7 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas Your Guy Can Actually Use
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7 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas Your Guy Can Actually Use

Realistic gifts for high-school and college students shopping for their guys

7 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas Your Guy Can Actually Use

I know I'm not alone when I say that I don't like Valentine's Day. And I'm actually in a relationship.

I enjoy the part of the day where you spend time with those you love and remind them how much they mean to you, but the irony in that is that you can do these things the other 364 days of the year. You shouldn't need the materialistic component of this so-called "Hallmark" holiday. The pressure to "buy a present" surpasses the actual spending of what little auxiliary money we have (but don't get me wrong—that part is a whole other circle of Hell). What if it's too much? What if it's not enough? What if they don't like it? What's the difference between a Valentine's Day gift and a Birthday gift?

You both said you wouldn't get each other things, but promises are made to be broken, right?

My first advice is this: talk to your boyfriend/special friend/just-a-friend, or whoever they are, and maybe you both have similar feelings about all of this and you'll choose to avoid the whole gift-giving fiasco in the first place. Secondly, you really don't have to spend money. It can be something from the heart, something you make yourself, something thoughtful and meaningful. But, I get it if that doesn't feel legitimate enough, so that's why I've created this list.

1. Get him a Milktape.

No, that is not some weird synthesis of dairy and adhesion. It's actually something your parents or your regulation-millennial-hipster are probably familiar with, but with a modernized twist. It's a USB Cassette tape that's both Mac and PC compatible, and the best part of all, it's cheap. To get the 128 MB version, which holds 15-20 songs, it's only $14.99. (There's a 16 GB option too, but that's $10 more expensive...)The case it comes in is blank so you can personalize it with Sharpie before giving it to that special someone. It's a great way to tell someone how you feel through the powerful platform of music, and it's digital, so they can actually use it.

2. A "Netflix & Chill" outfit

Now, this can really be whatever you make it, think of this as a starting point for you to spring from. The basic idea is this: random articles of clothing that are comfortable and "chill" as the name suggests (and I mean actually chill, get your mind out of the gutter). This can be funny socks (there are so many websites for that, but here's one), slippers, sweatpants, customizable boxers ( for example this or this), a t-shirt (with a logo of a movie, tv show, superhero, or company he may like), a Snuggie, a bath-robe, a comfortable hoodie, or if you're really feeling it: matching pajamas for both of you (but hey, I said I would give you 'useful' ideas, right?). The idea is to keep it "chill," cheap-ish, comfortable, and something personal.

3. A picture of the two of you (framed or for the wallet).

I'll admit it right away—this is cliché. And this might not work if your guy isn't really what'd you call... "sentimental," but at the end of the day, it's safe, it's cute, it's cheap, and it works for the purpose of a Valentine's Day. You can print photos at most local pharmacies, Walmart, or even with a home printer at extremely low prices, and frames from Amazon, eBay, or again pharmacies and superstores. If they have a more low-key personality, the frame might be too much, and you can always go with a simplistic wallet-sized photo instead.

Side note...the picture can also be just of you if you want...but that's more of a stretch since Valentine's Day is about celebrating your relationship and should really be more about what you two share together.

4. Tickets (don't be intimidated by price)

You don't need to get backstage passes to a Grammy-nominated artist's concert or front row seats of an NBA playoff game. There are always cheaper options. Sitting farther back, his favorite team playing an inferior appointment, finding people who are selling the same tickets for less, using apps/ websites like StubHub or TicketMaster. If a professional game is too much, try out college games. If his favorite artist is insanely popular (Drake, Kanye, Imagine Dragons, etc.), it might be hard to get tickets for their concert, but what about smaller artists they may like too, or that are similar to these big-name musicians?

Tickets don't have to begin and end with music and sports. You can also use things like Groupon to help get deals off of cool date ideas or fun outings. Be sure to check out local events or festivals that might be near where you guys live or go to school (if you're long distance- this idea might not work as well). You'd be surprised at what can turn into priceless memories right in your own backyard.

5. A speaker or headphones.

Whether he's an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, he'll probably get some kind of use out of these technologies. Even if he's not into music- maybe he likes Youtube or podcasts. Regardless, it's probably fair game as a formidable gift in most situations. Maybe he'll use it to play your Milktape from idea #1? He can use them at pre-games, study sessions, walking between classes, playing in the background of your one-on-one hangouts, warming up for his games...yeah, you get the idea: it's a legit gift, one that's hard to dislike.

6. Search for merch

First off, I apologize for that horrible attempt at a clever rhyme scheme. But seriously- if you're getting the man in your life a Valentine's Day gift, chances are you know them pretty well. You know their favorite sports teams, artists, TV shows, movies, foods, places, etc. This is not only important for conversation and understanding who he really is, but also for gift-giving. Merchandise doesn't have to just be posters or t-shirts (although that's a good start). While a pen might be too far of a stretch, things like hats, tank-tops, laptop decals, phone cases, back-packs, signed memorabilia, jerseys (these are popular at college parties-trust me), and so much more random paraphernalia are all acceptable. If you're not sure where to look for cheaper alternatives with authentic logos: Redbubbleis a great start.

7. A subscription

A premium account for Spotify (or Soundcloud if he isn't already an up and coming rapper), a sports account (like ESPN), a subscription to a magazine, or since it's 2018, an online magazine, or even a monthly subscription for some kind of mystery box or product. There are some pretty creative and unique subscriptions for men on the internet like Bacon of the Month Club, Loot Crate, hundreds of different sock subscriptions, or anything on the website My Subscription Addiction. You could also make him his own personal 'mystery box' of random small things he would like if you're worried about putting your man's happiness in the hands of a third party company.

I'll give a special shout-out to a few other small ideas that didn't exactly fit in any of these seven but could still work: video games, a skateboard or penny board, a backpack with candy and other snacks, shoes, gag gifts, gift cards, cologne, etc.

So this list was pretty broad and should be more used to help think of ideas than to actually give you concrete examples. I know thinking of a gift can be hard. That doesn't mean you don't care about or love him, it's just a difficult task because they deserve the world and financially and realistically—you'll never be able to give them that. I'll leave you with two thoughts.

One, no matter what you get or don't get for him, I promise he won't mind, he's just gonna be happy that he has you in his life in the first place.

Second of all, when thinking of a gift, really try to think about what's special or unique to you two, not what someone else's boyfriend want or some Men's Health magazine tells you.

Oh and one more thing... Happy Valentine's Day!

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