Anyone who says they’ve never put off buying a gift until the last minute is lying, right? In Portland, Oregon, shops were so crowded the Sunday before Christmas that the highway was backed up for miles. We don’t purposely forget, but when we do, it can be a disaster.

One time, someone I lived with snuck out to Plaid Pantry and got me a Red Bull at 11PM because they forgot to get me a birthday present. First of all, I like Red Bull, but did he realistically think this would give him a pass?

We are here to help you never meet the fate of any of my ex-boyfriends, just in case a special event (February 14th, *hint*) slips your mind.

Photo by Marcus Cramer

Start with the basics.

I say all of this at the expense of sounding too heteronormative, but take into consideration whether your recipient is more traditional or would take well to a gag gift. If they fall within the latter category, you can exit this article and hit Spencer’s at your local mall and grab them a mug and a hat!

THE BASICS (pick 2 or more):

  1. Flowers – the more last-minute, the better!
  2. Accessories (jewelry, hats, etc.)
  3. Beverage-related items (coffee, cocktails, etc.)
  4. Food-related items (dinner, chocolate, fancy gadgets, etc.)
  5. Anything sentimental
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Always remember to add a thoughtful card.

If the 11PM emergency birthday Red Bull had a note attached to it that said, “Maddy, I was too busy thinking about how amazing you are that I didn’t get a gift. And that was super messed up. I don’t know how you’ll ever forgive me. I’m so sorry. You light up my world. We have reservations for dinner tomorrow. Love, ____,” maybe we’d still be together! Just kidding, we definitely wouldn’t! But I’d probably be less annoyed in the moment.

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Since we’re a month out from Valentine’s Day right now, there is time to get started. CardCraft delivers physical handwritten cards, just choose a design and type out your message.

Photo by Claire K

Make something, or have an experience!

Depending on your relationship, it might be even better to make the night special with activities, rather than get hung up on material things.

For couples: Tickets to a game or concert, a spa day, a romantic homemade dinner, a trip to the movie theater, etc. with flowers and a card! Think about their hobbies! Really think, though. Music? Sports? Fashion? Makeup? Tech? Get a list going, if you haven’t. There are so many ways to have a great time.

Photo by Becca McHaffie

Beware of online shopping, and shop locally.

If you haven’t looked around any small artisan stores in your area, there are many options for gifts depending on which hobbies your recipients have! Cooking stores have some really great gadgets, too, and local coffee shops are perfect for finding little gifts (including caffeinated ones). Thrift, vintage, and antique stores are honestly some of the best places to find unique pieces.

Shop safe and be protective of your personal information when shopping on the internet, and if you like, try the MyTrestle browser extension to gauge whether the product was made ethically! Etsy is a great place to shop online for handmade items.

However you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, remember to express yourself and your love language with sincerity.

Madeline Goldman

Madeline Goldman

Portland, Oregon / Music / Arts / Humanities

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