the best (and cutest) that we’ve found.

For the valentine at war with winter dryness

The Cut’s junior fashion and beauty writer (and body-oil enthusiast), Asia Milia Ware, says that this Nécessaire body oil “can transform even the driest skin into a dewier barrier.” Its minimalist bottle will look stylish on any nightstand.


For the valentine who needs to start writing things down

Poketo, one of our favorite giftable Asian-American-owned brands, makes paper goods for design enthusiasts — like this on-trend wavy-checkerboard journal with blank pages suitable for doodles and to-do lists.

For the valentine who deserves to sleep on silk

“As someone with eczema, consistent hormonal breakouts, and severely bleached hair, I’ve long relied on silk pillowcases to ensure I’m not pissing off fragile locks and unpredictable pores as I sleep,” writes Viera-Newton. She says these silk pillowcases are a perfect dupe for her more expensive Parachute pillowcase.

For the valentine who has trouble falling asleep

From $25

Gift them a top-rated weighted blanket that one reviewer says “soothes any sort of anxiety I feel when I’m trying to go to bed.” Even if they don’t need help catching Z’s, it’s just as great for a valentine who enjoys spending lazy days in bed.

For the valentine who has trouble waking up

A design-y alarm clock from Braun that looks much more expensive than it is and can be taken on the road.

For the valentine who sends carefully composed nudes

This cheeky Milton Glaser print was designed for the 1967 exhibition “Big Nudes” and represents “a nude so large it couldn’t fit on the page.”

For the valentine with a green thumb

For the valentine without a green thumb

This neon rose looks cool in a teenager’s room or behind a makeshift living-room bar. And it won’t die on them.

For the valentine with a texting thumb

If they’re never without their phone, they may as well never be without their wallet, either. Holding up to three cards, this faux-leather sheath doubles as a phone stand. It’s one of Strategist writer Jordan McMahon’s favorite magnetic iPhone accessories.

For the valentine who appreciates ambience

Photo: Retailer

This set of natural beeswax candlesticks creates an elegant vibe for that romantic night in. While this particular set comes with 16-inch candles, they’re available in 12- and 8-inch heights as well.

For the valentine who appreciates chaos

These candlesticks drip colored wax as they burn, giving them a trippy, psychedelic effect and creating stalactites of rainbow wax drips.

For the valentine who stops and smells the roses

Kinto Aquaculture Vase (Gray)
From $30
From $30
Photo: Retailer

“With these vases, the water goes in the sphere on the bottom and the bulb sits right on top, soaking it in and growing into a flower. You can buy a single bulb, watch the whole stem grow into a flower, and enjoy the circle of life asserting itself right before your very eyes,” writes former Strategist writer Lauren Levy.

Warm and cozy

For the valentine with (literally) cold feet

These retro wool socks — in a striped athletic pattern that has recently experienced a renaissance — will keep their feet warm on a hike or while lounging indoors.

For the valentine with a no-shoes-indoors policy

A worthy dupe of the more expensive Glerups, these memory-foam slippers have a wool-blend upper, plush fleece lining, and a rubber sole that will keep feet toasty and comfortable. And they’re machine-washable.

For the valentine who buys bodega beanies only

A soft, simple, sophisticated, and logo-less cashmere beanie will keep their ears warmer.

For the long-distance valentine

A fuzzy fish from Strategist-favorite stuffed-animal brand Jellycat that your valentine can cuddle with when you’re out of town.

For the valentine who hand-writes you love notes

This very special fountain pen (from the Swiss stationer Caran D’Ache, known for making perfectly weighted writing and drawing tools) comes in a Valentine’s Day–hued gift box.

Food and drink

For the valentine with a sweet tooth

If they’re a candy fanatic, they’ll appreciate this gigantic tub of sour belts that could theoretically last until the next Valentine’s Day.

For the old-school valentine with a sweet tooth

Marzipan is cool again, and this fruit-shaped set is a fun alternative to a box of chocolate.

For the valentine who just wants chocolate

Still, you can’t go wrong with chocolate, especially if it’s this trio of bars from Raaka, the Brooklyn-based chocolatier we hailed as one of the next status chocolates. “Raaka stands out through their use of unroasted cocoa beans” and emphasis on single-origin chocolate, which imparts a distinctive flavor, says Food52 assistant buyer Louise de Verteuil.

For the valentine who makes dinner on the big night

Fante’s Gnocchi Board

This beechwood pasta-making tool from Italian brand Fante’s is good-looking enough to leave out on the counter when they’re not using it to make homemade gnocchi.

For the valentine who makes dessert on the big night

Any baker worth their Maldon sea salt will tell you nothing beats baking with real vanilla pods.

For the sustainable valentine


FinalStraw’s silicone-and-stainless-steel straws came in first in our roundup of the best reusable straws. “They thought of everything,” says content creator Deborah Shephard. “It can fit on my car keys (inside its case), it’s easy to clean (with boiling water or some good soap), and most importantly, the silicone is very comfortable to drink from.”

For the valentine who’ll be hitting the trails this spring

Any outdoorsy type would be thrilled to receive one of Snow Peak’s covetable pieces of camping gear. This mug (that comes with a rubber lip guard to protect against burns) will last forever, developing an attractive patina over time.

For the clean-eating valentine

If your valentine is cutting down on processed sugar but has always loved getting candy on Valentine’s Day, raw honeycomb splits the difference. It’s entirely edible and can be enjoyed with cheese, on yogurt or ice cream, or just straight out of the box.

For the valentine who prefers something spicy

A bottle of highly rated white-truffle-and-coriander-infused hot sauce that they can drizzle on practically everything.

For the valentine who wants breakfast in bed

Our favorite mini waffle iron is Valentine’s Day–appropriate but will come in handy all year round.

For the valentine you make coffee for every morning

A classic Bodum French press is one of our favorite ways to make hot coffee at home.

For the valentine who’d prefer a cup of matcha

From $35

This matcha powder comes recommended by Japanese confectionery chef Justin Iso, who describes it as “balanced with just a touch of bitterness and medium body.” To complete the gift, you can throw in this bamboo whisk that’ll get their matcha latte nice and frothy.

For the valentine who takes their beverages on the road

Kinto Travel Tumbler

Musician Sharon Van Etten discovered this design-y thermos at her favorite coffee shop in L.A. and loves how the two-part lid enables you to take small sips on the go or else use it as a more traditional cup.

For the valentine who’s more of a beer person

If all they want to do is kick back with their favorite saison or DIPA, get them this koozie that’ll keep their can ice cold.

For the valentine who just bought a bar cart

These three bottles of staple bitters — including Strategist-favorite Regans’ orange bitters — can be used to make everything from Sazeracs to old-fashioneds.

For the valentine with a glassware collection

Gift them a set of glasses for their favorite cocktail, like these elegant coupes from Strategist-favorite Italian glassware brand Bormioli Rocco. (And check out our guide to cocktail glasses here.)

For the valentine with a cocotte collection

The cutest little Le Creuset we ever did see – fill it with candy for bonus Valentine’s Day points.


For the valentine with a curated coffee table

Renata Cherlise’s Black Archives is currently available for preorder and will ship to arrive on Valentine’s Day. As a “celebration and exploration of Black identity and experience through the twentieth century,” the book features more than 300 photographs of everyday life, including holidays, family reunions, and nights out.

For the valentine who prefers graphic novels

Try a copy of Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown, the classic graphic novel that painter and Cookies Hoops podcaster Andrew Kuo called the best thing he bought for himself in 2020.

For the valentine who loves a messy romance

Photo: Publisher

“Reading this novel is like holding a live wire in your hand,” writes Vulture book critic Hillary Kelly, who describes the book as being “populated like a Dickens village of the queer community.”

For the valentine who loves a classic romance


As the Cut’s Katja Vujić writes, Bolu Babalola’s debut novel has “got all the juiciest, most satisfying romance tropes” but still feels “fresh and unique” in the British author’s capable hands.

For the poet valentine

Singer Gracie Abrams’s mom gifted her this collection of love poems two years ago, and she has read it “upwards of a dozen times” since then. “It’s so heartbreaking and kind of highlights human fragility, resilience, heartbreak, and just real love,” she tells us.

For the feminist valentine

From $10

This book by theorist, poet, and scholar bell hooks is a favorite of designer Elisa Johnson. And it’s on Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst’s Black-feminism book list.

For the valentine who just bought a kombucha scoby

Expand their fermented food horizons with this book from Noma head chef René Redzepi and the restaurant’s former fermentation lab director Dave Zilber, recommended by chef Dave Park, which “digs deeper” into “major ferments, such as shoyu, vinegars, and miso.”

For the valentine who just bought a tortilla press

Jorge Gaviria (whose company, Masienda, sources heirloom corn from small farms in Mexico) predicts that the humble but ubiquitous ingredient of corn flour is “the new sourdough,” and this visual book of recipes makes a compelling case.

Wild card

For the valentine with a competitive streak

Recommended by gaming experts as one of the best two-player board games, this intermediate-level strategy game’s objective is to score more points than your opponent by winning more tricks. According to one expert, it features “really lovely art” that has a touch of fantasy.

For the Dead Head valentine